I finally put aside my bitterness about the cover not matching, and read Traitor to the Throne.
(But because I'm still a little bit bitter, I'm using the UK cover for this post).
I'm just going to let you know, I read this book in a day, so I'm a little disoriented and coming off of a high that only happens when you've got a book you can't put down in your hands.
I'm going to take a crack at a review of this, and if it needs edits tomorrow then there will be edits tomorrow because it's almost one in the morning and I'm literally fried and filled with emotions.
Okay. So, it's been a while since I read Rebel of the Sands, almost a year probably, so some of the details were fuzzy when I was going through this, but Alwyn Hamilton does a great job of getting you up to speed while advancing the plot, and cutting back and forth between bits of folklore and legend.
In fact, I LOVED the sections of legends that arose about Amani, Ahmed, Sam, and the other characters. They were well thought out, gave readers a decent portion of backstory, and great cuts in between action sequences where everything was like "OMG WTH IS HAPPENING RN IM GONNA DIE".
I also really loved learning more about the folklore behind the world she's built us in this universe. Djinni are super interesting, and I really need to read more into Middle Eastern lore, because that's part of what drew me to Rebel in the first place. The world was new, it was fresh, it was unlike anything I had ever read before.
It also gives us a kick-ass heroine, Amani, who is a great female character. She's strong without being bitchy, she's rough and tough without being too much like a male lead -- even if when we met her she was pretending to be a boy to win a shooting contest. She's very well balanced, very intelligent, and just an all around great character.
But I think that's what Alwyn Hamilton really nails in these books. Her characters are incredible. They're all perfectly flawed, a bunch of kids trying to fight for what they believe, while being written at a level where a twenty four year old like myself doesn't get caught up in the fact that they're a ragtag group of teenagers trying to win something bigger than themselves.
Even the evil characters are well written. In this book, Amani spends a good third or so of the book at the Sultan's palace, so you're introduced to a whole new menagerie of characters. Two of his other sons have major roles, his daughter has a major role, more Djinni have bigger roles, and of course women of the Harem have major roles as well. Alwyn Hamilton takes all of this in her stride and manages to deliver, and that's all I could ask for.
I know, inevitably, the US and UK covers for Hero at the Fall are going to be different, but since I forgot how much I love this universe until I was back in it.. maybe I'll be able to put my bitterness aside and read it the week it comes out instead of four months later.