Series Review |”The Traitor’s Game” By: Jennifer A. Nielsen

“In a traitor’s game, there are no winners. Only those left standing at the end. Cheat or be cheated. Crush or be crushed. Play … or be killed. The next move is mine.”

~ “The Traitor’s Game” (The Traitor’s Game #1) ~ Jennifer A. Nielsen
A signed copy of "The Traitor's Game" with a sword

Hello Everyone!!! Today I’m going to do a series review for a series that I have been very excited to read! “The Traitor’s Game” By: Jennifer A. Nielsen! The way that I would describe this series is that every character is guaranteed to backstab the other! Set in a dystopian fantasy world where magic is pretty much evil. And there is this corrupted king guy, though I’m half-convinced that everybody was corrupt in this story. There was a ton of action and huge twists that I never saw coming but made so much sense when they did.

So with nothing further to do, let’s get this review on the road!

About the Author Jennifer A. Nielsen

The author Jennifer A. Nielsen

Jennifer lives at the base of a very tall mountain in Northern Utah with her husband, three children, and a naughty puppy. She loves the smell of rainy days, hot chocolate, and old books, preferably all at once. She is a former speech teacher, theater director, and enjoyed a brief but disastrous career as a door-to-door pollster. In her spare time, Jennifer tends to panic, wondering what she has forgotten to do that has allowed her any spare time.

Follow her on:

Website: http://jennielsen.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3267859.Jennifer_A_Nielsen

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Nielsen/e/B003VJQBT6

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Nielsenwriter/?eid=ARAhSlo5TSEk0WUEQcXIt7p7EX1lYszGd3UNr6_wugLC-rrHsYl6CBOD4osEmckPQPfHT3788NCJg2Li

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nielsenwriter

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nielsenwriter/

My Overall Feelings for this Series

One of the things that this series was very big on was coming up with huge twists, reveals, and having a supposedly good character backstab the good guys. At first, I was all in for it. In the first book, I was super excited whenever the story went “actually, this guy might be bad, this character is actually good, and everything that you’ve thought about this X event is wrong!” But when I picked up the second book, I started getting irritated with all the BIG reveals. I don’t know if I just didn’t feel up to reading that book at the time, especially right after the first book and stuff, or if it really was just too much going on in the book. I felt that there weren’t enough hints given to the reader that X event was coming. That it was just dumped on your lap, one twist right after the other. Sometimes it was because the main character didn’t know. But there were times that the main character did know, but the main character didn’t tell the reader until after it happened. I just felt like I couldn’t come up with my own ideas of what might happen because they were usually wrong when something happened. While I am all for big twists, I think I would’ve liked the story more if it didn’t just dump everything on you, but instead gave you little hints throughout the book as to what was going to happen.

However, one thing that I will say is that after I let the second book sit for a while and came back to it, I did enjoy it a little more. And I didn’t feel the same way when I picked up the third book. So this could have been just a me thing.

About

“The Traitor’s Game”

(The Traitor’s Game #1)

By: Jennifer A. Nielsen

Cover for "The Traitor's Game" by Jennifer A. Nielsen

“Life doesn’t give us what we want. It gives us what we need and asks what we will do with it.”

~ “The Traitor’s Game” (The Traitor’s Game #1) ~ Jennifer A. Nielsen

Nothing is as it seems in the kingdom of Antora. Kestra Dallisor has spent three years in exile in the Lava Fields, but that won’t stop her from being drawn back into her father’s palace politics. He’s the right hand man of the cruel king, Lord Endrick, which makes Kestra a valuable bargaining chip. A group of rebels knows this all too well — and they snatch Kestra from her carriage as she reluctantly travels home.The kidnappers want her to retrieve the lost Olden Blade, the only object that can destroy the immortal king, but Kestra is not the obedient captive they expected. Simon, one of her kidnappers, will have his hands full as Kestra tries to foil their plot, by force, cunning, or any means necessary. As motives shift and secrets emerge, both will have to decide what — and who — it is they’re fighting for.

Info from Goodreads here

My Review

5 Stars

Rating: 5 out of 5.
"The Traitor's Game" with paper flowers

I won a signed paperback copy from the author. (Thank you!) The author did not pay me for a review and all the thoughts here are my own honest opinion.

I knew pretty much nothing coming into this book and I think that is the best way to read it, so I’m going to keep these reviews short. There are so many twists and turns. You might think something one moment and the next, BOOM! BANG! It was something entirely different than what you thought. But also made so much sense once it was revealed. And made the story so much fun to read. I had to keep turning the pages to find out the next reveal or to make sure that those poor characters were okay.

