Thursday, October 1, 2020

The Traitor's Jewel (Love and War Book 1) by Shreya Boyapati

The Traitor's Jewel is the first in the Love and War YA fantasy series. This book was sent to me by the author. Following a betrayal and attack on Charlena Saxen's kingdom, it is discovered that it was lead by her own father (presumed dead). Charlena vows to kill him and defend what is left of her kingdom, with her best friend by her side. But the further into war she descends, the less about honor for her people it becomes and more about pure anger and revenge. As she struggles to contain these new emotions and her romantic feelings towards Raj, Charlena must decide if the reward of revenge is worth destroying her soul.

The Traitor's Jewel is a fast rollercoaster of emotions that alter between a perfect fairytale and a painful nightmare. The structure is  dialogue heavy, but was written so vividly that I could hear their voices in my head and felt very immersed in the conversations. Boyapati also did a good job ensuring that the revelations and new plot twists were surprising, but not enough to be unrealistic.

While fantasy, The Traitor's Jewel is extremely realistic in its depiction of PTSD and the other harsh realities and emotional pain that comes with taking lives. Killing is easier for soldiers, for Charlena, if she doesn't feel or care. She lives like a rock, relying on instinct and survival with no emotion. Love requires emotion and caring. Once she started to care for another human, slaughtering people became painful and inhumane. The blood and gore didn't matter to her as much when there was nothing to care or feel about. But once she let her guard down for her heart, guilt and pain flooded. However, love can also be something to fight for, to care if you survive. 

This complex relationship between war and love (emotions) is the primary focus of the story and provides a wonderful theme. It is also unclear at times who is an ally and who is considered "bad", especially when considering the murders of war. The book also discusses the idea that "the ends justify the means" when fighting for something important. The Traitor's Jewel makes us question if the means are worth the end.

I highly recommend this book!

Title: The Traitor's Jewel (Love and War Book 1)
Author: Shreya Boyapati
Publisher: Shreya Boyapati
Pages: 358
Series: Yes, Book 1 of 3
Rating: 5 Stars

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