ARC Review: Treason by S.M. Boyce

sinuses still killing me.  meh.  but guess what isn't unexciting?  The Treason Blog Tour!  The fun's only just started, so go check out the reviews, interviews, and giveaways!  

Treason Blog Tour

Stop back here November 14th for a character interview with Braeden Drakonin, my future husband one of the main characters. 

title:  Treason

author: S.M. Boyce

pages: 424

format: Kindle

isbn/asin: B009O3D7WM

buy it: Amazon

rating: 5/5 [in the genre] or 8/10 [all books I’ve ever read].

recommended for:  Fans of Tamora Pierce, C.S. Lewis, or Sarah J. Maas.  Lovers of high fantasy who have been lamenting the lack of it in the young adult market.  Anyone looking for an exciting story with a touch of really sweet romance.

Ourea has always been a deadly place. The lichgates tying the hidden world to Earth keep its creatures at bay—for now.

Kara Magari ignited a war when she stumbled into Ourea and found the Grimoire: a powerful artifact filled with secrets. To protect the one person she has left, she strikes a deal that goes against everything she believes in. But things don’t go as planned.

Braeden Drakonin can no longer run from who—and what—he is. He has to face the facts. He’s a prince. He’s a murderer. He’s a wanted man. And after a betrayal that leaves him heartbroken, he’s out for blood.

To survive, both Kara and Braeden must become the evil each has grown to hate.

the basics
In case you don't know, Lichgates is amazing and basically embodies everything I love about high fantasy.  So if you haven't, you should read the review.  If you have, then you already know how original and clever it is.  Guess what?  Treason may even be better.  Everything I loved about the first book is here: the strong characters, the super original creatures, the uber-cute and slow-building romance, the adventure, the magic, the pacing.  But Treason ups the ante.  The action starts instantly and the stakes are ever higher.  The twist...well, all I'll say is that it blew my mind.  In a good way.  Mostly.  I thought it needed a wee bit more foreshadowing, but I also thought it was a brilliant wrench to throw into the works.  Did I mention that I love Braeden?  We also get to know the side characters a lot more in this one, which makes the whole world feel way more fleshed out.  I'm dying for book three.

plot . 5/5
Holy chipotle (yes, people say that...), I cannot believe how much happens in this book.  Most authors would risk clunking you over the head with too much information, but Boyce pulls it off.  The pacing is slow enough to let you catch your breath but fast enough that the book doesn't end up at 800 pages.  Everything builds logically on everything else.  There's a bit of confusion around the Grimoire and just when it can save her and when not, but I think in general, Boyce does a good job of avoiding deus ex machina.  And like I said...the twists leaves you reeling.  It ends on kind of a soft, flimsy note, but that's pretty much my only complaint.

concept . 5/5
It's hard to make a new high fantasy world.  People also just don't care to do it.  Which is fine, sometimes.  If you have great characters and write like a pro, I'll gobble up your standard Euro-medieval look-a-like in a heartbeat and love it.  However.  Give me something new and exciting and you'll really stand out.  Boyce keeps some of the medieval tropes, but that's where the stereotypes end.  The bloodline system is insanely clever.  The creatures are all new and sparkly and shiny.  The linguistic aspects could be a little tighter but I tend to be way pickier about that then...well, pretty much everyone else.  In a nutshell?  Boyce took the time to create something new and deep and it shows.

characters . 5/5
Braedenbraedenbraeden.  Okay I'm done.  Braeden and Kara, the POV characters, are extremely well done.  They have some cliche elements (can you say Spiderman complex?) but they feel like real people, which is not always the case in fantasy novels.  They have real, logical motivations and relatable personalities.  I'm not a huge fan of Twin because she's a bit overly bubbly and flat.  She's the exception.  Most of the secondary characters really come to life in this novel.  I thought Aislynn needed some more foreshadowing, but Gavin was fantastically multifaceted and the first Vagabond is delightfully willful.  For the most part, everyone feels vibrant and real.  

style . 5/5
I'll admit that Boyce occasionally has some superfluous phrases or some messy language.  Now that I've gotten my nitpickiness out of the way...I really love Boyce's writing.  It's clean, polished, and hits the perfect balance between pretty description and succinct action phrasing.  It doesn't get in the way of the plot but it doesn't fall flat and dull either.  She has a knack for painting a picture.

mechanics . 5/5
Boyce puts in the extra editing work, and you can tell.  It's cleanly formatted and very pretty.

take home message
A tour-de-force (I've always wanted to use that word) that brings YA fantasy back into the light.

Note: I received this copy from the author. The price of the book and its origin in no way affected my stated opinions.

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