Title: The Traitor Prince (Ravenspire #3)
Author: C.J. Redwine
Pub. Date: February 13, 2018
Javan Najafai, crown prince of Akram, has spent the last ten years at an elite boarding school, far away from his kingdom. But his eagerly awaited return home is cut short when a mysterious imposter takes his place—and no one believes Javan is the true prince.
After barely escaping the imposter’s assassins, Javan is thrown into Maqbara, the kingdom’s most dangerous prison. The only way to gain an audience with the king — and reveal Javan’s identity — is to fight in Maqbara’s yearly tournament. But winning is much harder than acing competitions at school, and soon Javan finds himself beset not just by the terrifying creatures in the arena, but also a band of prisoners allied against him, and even the warden herself.
The only person who can help him is Sajda, who has been enslaved by Maqbara’s warden since she was a child, and whose guarded demeanor and powerful right hook keep the prisoners in check. Working with Sajda might be the only way Javan can escape alive — but she has dangerous secrets.
Together, Javan and Sajda have to outwit the vicious warden, outfight the deadly creatures, and outlast the murderous prisoner’s intent on killing Javan. If they fail, they’ll be trapped in Maqbara for good—and the secret Sajda’s been hiding will bury them both.
This will be a spoiler free review.
I’m glad I finally got around to reading this book. The first two in the Ravenspire series were favorites so I had high hopes for this one. Then I heard some not as stellar reviews and I was a little put down. After two great books that I loved, I procrastinated reading this one, in fear that it wouldn’t be good.
Thank goodness for being wrong. Although I felt like the book a tad bit too long, and I could not stand Rahim, overall, I really loved it. The character arcs were believable and once again I was sucked into this fantastical world that C.J. Redwine has created. I could go on forever reading books set in this world, in the various kingdoms. I thought the writing was great and it painted a very clear image in my head – I could see Maqbara easily in my mind, and the arena – it felt like The Hunger Games. There was a moment at the end of the book where I said, “Oh fuck no”, but that lasted for only a couple of minutes. A few spots made me laugh, and others made me feel a varying range of emotions.
As for the pacing – the book felt too long, and a lot of the focus was on Javan’s time in Maqbara, as it should, but at the same time, other parts were kind of glossed over.
As for the characters, I’ve already stated that I couldn’t stand Rahim, so I’ll start there.
He was annoying. My entire Twitter thread for the book is basically me just complaining about how tedious and tiring he was. He was so angry, and it weighed on me. His anger and hatred made me tired. He was so tiring to listen to.
We get it, you’re angry, but honestly, it’s not the world that screwed you over, just one person in particular.
By about three quarters of the way through, it started feeling like he was now angry for angers sake. Like he had been so angry for so long, that it was his default. All in all, Rahim, he’s a little punk ass bitch, who either needs all the hugs in the world, or needs to be punch. Hard. Repeatedly.
Javan! I kept picturing him as Ben Barnes. But also, for someone who has spent the last ten years studying (I know he studied everything) but he was pretty bad ass. I definitely enjoyed reading about him. I loved his arc, and how he came to realize that his outlook wasn’t the one he needed to succeed in his mission. He was a very real and believable character, and I definitely didn’t get tired of him when he talked. There was one scene in particular that made me “oh my god” and that was his first entrance into the area. That played out like a cinematic masterpiece in my mind and it was amazing. I could just see the crowd’s reaction to that entrance, because it was “oh my god”. Again, it was so easy for me to picture everything in this book.
I loved his relationship with Sadja, and how once they became friends, that it grew naturally, that they became each other’s light in the dark.
Sadja – the girl who loved the stars. I felt for her and wished she didn’t have to be the badass she was because of her circumstances. She had no choice but to become cold, hard, unyielding in order to survive. But through friendship Javan is able to chip away that the walls she surrounds herself with. Sadja is a fighter, a survivor, inquisitive and smart, always up for a challenge. She has to be this way, if people were to find out who she really was – it wouldn’t be good.
Her relationship with Javan is one of the best parts of the novel. In a place where humanity is exchanged for animalistic brutality, the two of them keep each other sane and sharp. They challenge each other at every step, always trying to help one another. The way their relationship grew and changed felt natural and real and made me root for them. By the end of the novel my heart ached. I loved how each of them thought that they wanted this one thing, and before they met one another, maybe that was the case, but after they met and grew close, their visions for what they wanted altered.
I could talk about every character in this book that I loved, or that annoyed me, but I’ll just quickly mention Tarek, the old man, Sadja’s chosen family and Javan’s friend. I loved him, and what happens to him is not fair. He was sweet in a place that had taken everything from him. He could have been bitter and angry, and instead he worked hard and helped protect people.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. More than I thought I would, so I’m happy. It’s not my favorite book in the series, The Wish Granter still holds that title as of now, but The Blood Spell – out February 12, 2019, and I cannot wait to read it!