Review of Traitors of the Black Crown by Cate Pearce
This was a good fantasy story. This was a book I was really excited to read until I noticed the early reviews. I was seeing all these low stars and DNF’s, so my heart sunk and I went into this read with low expectations, but now I’m sitting here confused because I enjoyed this story. It’s not perfect, and being a debut it has its newbie bumps, but I had a lot of fun with it and I can’t wait for the next book.
After seeing some of the early DNF’s, I figured this book was going to start really slow. Luckily, that was not the case at all. Pearce throws us right into the action and immediately we are in a possible life and death situation. I read so much fantasy that I’m used to a real slog in the beginning so this was a treat. I did think overall the world-building suffered a bit, not having a slow beginning that the author could try to hide some info-dumps into, but entertainment-wise, this was a fun way to start the book.
I do want to mention that this is ADULT fantasy and not YA. I recently read that when a woman author writes fantasy people assume it is YA but when a man does they think it’s adult fantasy. I’m not going to go into that but I think it’s food for thought. I love YA fantasy personally, but I enjoyed the change and I appreciated the adult characters. And while this was adult, it is not very explicit in its violence. It is there and people do get hurt and die, but this is not a gory, bloody book. While I’m no kid expert, I think a wide range of ages could read this.
A few people have mentioned that this has a Game of Thrones feel and I have to agree. I would not have been surprised if this started as fanfic before it was developed into a book. The villain character is one of those over-the-top ‘mwahaha’ bad guys, who is very Joffrey-like, and Queen Zarana, an older version of Cersei, who you love to hate but are also fascinated with. The two main characters were wonderful, but they were a tiny bit wooden at times, so it was hard not to be really interested in the Queen.
There is a romance that is WLW and is really sweet. It might have moved a little fast, but I thought they had genuine chemistry together with good flirty banter. Because the mains are so great, they might have been almost too good together. There wasn’t any conflict or good angsty moments and I was missing that fact. I think Pearce was trying so hard to make likable characters that she didn’t give them enough faults. But if you want more of a sweeter romance, then it should work for you. The characters do sleep together, but most sex scenes are fade-to-black except for one I remember as only mildly explicit.
I don’t think people will find anything new here, and if you have really high expectations you might be disappointed, but overall this was a good story. This is a case of me not agreeing with the average Goodreads rating, for this book, as it is oddly low. I feel like I read a different book than other people did. It has its issues sure, but it’s entertaining and is a quality debut. I think Pearce is only going to get better and I’m excited to read the sequel.
A copy was given to me for a review.