It may be a couple months in the making (with a lengthy dry spell of zero reading) but I’ve FINALLY finished The Traitor Prince–the third book in the stand alone Ravenspire Series by C.J. Redwine. I don’t know what happened to me over the summer…I just didn’t make any time for reading. I credit a large portion of that to the fact that it was SO hard for me to get into this book. Unlike it’s predecessors, it did not grab me and pull me in. And I’m telling you, I tried *so* hard to get into it; but at the end of the day it was far easier to just put the book down than to continue reading it. Once the holidays settled down and the New Year came, I set my 2019 reading goal to 50 books. That sort of re-ignited my desire to pick up a book…and since the 4th installment of the series drops next month, I felt compelled to give this book one last shot. I was about 200 (yes, TWO HUNDRED) pages in before the book started to pick up for me. At the end of the day, I’m glad I pushed through it though. If you care to hear my review of this novel, stick with me. There might be some slight spoilers so proceed with caution.
This story takes place is Akram (see the GORGEOUS map to get an idea of where that is) and tells the story of a prince, an imposter and a mysterious and cold girl who wins the prince’s heart (because, of course). This book is based on the story The Prince and the Pauper with some The False Prince flair. In my mind, when I read about Akram and Prince Javan, the palace and the pet leopard, my mind went straight to Aladdin and Agrabah and that’s the setting I imagined. The book begins with Prince Javan and the school, Milisatria, in far away Loch Talam that he’s spent the last 10 years attending without seeing his home or his father. Javan is an overachiever who spends all of his time studying, practicing and studying some more so that he can be at the top of his class and prove to himself, his father and also fulfill his mother’s last dying wish so that he can be the best king for Akram. Everything is going according to plan until Javan is set to return home. On that very day an imposter manages to steal Javan’s belongings, his identity and make the journey home to Akram where he plans to pose as Javan and take the throne. No one is none the wiser because it’s been 10 years since anyone in Akram has seen Javan. Javan does everything he can to beat the imposter back to the palace so that he can warn everyone about the false prince but he only arrives just in time for his Uncle to greet the both of them, and then it’s a battle of who can be the most convincing. But there is treachery afoot in Akram and Javan finds himself thrown into the depths of Akram’s prison, Maqbara, where he is forced to fight in a deadly tournament for the entertainment of the aristocrats who have no idea who he really is. There, he meets Sajda, and mysterious girl with a cold demeanor who strikes fear into all the prisoners of Maqbara. Desperate to return home and get back to his father to reveal the truth, Javan sets out to win the tournament so that he may win an audience with the king and put all of this treachery behind him.
Now, part of my reasoning for maybe not loving this book is because neither The False Prince or The Prince and the Pauper were one of those fairy tales that I grew up loving. They were just sort of meh for me. However, I am glad that I decided to push through this story because about halfway through I finally found myself getting invested in the plot and managed to finished the second half in 3 days. The ending is a doozy. The characters in this book are also my least favorite so far. Javan is super honorable–to a fault, and has so much integrity and pride….but that’s about it. Sadja is almost too cold and stoic for me. It took forever for her to finally warm up and give us that classic fairy tale romance. The imposter was infuriating but I think that was probably the point. I just needed more character building I think, and definitely more physical descriptions to imagine. In the same fashion as it’s predecessors, we get a tiny glimpse of characters from the previous book at the end of this one. Javan meets Ari and her brother and of course Ari’s big advice for him is to always have snacks on hand. Ari is me, and I am Ari haha.
Of the three books in this series, this one was definitely my least favorite, obviously. I didn’t enjoy the writing style so much. The references to Yl’ Haliq and some of the pronunciations of other things really threw me for some reason and I felt like it was just so wordy without really telling me much of anything. If I was working on a 5-star scale, I’d give this book 3 stars. However, I am still anxiously awaiting the release of book #4, The Blood Spell. I have high hopes and I’m not letting The Traitor Prince ruin it for me. If you’re a person who has to read an entire series, you can’t skip this one–but maybe make it a low to mid priority on your to-be-read list.