Now as for the characters, I loved Kestra the best. Ahh, she was the usual kick-butt, tough, and sassy heroine trope. But she also cared about the people around her. Her relationship with Darrow was pure. I love the examples he put out for her. She wanted what was best for her kingdom and wasn’t entirely on board with everyone’s plans or everyone’s expectations of her. I don’t know, she was just really easy to relate to and I love her for it.

Simon was okay. He didn’t strike me as being someone special, which is weird, as I usually like these kinds of characters right off the bat. I think it was his initial reaction to Kestra that set me off. He had a relevant reason for disliking her. But I did feel that he went from hating her to loving her pretty fast, but maybe it’s just me? Don’t get me wrong. I still really like Simon. He was our other POV, so he showed me the world in his eyes and made me feel for the things he cared about. But he didn’t grasp me as Kestra did, you know?

Trina. Wow. Trina was awesome! At first, I thought that she was a little annoying. But then! AHH, just her sassy way about her, the reasons why she does and says the things she does, she was complex! And I love her for it!

Basil, I absolutely loved Basil!

But hands down, Darrow was the best.

The worldbuilding was super! I mean, guys! They had technology that was made possible because of magic! And sure, they still had swords, but also, there were these things called disc bows that were super awesome. And these dinosaur things that pulled carriages. Just awesome, all right?

Content in Book:

  1. Violence. (With swords. With sharp discs. Going to break someone’s bones with their hand. With animals. With magic. With torture. Threatening to be violent. Blood and gore. Etc. Pretty much this book is filled with violence. I would say that it is a little intermediate. Probably not the best book if violence bothers you.)
  2. Slaves.
  3. Magic. (The magic in this series is usually portrayed as being bad.)

About

“The Deceiver’s Heart”

(The Traitor’s Game #2)

By: Jennifer A. Nielsen

Cover for "The Deceiver's Heart" by Jennifer A. Nielsen

“No one should have to hurt alone.”

~ “The Deceiver’s Heart” (The Traitor’s Game #2) ~ Jennifer A. Nielsen

Kestra Dallisor has finally gained possession of the Olden Blade. With the dagger in her control, she attempts to destroy the tyrannical Lord Endrick. But when Kestra fails, the king strips her of her memory, and leaves her weak and uncertain, bound to obey him. Heartbroken, Simon is desperate to return Kestra to the rebel she was, but refuses to use magic to heal her. With untrusting Coracks and Halderians threatening to capture and kill her, and war looming on the horizon, Kestra and Simon will have to learn to trust each other again if they have any hope of surviving. But can a heart once broken ever be healed?

Info from Goodreads here

My Review

4 Stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.
"The Deceiver's Heart" with paper flowers

I won a signed paperback copy from the author. (Thank you!) The author did not pay me for a review and all the thoughts here are my own honest opinion.

At first, this book kind of felt like a repeat of the first book. One of the characters had amnesia and had to rediscover everything she had already learned in the first book. It wasn’t a bad premise and it definitely allowed some of the other characters to get things figured out. And it was still filled with its own sets of twists. I don’t know, I had a hard time getting into this one. After I put it down for a while and then picked it up again I enjoyed it a little bit more. So maybe I was just suffering a little from reader’s fatigue or something.

I really appreciate Simon a lot more in this one. I really like how this book tried to promote him and he was like “no, thank you”. It was purely brilliant. I felt bad for him, but it works so well. And the poor guy was just being hunted down by everyone. But hey, he got a personal, precious DRAGON!!! Eep! The dragon was my favorite!

Kestra was okay, I liked her better after the whole I-forgot-everything plot line. But the plot of her learning magic? YES! YES! YES!

I’m not sure why everyone hates Harlyn because I kinda liked her. Sure, she was falling for Simon. Though I think that was also kind of Simon’s fault for leading her on every once in a while. But Harlyn was also pretty cool. She wasn’t all “I want to kill Kestra” attitude and it seemed more like she wanted what was best for her people, despite her people always causing problems. So yeah, Harlyn was okay.

BASIL!!! I LOVED HIM OKAY!!!! Like this dude needed his own story. =D

Also, can I just say how happy I was about this particular someone?

I was so into the magic training montage! Honestly though, getting to learn a little more about the magic of this world and how it can slowly cause someone to corrupt? YES PLEASE!

