A while back, I featured a Book Spotlight on SM Boyce's Lichgates, the first book in her Grimoire Saga. She was kind enough to send me the second book in the series, too, but I only just found the time to read it—just in time for the release of the third book, Heritage, which is due out and will be featured in its own Spotlight tomorrow. Until then, let's take a look at Treason.
A Gala is to be held in Ethos; four of the five kingdoms of Ourea will sign a peace treaty under the suggestion of the land's new Vagabond, Kara. At least that was the plan. After a fateful turn of events that exposes long-hidden truths—assumed betrayal in the eyes of most—Kara and Braeden, the man she's not allowed to love, must once again fight for their lives. Neither of them are left with concrete allies, save one another, and in order to save themselves, each other, and the kingdom of Ourea, both have to become the evil each has grown to hate.
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World Building & World History. Wow! I said this before in my Spotlight of Boyce's Lichgates, but this woman can world-build! In this second book of the series, we delve deeper into the mythos and land of Ourea: we learn more backstory, more magic, and discover more creatures. Like the first lichgate that brought Kara to Ourea, we are transported to a fully-formed land that is absolutely unique from any other world I've yet to encounter; and like Kara, we have no choice but to fall in love with its magic. We also learn why the peaceful kingdom of Ethos fell and why the Stelians are hated by the other yakona most of all.
Races. In Lichgates, Boyce introduces us to the five yakona races of Ourea—each alike, yet each entirely different. We learn the basic differences in Kara's first encounters with these races, but in Treason, we are given even more detail of each beautiful—and sometimes frightening—idiosyncrasies of each species of yakona.
In addition, Boyce makes us truly fall in love with some of the non-yakona races—such as Kara's pet Xlijnughl, Flick, who can teleport the Vagabond all around Ourea with a mere thought—as well as deepen our hatred of others (the isen come to mind).
Romance. The romantic tension between Kara and Braeden builds exponentially in this book, as to be expected, but none of the scenes are contrived or manipulated for the sake of romance. Their relationship feels natural, warranted, and leaves you wishing they would stop being stubborn and just admit their feelings for one another.
Twist Ending. When I read Lichgates, part of me had hoped for what is ultimately divulged in Treason, but by the time I read the second book, it took me completely by surprise! Boyce executes the twist well, too—none of this whiplash stuff I've encountered in recent reads; there are clues throughout which your subconscious finds, so when you read the ending, the twist is graceful.
A lot of times, the second book in a series usually falls short; this is not the case with Treason. In fact, I enjoyed this book even more than the first. Boyce wrote a wonderful story with Lichgates, but with Treason, she sealed the deal. The book is called Treason, but not for the reasons you might first assume. Like the characters in the book, my allegiances were strained; I was often unsure of who to trust, and only a skilled writer can create a character with the depth needed to first win the heart—and then betray the trust—of a reader. This is definitely a MUST read!
Books are my own form of a Xlijnughl; may you, too, get transported...
***Treason (2012), by SM Boyce, is published by and copyright Caffeinated Books Publishing. It is available in stores, online (see above), and from your local public library.