Young Adult Fantasy Review – The Traitor’s Game

Young Adult Fantasy Done Right

I just finished The Traitor’s Game by Jennifer A. Nielsen and all I have to say is YES! If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a Young Adult Fantasy geared for younger readers but that doesn’t make it, or the characters, any less endearing. The action is fast paced and intriguing and the entire book is sprinkled with surprises throughout. Overall, the plot is very enjoyable and even with the (sometimes predictable but still lots of fun) twists and turns it is a very fun and upbeat read.

** There are spoilers ahead! You’ve been warned.


Young Adult Fantasy

Alright, What’s the Plot?

The boom starts by Kestra being summoned home after a three year exile, the reason for which isn’t revealed until later. On the way to a home she clearly doesn’t want to return to, she is kidnapped for the second time in her 16 years. We’re introduced to two different groups that loathe her simply for being the daughter to a prominent family who supports a very evil ruler, Emdrick. We follow Kestra as she’s forced to turn on her family in a plot to overthrow Endrick thus becoming a traitor to her country and family. However, along her journey Kestra begins to see the truth of the cruel world around her that has been made more so by Endrick and her own family.

But, are the Characters Well Done?

The characters in this Young Adult Fantasy blew me away! The main characters, Kestra and Simon, are easily like-able. I don’t always enjoy multiple POVs but I do have to say that switching the perspectives did help to put a more neutral overview of both of their thought processes. I would find myself wholly agreeing with one of them only to see the other’s perspective in the next chapter and go… “Ah I get what they mean.”


Just overall, Simon was written beautifully. His detest for Kestra was clearly depicted before being completely transformed flawlessly into love – I mean, we all know it’s a fine line right? Not to mention, the way he describes his feelings for her? SWOON. Simon sure has a way with words! And sure, the love develops a little quicker than I typically prefer but with the depth of their history? All I have to say is people have fallen in love quicker!

A Heroine that’s Refreshingly Quick Witted

But for me, Kestra definitely stole the show. I have to admit that Kestra’s sheer stubbornness did frustrate me… but all of my favorite characters always do! Kestra is undoubtedly one of my favorite heroines. Jennifer Nielsen did an amazing job on this one. She’s witty and strong, intelligent but also very funny and compassionate. Throughout the story you get to watch her discover herself and embrace herself fully. Honestly, I could go on and on about how much I enjoyed her character development. Her loyalty to people she deemed friends was refreshing, even with a title that leads you to believe otherwise.


Even the side characters were detailed well enough to create a sense of kinship and an investment in their outcomes. Also, I LOVE how she didn’t make Basil a villain. It was refreshing to see a genuinely nice character not demonized to push him out of the love triangle.

Young Adult Fantasy

Hmm… Any Misconceptions?

Some might say that a girl raised by such standards switched her loyalties too quickly but it didn’t come across that way to me. This is a girl who had lived a life of luxury and assumed that most people had basic comforts. When confronted with the harsh reality of normal people’s living conditions she clearly sees that cruelty is more common than kindness, which I’d say is a good reason to let go of engrained false beliefs. Not to mention that the same people she was supposed to be loyal to (Ahem, her dad) was PLOTTING TO KILL HER. No, I think that it was a reasonable transition from one camp to the other.


Okay, but Did the World Building Fall Flat?

Absolutely not. Don’t even get me started on the world building! It was enough information to give you a solid background but not completely spin your head around. For a young adult fantasy, I was very impressed with the level of detail! Not to mention the depth of cultures, creatures and history was detailed throughout the entire story and really helped to line it all up neatly. I definitely recommend this if you’re looking for lots of adventure, wit and strong-willed characters!

You can find it on Amazon here: 


Young Adult Fantasy Review



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