The Traitor Prince – C.J Redwine – Ravenspire #3 – Balzer+Bray – Published 13 February 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 prisoners 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.
With The Traitor Prince, C.J. Redwine once again delivers an epic fantasy, with aching romance, adventure, heart-pounding injustice, and high stakes as the characters fight for their survival.
Prince Javan has spent the last ten years away at school, working harder than all his classmates to fulfil the promise he made to his mother to be the best, learn the most, so that he can become a just and strong ruler. But when he is attacked on the eve of his return home, Javan knows he must now fight for his future and the safety of his kingdom. Thrown into the treacherous prison, Maqbara, while a traitor takes his rightful place, Javan tries to befriend the prison slave girl, Sajda, who has her own dangerous secret to protect. Forced to fight against monsterous creatures and defend himself against the other prisoners, Javan and his few allies put into place a plan to return him to his throne, but it will not be without sacrifice.
There is so much to love about this beautiful, richly detailed fantasy. Javan is a character who is easy to like and support. He is noble and honourable, wanting desperately to please his father, honour his mother’s memory, and become a good ruler. Being thrown into prison is something that challenges everything he has always known about his life and his faith. But through it, he grows. He’s also no soft aristocrat. Javan is more than capable of defending himself, and is both intelligent and strong. But no matter how much readers will like Javan, I believe it will be Sajda who truly steals everyone’s hearts. Sajda is formidably strong. She has learnt to protect her heart with stone and use her tough exterior to keep her safe from the prisoners she is forced to control. As the prison warden’s slave, Sajda has lived most of her life within the confines of the prison walls. As a feared magical creature, her magical powers have lain dormant bound by the iron cuffs that have been forced upon her. Watching as Javan slowly wiggles his way into Sajda’s life, trust, and, finally, heart was so wonderful.
Amidst the action, deadly gladiator-like fights against strange and monsterous creatures, and the political intrigue of this book, the romance stands as a sweet and heartwarming reminder of the the freedom for which Javan is fighting. Sajda is, at first, defensive, unwilling to believe Javan or risk her limited freedom to protect him. But Javan is persistent and the friendship he offers is hard to resist. I loved how, even as Javan and Sajda become reluctant allies and then friends, they continue to spar, both verbally and physically. Competition is a huge part of their relationship and I loved their banter that lightens the story.
The Traitor Prince is the third book in the Ravenspire series. I love, love, love, that each of the three books have been standalones, complete stories in their own right. And while there are a few appearances of crossover characters – bounty hunters Hansel and Gretel make another appearance, as does Ari and Sebastian – the stories do not need to be read in any order to enjoy each new book.
The Traitor Prince is a beautiful fantasy, the perfect addition to this series, and the most addictive mix of intrigue, action, and romance.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Themes: Prison, prisoners, dragons, battles, princes, royalty, romance, magic, fairytale retellings.
Reading age guide: Ages 13 and up.
Advisory: Violence – fighting, gladiator-like battles, injury, death and fighting fantasy animals.
Published: 13 February 2018 by Balzer+Bray
Format: Hardcover, ebook, audiobook. 416 pages.