Title: The Traitor’s Kiss
Author: Erin Beaty
Publisher Info / Release: Imprint / May 9, 2017
Rating: 3.75 / 5 *’s
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.
I received this book from NetGalley for free in exchange for an honest review. May contain some slight spoilers. To me, this was a Poison Study meets Kiss of Deception. So if you liked either of those books, you’d most likely enjoy this one as well!
I was intrigued from the moment that I read the synopsis for The Traitor’s Kiss. And that cover is simply stunning! When I started the book, it actually took me a little bit to get into. I think part of it was because I was in a tiny book slump but once I skimmed over the beginning and picked up where I left off, it was a lot easier going.
So we start off by meeting Sage Fowler, who has been in her uncle’s care ever since her parents passed away. She’s been tutoring her cousins at the beginning of the book and finds out that her guardians want to get her matched for marriage. From the get go, she doesn’t like the idea and when Sage finally meets the Matchmaker, well… it doesn’t go as planned. Afterwards, they have discussion and she ultimately becomes an apprentice for the matchmaker which starts off the journey of the book.
There are a couple points of view in this story and I really think it added to the world building and development of the book itself. To avoid any spoilers that would (in my opinion) destroy the story line I’ll say they are limited to Sage, Captain Quinn, a couple soldiers, and the enemy. There might be a couple more snippets from some others but those are the key players. At this point, it feels like a kind of Poison Study vibe from Maria V. Snyder with how the main characters interact with each other. There’s a big event called the Concordium where they go to make big matches and travel with the brides that Sage and the matchmaker have picked out but they’re being escorted by Quinn and his team of thirty men.
From there, this is a Kiss of Deception vibe. Now, if you have read that book then maybe you’ll understand when I say you think one character is someone specific…and then you may or may not be wrong. That’s all I’m going to say about it, but I absolutely loved how Erin set this up in the book. It made the plot even more interesting when Quinn and the soldiers want to use Sage’s knack for picking up details to help them figure out a mission. Again, don’t want to give many spoilers away but the details given in the synopsis gives more of a clue as to why they need her to spy.
Some of the descriptions of the characters threw me off a little bit however I enjoyed the personalities that came across. There was a good mix and the characters got many chances to let it shine rather than being forced to the side as background characters who weren’t one of the main points of view. I particularly enjoyed how Sage doesn’t seem to particularly care about the brides and what they think of her in addition to how much she wants to learn.
As the story goes on, there’s a bit of a romance between Sage and one of the soldiers. It’s one of those slow burning buildups but then it is right there and you’re rooting for them. There’s one particular scene where I thought I was going to have to fan myself but I still think it’s appropriate for younger teen readers because it’s not taken too far out of proportions. Then there’s a moment when everything seems to “click” into place. That’s when I felt like the story got kicked up a notch.
The ending itself wasn’t abrupt and it felt really satisfying in terms of any cliffhangers. It wrapped up quite nicely and I feel like it explains a lot of what happened in the middle when it came to the soldiers and the political issues that brought everyone together. The Traitor’s Kiss probably could’ve been a stand alone if it really wanted to because it wrapped up that well but we will be getting a trilogy!! I cannot wait for the next one and there’s definitely more room for improvement and character growth. It’ll be great to revisit this world soon.