The Traitor’s Kiss (Traitor’s Trilogy #1)
By: Erin Beaty
Publication Date: May 9th, 2017
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.
According to Mistress Rodelle, matchmaking is much more than an arranged marriage. It is well planned and balanced, based on research and observation, and benefits the couple just as much as it ties the country’s most powerful families together. When Sage Fowler’s uncle claimed to have secured a great future for her, she thought he had simply placed her as an apprentice in their village of Garland Hill. However, Sage’s dream of being an apprentice, working to earn her way in life, and finding a marriage based on love, were not the the same plans that Lord Broadmoor had in mind. Instead, he had obtained the coveted attentions of the local matchmaker, Mistress Rodelle, in an attempt to marry Sage off to a wealthy and fairly well to do husband. This is not something Sage is all too keen on, and she fails her interview rather spectacularly. But an opportunity rises from this wonderful mess, and Sage is brought on as an apprentice at a very critical time. At the same time, across the country, Captain Alexander Quinn is learning to manage his new promotion and the decisions that go along with it. In a bid to try to teach his son patience after a failed reconnaissance mission, General Quinn sets his son and his patrol the task of protecting the country’s political future: by escorting its most valuable political matches to a matchmaking submit where some very powerful marriages will take place.
The Traitor’s Kiss is a class act in world building, characters, romance, and political intrigue. Sage is a wonderful heroine to follow, her brilliance and love of learning, and sharing that knowledge, is palpable. She is adept at her job, able to read people and situations in moments, and determine how to manipulate them. I loved Sage and her cleverness and willingness to help others, her hesitance and then acceptance of Lady Clare’s friendship, and her fairly immediate love for Charlie, the young page who accompanies their party. She is willing to put her life on the line for what needs to be done, and is smart as hell when it comes to figuring out solutions for the problems the group faces. Sage is a character you can easily root for and support, her happiness and heartbreak are palpable, and she admirably perseveres through the setbacks thrown at her.
The supporting characters are equally as wonderfully written as Sage. Darnessa, our matchmaker, is a delight and just as sneaky. She understands Sage, and what she needs and wants, from the beginning, and pulls the strings in the background, effectively setting our lovers into each others’ paths. Our love interest, Ash, is wonderful and sweet, and his moments with Sage range from passionate to a different kind of heated. But Ash isn’t who you think he is, and careful reading will give you a hint as to his true identity. As for our villain: D’Amiran is the coldly calculating, power hungry man the book needed. His desires are known from the start, but his methods and the extent of his treason and manipulations are what drives the majority of the espionage behind the plot and allows for the twists at the end.
The world of The Traitor’s Kiss is wonderfully developed, with a rich history of politics and a deep-seated and well explained history of matchmaking and the Concordium. I can’t wait to see how Erin develops the Kamisar people, the enemy, in a similar way in future installments. We didn’t see much of them here, but they are an established threat that the kingdom’s attentions will definitely return to soon. Swoony romance scenes are balanced with well written action. The scenes are cohesive, and the point of view changes each maintained a distinct voice. This is a great first addition to a trilogy, no cliffhangers here, and I can’t wait to spend more time with Sage, for more intrigue, and for more of Erin’s top quality kissy scenes.
PS: Those comparing it to Mulan (and criticising it for it), have you seen Mulan? The only similarity is the matchmaker. That’s s it.
Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us. An advanced copy was provided by Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review.