The Traitors Game by Jennifer Nielsen

5 stars

Reviewed by Abby.

The Traitors Game begins as you venture through the thoughts of a 16 year old girl, Kestra, the daughter of a Dallisor, though her father holds no love for her especially since her mother died. She was, she says,
“...still young enough to excuse his flaws as my own failures of understanding….young enough then to love him despite his coldness, and to pretend that he cared for me…”
Now a young lady, she has come to bear with the fact that her world is in ruins, her best friend almost executed at age 11 by her father before escaping. And her father serving Lord Endrick, probably the worst man in her world, who sits on the Scarlet Throne.
She was sent away after being kidnapped by the Halderians at age thirteen, and kept in a box, an event that still gives her nightmares. Now she has been captured once again by a different group, Corack rebels, who want to blackmail her into finding the Olden Blade, a powerful object that resides at her father's castle. To get it she has to lie to everyone she knows and betray everything she has been taught. To make matters worse she is being forcefully accompanied by none other than the boy her father attempted to execute all those years ago.
This powerful story is both adventure and romance. Nothing is as it seems as you walk the halls of lies breaking through one layer after another, passing bits of truth along the way. Someone confesses just so you are tricked again, surrounded by the kings and queens of poker, just to discover that some of them aren't even playing at all.
This book, first in a series, was wonderful, the love plot being the main focus of everyone's attention, feelings getting in the way of facts as the protagonists press on. It switches between Kestra and Simon, while successfully not revealing either of their secrets to the reader, holding them in their seats. Violent at times and a romantic read, though not inappropriate, I believe would best be appreciated by the ages 13 and up.