The Traitor Prince is the third book in The New York Times-bestselling Ravenspire series by Nashville YA novelist C.J. Redwine. It may be her best work yet. Drawing inspiration from sources as disparate as The Hunger Games and The Prince and the Pauper, Redwine weaves a fiercely original tale of treachery, betrayal, conspiracy, and murder—not to mention dragons, elves, and monsters. The book is so mesmerizing, readers will scarcely be able to put it down.
Javan is the true prince and heir to the throne of Akram, where his father rules with justice and mercy. As a child, Javan is sent away to a prestigious academy to be trained in the art of kingship. His mother’s dying wish is for him to excel in his studies, and he is determined to win his senior competition and the coveted crimson sash, both to honor his mother’s memory and win the approval of his father, whom he has not seen in ten years. Meanwhile, a group of power-hungry aristocrats led by Javan’s uncle Fariq plans to assassinate Javan and replace him with his lookalike cousin, Rahim, Fariq’s own illegitimate son. Rahim will then return to Akram to be crowned king, allowing Fariq and the others to control the kingdom.
Unknown to them are the ambitions of Rahim himself, who will stop at nothing to take his revenge on a system that would exile an illegitimate son until it had need of him. “He was no puppet,” Rahim says of himself. “By his father’s blood and his own tenacity, he was a prince. A ruler. A god among men. And once he was through carving his destiny out of the blood and bone of those who stood in his way, everyone in Akram would bow before him, his name the prayer they raised as they begged for his mercy.”
As Javan’s ailing father struggles to maintain order in the kingdom, Fariq and the capital’s prison warden conspire to enrich themselves by holding gladiator-style games in the prison arena. The contestants are unlucky inmates forced to fight against a parade of horrifying beasts: venomous snakes, flesh-eating fish, man-eating worms, and giant birds of prey. Managing this monstrous menagerie is a slave girl named Sajda, who has magic in her blood. “Sajda dreamed of finding a single instant,” Redwine writes, “when she could use her magic to overpower the warden and gain her freedom. But the warden was too smart to unlock an old cuff before the new one was in place, and Sajda didn’t have the luxury of dreams that would never come true.”
As the diabolical plans of Fariq and the others begin to fall into place, Javan must find a way to turn Sajda into an ally, though winning her trust may be his most dangerous battle of all.
The fully realized interior lives of these characters imbue traditional fairy-tale style trappings with a decidedly modern feel. As Redwine continues to build worlds across the ten Ravenspire kingdoms, she leaves a glimmering trail of breadcrumbs between her books. And faithful readers are sure to follow the exploits of these fascinating characters, wherever they may lead.
A graduate of Auburn University, Tina Chambers has worked as a technical editor at an engineering firm and as an editorial assistant at Peachtree Publishers, where she worked on books by Erskine Caldwell, Will Campbell, and Ferrol Sams, to name a few. She lives in Chattanooga.