Goodreads: The Traitor’s Kiss
Series: Traitor’s Kiss Trilogy #1
Published: May 9, 2017
An obstinate girl who will not be married.
A soldier desperate to prove himself.
A kingdom on the brink of war.
With a sharp tongue and an unruly temper, Sage Fowler is not what they’d call a lady―which is perfectly fine with her. Deemed unfit for marriage, Sage is apprenticed to a matchmaker and tasked with wrangling other young ladies to be married off for political alliances. She spies on the girls―and on the soldiers escorting them.
As the girls’ military escort senses a political uprising, Sage is recruited by a handsome soldier to infiltrate the enemy ranks. The more she discovers as a spy, the less certain she becomes about whom to trust―and Sage becomes caught in a dangerous balancing act that will determine the fate of her kingdom.
The Traitor’s Kiss is exactly the type of satisfying YA fantasy I like to read. It has just about everything one could ask for: a strong protagonist, a mysterious love interest, clear world building, intrigue and politics. Interestingly, matchmakers play a large role, and part of the plot is that a large group of eligible girls are going to be displayed and then set up for marriage (in a way reminiscent of books like The Glittering Court), and yet this isn’t the point of the book. The point is that there’s a traitor in the kingdom, and everyone is in danger of losing their lives.
There are parts of the plot that are just…convenient, in a way I find is often common in YA. I was willing to overlook these moments because I enjoyed the book in general, but they did keep the novel from being as strong as it could have been. In general, however, I thought there were enough unique aspects to help the book stand apart from some of the YA crowd.
There’s a nice mix of characters in the book, though I admit some do run to tropes. Of course most of the rich marriageable girls are mean to the protagonist, and they have a gorgeous blonde ringleader who’s the meanest of them all and tends towards less than modest dress. And of course there’s the one nice girl of the group who befriends the protagonist. And so on. However, I think this kind of stuff is common in a lot of books because people like it. I certainly enjoyed the book, even as I recognized the patterns that many of the characters were falling into.
The book is one that I think functioned well enough as a standalone. I understand the publisher’s impulse to keep momentum going on a good thing and an author’s impulse to further explore worlds and characters they have created. However, this book was just in the space for me where I enjoyed reading one book…but I wasn’t captivated enough to want to read a sequel. I’ll look for more novels from this author because I think she has talent, but I don’t think I’ll be reading more of this particular series.