Title: Traitor’s Masque
Author: Kenley Davidson
Series: The Andari Chronicles #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Received for review from the author
Summary (from Goodreads)
Eighteen-year-old Trystan Colbourne believes she has nothing to lose. Her father has died, her stepmother has stolen her inheritance, and her stepsisters are as vicious as they are beautiful. If she wants a future beyond their cruelty and indifference, she has just one chance to make it for herself—by accepting an enticing offer from an unexpected benefactor. The offer? A life of freedom in exchange for her part in a harmless deception.
Trystan hopes her freedom will give her the chance to find out whether her mysterious new friend Donevan can be trusted with her secrets… and her heart. But trust is a dangerous business, and when her harmless deception turns sinister, Trystan discovers that trusting the wrong person may have placed the entire kingdom of Andar in grave peril. Unwittingly embroiled in espionage, treason, and deadly intrigue, Trystan will be forced to decide who she really wants to be, and how high a price she’s willing to pay to make her dreams come true.
I’m a bit in to fairy tales at the moment. I think it’s partly Once Upon A Time – a terrible, but simultaneously awesome TV show – and partly the recent Disney live action adaption of Cinderella. Oh, and Grimm, another terrible but simultaneously awesome show.
Let’s just say, life has been distinctly fairy tale flavoured for a while.
Which does mean I came at this adaption of Cinderella ready to love it. I wasn’t expecting to love it quite as much as I did.
Cinderella is a problematic fairy tale in that it’s main character is ‘nice’. Nice is generally boring in a narrative. Cinderella lacks agency and that spark that makes us really connect with her. In the recent film adaption, we connect with her romance with the dashing Robb Stark, I mean Prince er… *Googles* Kit! Prince Kit. Well, there were pretty dresses in that film, and ballroom dancing and I really wasn’t paying attention to much else…
Because there isn’t too much else to pay attention to. Which is exactly what Kenley Davidson changes in her adaption. This ‘Cinderella’ is at the centre of political intrigue, tricked and trapped into what looks like an innocent deception, but transpires to have much wider consequences.
The romance between Trystan and Donovan is much better, too. Full of fizz and wit, the two characters spar against each other verbally, before coming to an understanding that they have much in common. It’s a romance that does not depend on love at first sight, and you really feel for both characters as the machinations of people around them drive wedge after wedge between them. At times it’s impossible to see how either is going to get their happy ending. It’s not too spoilerific to say that they do – it’s a fairy tale, after all – but Davidson knows how to keep making the situation worse and worse, forcing you to read as fast as you can to reach the conclusion.
It’s a long book, but I never noticed when I was reading it, racing through the chapters. The narrative never felt stretched out or over-indulgent. Again, there’s so much going on, each scene and chapter feels full to the brim with intrigue and peril – supported by characters that are a joy to read about.
Overall, a fabulous book that I devoured. Highly recommended for anyone who loves a bit of fairy tale and romance in their stories.