Audiobook Review: THE TRAITOR QUEEN by Danielle L. Jensen

Title in queen against an orange desert with two people holding weapons
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: Adult
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: yes - book 2

*SPOILER ALERT: contains SPOILERS for THE BRIDGE KINGDOM*

Synopsis:

Audiobook cover for THE TRAITOR QUEEN: two painted figures, a man and a woman, hold weapons in the desert beneath a green title

Lara has only one thought when her husband is taken prisoner: I will do whatever it takes to set you free.

A queen now in exile as a traitor, Lara has watched Ithicana be conquered by her own father, helpless to do anything to stop the destruction. But when she learns her husband, Aren, has been captured in battle, Lara knows there is only one reason her father is keeping him alive: as bait for his traitorous daughter.

And it is bait she fully intends to take.

Risking her life to the Tempest Seas, Lara returns to Ithicana with a plan not only to free its king, but for liberating the Bridge Kingdom from her father’s clutches using his own weapons: the sisters whose lives she spared.

But as Lara and her companions formulate a plan to free Aren from her father’s palace, they soon discover that while it is easy to get in, it will be quite another thing to get Aren, and themselves, back out. Not only is the palace inescapable, there are more players in the game than Lara ever realized, enemies and allies switching sides in the fight for crowns, kingdoms, and bridges. But her greatest adversary of all might be the very man she’s trying to free – the husband she betrayed.

With everything she loves in jeopardy, Lara must decide who – and what – she is fighting for: her kingdom, her husband, or for herself.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here. Find on Bookshop.org UK, Amazon UK, and the Book Depository (affiliate links.)


Review:

I listened to THE TRAITOR QUEEN, rather than waiting for the physical book, and audible have clearly put some time and effort into finding good narrators to tell the story. There is one playing Lara (Lauren Fortgang) and one for Aren (James Patrick Cronin), and they voice all the characters speaking in their chapters. It helped differentiate the chapters, immediately telling you who was narrating. It was close to alternating, which I liked as Aren was a little left out at times in the first book. (Aside, but WHY were there no chapter numbers? It was just a roll of drums to signal a narrator switch, so chapters narrated by the same character had only a slight pause between them).

There’s a lot of alliances and subtle manoeuvring in this book, as well as characters who are so hard to work out what they really want (enter: Keris). I loved this side of the book as Lara and Aren had to scramble to make new deals despite the many burnt bridges. It’s not quite political fantasy, but it’s not too far away.

It is a very satisfying end, full of action – particularly the second half. When it came to how they’d free Ithicana, I kept thinking this is how they free it, and now for the denouement/focus on their romance, but there’d be another twist to the tale. I really liked that, as it upped the stakes and made the fight for the bridge more realistic/.

So, obviously, Aren is VERY angry at Lara – and all of Ithicana. It makes perfect sense, but it was kinda obvious they were going to get back together, and yet their adamant assertions that they were done (despite the tension and kissing and more) got a little on my nerves at time. The final reason that people accepted her felt slightly too coincidence-y/unlikely. It wasn’t her action, but something outside her control? It was a little weak, in my opinion, and why it’s not a higher rated read.

The romance itself has all the heat and tension of the first book. The oasis scene was one of the best cutesy romance moments – now that there were no secrets between them (just a lot of anger muddled with love and lust).

There are more books in this series! It’s going to follow two side characters from this book – Lara’s brother Keris, and the Valcottan General Zarrah – and their adventures during this book. Eeee!


Read my reviews of other books by Danielle L. Jensen:

Adult:

The Bridge Kingdom (this series):

Young Adult:

Dark Shores:

The Malediction Trilogy:

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