Rebel by chance. Traitor by choice.
Gunslinger Amani al’Hiza fled her dead-end hometown on the back of a mythical horse with the mysterious foreigner Jin, seeking only her own freedom. Now she’s fighting to liberate the entire desert nation of Miraji from a bloodthirsty sultan who slew his own father to capture the throne.
When Amani finds herself thrust into the epicenter of the regime—the Sultan’s palace—she’s determined to bring the tyrant down. Desperate to uncover the Sultan’s secrets by spying on his court, she tries to forget that Jin disappeared just as she was getting closest to him, and that she’s a prisoner of the enemy. But the longer she remains, the more she questions whether the Sultan is really the villain she’s been told he is, and who’s the real traitor to her sun-bleached, magic-filled homeland.
Forget everything you thought you knew about Miraji, about the rebellion, about Djinn and Jin and the Blue-Eyed Bandit. In Traitor to the Throne, the only certainty is that everything will change.
The overall theme of the 2nd book cover is the same with the 1st one. However, I like the 1st book cover even better than the 2nd one. The combination of colors is a little bit off and doesn’t really suit the title. It’s fine. It’s not the worst book cover I’ve ever seen.
Although the cover doesn’t live up to the title of the book, it certainly does with the focus of the story. Unlike the first book which focus more on the rebels, in the second book we get to see more of the Sultan’s characteristics, war and politic strategies, and his castle. I read the first book one or two years ago, so it is nice that in the first chapter of the book we get some sort of summary of the first book, a short retelling.
In the second book, Jin was gone mostly which made me really disappointed because I wanted to see more of him and Amani together. Just like in the first book, them together kicking and shooting bad guys. What annoyed me the most is the scene when Amani was going to ‘talk things out’ with Jin but was ‘delayed’ by her ‘long lost’ aunt. Her aunt sold her off to the Sultan. Since then, she became the Sultan’s new ‘pet’ and Jin was off the frame most of the book, appearing again later nearing the end. I was also super annoyed when Amet cut Amani’s hair short when she was asleep. The most surprising thing is the plot twist at the end. I had thought of all the things the rebels would be without Ahmed, but then turns out it wasn’t him whose head was chopped off. Besides the lack of ‘Jin and Amani’ which saddened me, the ‘action’ in the second book is also absent. Under the Sultan’s control, there’s nothing Amani could do. She can’t use her power and fight. She is ordered not to leave the harem and hurt anyone.
The second book would be boring if not for the old tales and legends being slipped into the plot. Once in a while the characters reveal stories from the Holy Book and use them as reference or analogy of their situations. Moreover, I think for the readers the tales foreshadow the upcoming events in the book. They serve as some sort of signs of what is going to happen in the future. Another thing I love about this series is the world building. I enjoy being taken into the Persian world, being introduced to the culture, the traditions, the mythical creatures, and the beautiful dresses.
I think the second book is a combination of The Wrath and the Dawn, Glass Sword, and The Mortal Instruments. Both The Wrath and the Dawn and Traitor to the Throne feature a Persian-inspired world. Similar to the Red Queen series, Rebel of the Sands series is also about a resistance group fighting for equality, a better world where ordinary people and people with unordinary superpower (Demdji) can live together peacefully. In addition, a small similarity to the Mortal Instruments is that, just like Seelies (fairies), Demdji also can’t lie.
The second book has a few new characters. There are so many characters in total. I can’t always keep up.
In the second book, Amani meets a few unexpected people which I think has a good impact for her character developments. She meets Shira, her step sister and learns how to ‘bargain’ information. She meets Tamid, her former best friend and learns the importance of friendship and trust and how to treasure the people she loves. The meeting with these two people from her past life in Dustwalk also enables her to re-invent their closures, better ones. Amani also meets her cunning aunt. She learns how the relationship between her mother and her aunt is and what her existence brings to that relationship. Other than that, she also meets her Djinni father and realizes that she is a daughter. She cares for her father even though we do not know yet what her father thinks of her. All in all, I think her experience in the second book makes her learn a lot of things and makes her braver to take risks.
Jin is someone who is motivated by ‘love’. He wouldn’t join the rebellion if not because of his love for Amani. I don’t see another goal of his life other than being with Amani. His feeling for her makes him a little bit selfish.
He’s not that awful. I mean he’s cruel, but he’s not violent. He’s strict and sly. He knows what he’s doing and rarely has doubts with his decisions. However, he doesn’t listen to other people. He’s doing everything his way because he thinks he knows best.
I like her. I imagined she’s a role model for woman. She’s smart, brave, independent, and a good friend for Amani. I think, she and Ahmed, they complete each others’ weaknesses in leading the rebellion.
My favorite among the new characters in the second book is Sam. I like his wit. It’s always fun and less tense when he’s around. I was suspicious about him the first time, but unexpectedly the plot twist is not him. It was Leyla whom I hadn’t had any suspicious about because she’s sweet and innocent, or so I thought.
I like Traitor to the Throne. The first book, Rebel of the Sands, is amazing. The second one is a little bit below the expectation for me, but I still enjoyed reading it. I will definitely read the third book. For those who have read the first book, don’t be reluctant to pick up the second book because it is still as enjoyable as the first one. Just don’t set your expectations too high. In general, I think everyone should give this series a try. Especially those who love Persian culture and the two series, The Wrath and the Dawn and Red Queen, will absolutely fall for the Rebel of the Sands series as well.