Title: The Traitor’s Kiss
Author: Erin Beaty
Book one in the Traitor’s Kiss trilogy
Young Adult Fantasy
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.
When I picked up this book I was expecting something different than what I got, but it was a good different. I found out later that this was marketed as a Mulan retelling however I did not find it to be so. In fact this book reminded me of The Winner’s Kiss trilogy (which I thoroughly enjoyed when I read it) with all the political scheming, the spying, and the wittiness of the main characters.
Moving on, let me tell you what I liked. The characters. Sage our female protagonist it’s the kind of “passive” badass character that I enjoy. She’s sure of herself, wicked smart, and what she lacks in fighting skills she makes up with her keen observations, she notices what others do not. She studies everything and everyone which makes her a real good manipulator when she needs to be. I really liked this talent of hers. She can be a bit judgemental and distrusting which is understandable given the fact that she has been a pariah of sorts most of her life.
Alex Quinn our male protagonist is what every leader should be, he’s loyal, smart, caring and he doesn’t shy away from hard decisions or their consequences. He’s also quite good at manipulation which makes watching him butt heads with Sage very entertaining.
I liked the side characters a lot, the matchmaker and Quinn’s soldiers the friendship between them, the respect, it left me wanting to know more, hopefully in the next books.
The romance is slow building and very sweet, it felt even innocent to me. The development of their relationship was very well done, their banter was so good, and being mixed up between so much half-truths and lies made it intriguing, you’re just waiting until everything blows up.
There’s not a lot of action except maybe for the climax of the story but the political scheming, the spying, all the manipulative tactics made up for it. At least for me.
What I disliked was the lack of world building, this is a fantasy but it could have easily been a historical (I had to double check) there’s no world development, except for the Consortium and the importance of the matchmaking business. I hope this gets better in the upcoming books.
This was a very fun read I actually read it in a day, if you like books like The Winner’s Kiss give this one a try.