Content in Book:

  1. Violence. (With swords. With sharp discs. Going to break someone’s bones with their hand. With animals. With magic. With torture. Threatening to be violent. Blood and gore. Etc. Pretty much this book is filled with violence. I would say that it is a little intermediate. Probably not the best book if violence bothers you.)
  2. Slaves.
  3. Magic. (The magic in this series is usually portrayed as being bad.)

About

“The Warrior’s Curse”

(The Traitor’s Game #3)

By: Jennifer A. Nielsen

Cover for "The Warrior's Curse" by Jennifer A. Nielsen

“I want my final words before death to simply be that I lived.”

~ “The Warrior’s Curse” (The Traitor’s Game #3) ~ Jennifer A. Nielsen

Simon and Kestra are hurtling down paths ever farther from each other as the battle for control of Antora rages.

Simon, newly king of the Halderians, is pressed on all sides by royal duties. Harlyn Mindell is his betrothed and intended queen, but Simon can’t give up hope for a life with Kestra.

Kestra, exiled, feels her magic growing — and despite everyone’s warnings, she knows she must embrace it. That power is the key to the kingdom’s future.

Both still strive to defeat the evil Lord Endrick, but danger awaits them on the murky road forward. And is a common enemy enough to help them survive — or to carry them back to each other?

Info from Goodreads here

My Review

5 Stars

Rating: 5 out of 5.
"The Warrior's Curse" with paper flowers

I won a signed paperback copy from the author. (Thank you!) The author did not pay me for a review and all the thoughts here are my own honest opinion.

This one just dealt so much with getting through corruption and I was so there for it! Kestra’s journey with her magic was sooo well done. Because on one hand, she could do so much good with the magic. BUT it could also hurt a lot of people. BUT those people were also trying to hurt her. BUT… It was perfect, just sooo perfect!

I felt that Simon was also trying to deal with something similar with his newly kingly status. He wanted to help people, but also maybe, kinda, abused that power sometimes.

I did wish that we saw a little more chemistry or development with Simon’s and Kestra’s relationship though.

BUT DARROW!!!!

Still not sure what I think of Gab though…

I think I kinda still liked Harlyn though.

Basil is still the best boy and I still love Trina.

The boss battle was excellent.

The dragon scene was epic.

The ending was beautiful.

Content in Book:

  1. Violence. (With swords. With sharp discs. Going to break someone’s bones with their hand. With animals. With magic. With torture. Threatening to be violent. Blood and gore. Etc. Pretty much this book is filled with violence. I would say that it is a little intermediate. Probably not the best book if violence bothers you.)
  2. Slaves.
  3. Magic. (The magic in this series is usually portrayed as being bad.)

Who I Would Recommend This Series To:

Those who like dystopian fantasy that has a chosen one but is also filled with twists and turns at every corner. A really good read! Would recommend.

Where You Can Find The Books:

"The Traitor's Game" series with paper flowers

Goodreads

Amazon

Conclusion

Fanart of Kestra, drawn by Grace M. Morris
Fanart of Kestra, drawn by Grace M. Morris

Thanks again to Jennifer A. Nielsen for putting together the giveaway. And special thanks to the girl who shared my name and gave me the books because she had already read and loved them. You’re the best!

I really enjoyed this series and can’t wait to pick up some more books by this author! =D

Have you read this series? If so, what did you think? Who’s your favorite character? Let me know in the comments down below, but no spoilers!

Enjoy the Adventure! =D
Grace M. Morris

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Published by Grace M. Morris

Grace M. Morris traveled into a story one time, and no one has been able to pull her back ever since. When she learned that she can create stories of her own she has been striving to write speculative stories with a Christian basis suitable for young adults.

2 thoughts on “Series Review |”The Traitor’s Game” By: Jennifer A. Nielsen

  1. Agh! I love this series! Also, augh, I’ve forgotten so much about this series XD the first book is one of my favorite books ever. I really liked Kestra, I remember relating to her so much. I haven’t actually read the third book, but I think it’s high time I do a reread of the whole series and finally get to the conclusion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This series was sooo good! I’m kinda torn between the first and the last book. The first had such a good introduction to the world and characters while really diving right into the plot. Entirely epic. While the last book was just epic. I agree, Kestra was just a very relatable character. While I don’t know how to fight with daggers, *yet*. I think that I would actually do a lot of the things she chose. You should definitely give it a reread! The conclusion is worth it in my opinion!

      Like

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