Welcome to my stop on the The Traitor blog tour! Huge thanks to Blackberry Book Tours for giving me the opportunity to take part in this! I was provided a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 06/04/2021
Length: 305 pages
Genre: Fantasy | Middle Grade | Young Adult
Although Katori is the paradise Kai sought, why does he find himself drawn back to Diu?GoodReads
Torn between his past and his future, Kai finds himself caught in a mountain of lies, and his once-loyal friends begin to question his loyalties. Desperate to prevent his father’s demise, he plays a dangerous game of tempting fate.
Kai’s bittersweet reunion in Diu reveals a changed city–and not for the better. Poverty and quick tempers rule the streets, and Milnosian soldiers outnumber Diu warriors. Rumors and deception spread like wildfire throughout the palace, threatening to put him on the wrong side of history.
When he is accused of a terrible crime, Kai discovers influential people working against him, and in his efforts to prevail against their treachery, he falls into the hands of the last person he would ever suspect to help him. Labeled a traitor, can Kai prove his innocence, or will he lose everything he holds dear?
I’m sure a lot of you know the drill by now, but this novel is the fourth installment in the Katori Chronicles series so be sure to catch up on the other books first before diving into this one! As always, this will be as spoiler free as possible.
Although the novel began slightly slower than Rayna’s Sacrifice, this was quickly ramped up and before you know it you barely have time to pause for breath whilst reading. Personally, I loved that and felt that the pacing complemented the action and atmosphere of the novel brilliantly. It also meant that I flew through the book because so much was happening that I couldn’t stop reading!
In terms of tone, this is definitely the darkest novel of the series so far and I really liked the fact that it was so different from the previous books in the series. This felt like a true turning point in the series and the beginning of the end. Throughout the series we see Kai form a lot of different friendships and develop into a compassionate and considerate prince who Diu trusts dearly; however, this novel turns that all on it’s head with Kai’s loyalty to his people being questioned due to his time with the Katori leading to even his closest friends suspicious of his motives.
Lombardo excellently explores a variety of conflicts on a smaller, more personal scale with Kai, to the larger scale between nations. Intertwining all of these together did a great job of building the suspense and tension over what would happen: whether Kai would be believed or has his lies to protect the Katori people proven to be too much for those who have always believed his word. Although there are many conflicts within the novel, this doesn’t mean that Kai is completely on his own as an outsider in both places he considers to be a home. In fact, I really liked the way that his relationships with other characters grew stronger in spite of the rumours surrounding him. There were scenes with two characters in particular (who I won’t name) which I wasn’t expecting and it illustrates how deep and complex these characters are.
I really appreciated that Lombardo would regularly, casually, mention the timescale that this book takes place over as it helped keep track of everything and also show you how much can change in such a short space of time. This also helped understand why Kai makes some decisions that he does, as much as you may want to shake Kai at times and demand an explanation, the time, context and the fact he is still a teen all helps to make sense of the situations.
Overall, despite a couple of little niggles at the beginning I think this is my favourite of the series so far (which is quite something as Rayna’s Sacrifice was a tough act to follow!). Lombardo just keeps getting better and better as this series progresses which has me eagerly anticipating the next installment which has a tentative release date of Winter 2021.