The Traitor's Game
The Traitor's Game

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Series: The Traitor's Game Vol. 1   

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Annotation: After three years in exile Kestra Dallisor has been summoned back to Antora by her father, right-hand man of the seemingly immortal king, Lord Endrick, but she is intercepted and kidnapped by the Coracks who want to use her to get the Olden Blade, which they believe can be used to kill the despot, Simon, one of the rebels with his own grudge against the Dallisors, is assigned to accompany her, but Kestra has her own plans and she does not intend to let anyone get in her way.
Catalog Number: #181829
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 388 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-338-04538-5 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-4344-6
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-338-04538-3 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-4344-0
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2017020257
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
Kestra Dallisor, daughter of the ruling class of Antora, is kidnapped by rebel Coracks and forced to betray her family by finding the mythological Olden Blade to kill evil usurper Lord Endrick. She's accompanied by childhood friend Simon (who splits narrative duties with her) and obstinate, mysterious Trina; obstacles threaten their lives, test their uneasy alliance, and reveal numerous secrets. Plot twists and turns make this fantasy trilogy-opener compelling reading.
Kirkus Reviews
A rebellious lady fends off and flirts with actual rebels in this series starter.Recalled after three years of desert exile, 16-year-old white Kestra Dallisor is kidnapped—yet again—by Corack rebels while en route. Blackmailed and released to the wary supervision of former servant Simon Hatch and erratic Trina, Kestra returns home with a mission: find a book, find a blade, and help overthrow the evil Lord Endrick, last of the Endrean magic users, leader of the Dominion and ruthless ruler of Antora. Predictably, the headstrong, now-lethal lady's homecoming is complicated by an aloof father, upper-class expectations, and an unwanted suitor. Not as kick-butt as Katniss, Kestra is nevertheless disturbingly accustomed to violence, as are her fellow characters, with some scenes verging on Tarantino territory. Alternating narrators Kestra and Simon brim with righteous indignation and rigid views, spouting polarized political propaganda until their shared past and star-crossed passion make them question everything. Front-loaded with worldbuilding and evidently lacking characters of color, the mostly medieval, somewhat fantasy tale ricochets among underdog rebellion, improbable heist, and torrid, florid, forbidden romance. Nielsen's fans will eagerly anticipate sequels, but newcomers may find this first entry too little different from others in the genre to persist. (Fantasy. 14-18)
Publishers Weekly
Kestra Dallisor is the defiant 16-year-old daughter of Sir Henry Dallisor, chief counsel to Antora-s evil and possibly immortal ruler, Lord Endrick. Kestra is returning home following a three-year exile when Corack rebels ambush her carriage. Her attackers kidnap and threaten to kill Kestra-s driver and handmaid unless she smuggles two insurgents, Simon and Trina, into Sir Henry-s estate and helps them find the Olden Blade. The Blade is purportedly the only weapon capable of killing Lord Endrick, and it-s rumored to be hidden in the Dallisor dungeons. Kestra only cooperates because she must, but the longer she spends in the Coracks- company, the more she questions what she knows about her kingdom, her family, and herself. First in a trilogy, this entertaining but uneven fantasy novel from Nielsen (the Mark of the Thief trilogy) advocates tolerance while championing female self-empowerment. Kestra and Simon-s alternating narratives are engaging and distinctive, but although Nielsen-s characters harbor plenty of secrets, they are somewhat one-dimensional, reducing the emotional impact of an otherwise action-packed, romance-laden tale. Ages 12-up. Agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary. (Feb.)

School Library Journal
Gr 68 The world has been engulfed in perpetual war. Kestra, the daughter of the emperorlike leader of the Dominion, is blackmailed into stealing a powerful artifact called the Olden Blade which can tilt the balance of power in the region. Between the onslaught of warring tribes and ever-changing loyalties, the book is replete with tense moments that propel the story forward. Nielsen does a masterful job keeping readers off guard while tightening the screws of tension throughout, satisfying even the most reluctant readers. The dialogue can read dry at times, but the plot-based twists and turns more than make up for it. An otherworldly story with a side of fantasy on the surface, the setup and struggle feels universal. Small plot reveals are meted out every few scenes to keep teens intrigued and thirsting for more. This is clearly the first of a series, as the ending is just the reckoning that some much larger battle is at hand. VERDICT A competent addition to any middle school library, especially where there are fans of Cassandra Clare and Suzanne Collins. Brian Hoff, Elmwood Park High School, IL
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Horn Book
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal
Word Count: 102,471
Reading Level: 5.3
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.3 / points: 16.0 / quiz: 194439 / grade: Upper Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.5 / points:24.0 / quiz:Q76483
Lexile: HL730L
Guided Reading Level: O
Like everyone in Antora, I feared Lord Endrick, but I'd be a fool not to respect his power. Lord Endrick could not be defeated. He could not be killed or even wounded, certainly not by the Coracks. At best, they were like fleas to him, a persistent irritation, but a pestilence he would eventually crush between his fingers.

Sooner than later, I hoped.

"Endrick is no ordinary man," I said. "Bring an army of a hundred thousand against him if you want. It will do you no good."

"Not yet, my lady. That's where you come in."

Almost unwittingly, I sat up straight, shaking my head as fiercely as possible. "What you want cannot be done."

Tenger leaned in to me. "It will be done, and you will do it. The Coracks have not yet decided who will replace Endrick as ruler of the Scarlet Throne, but he will be replaced."

"You will hang for this." I tilted my head toward Simon, to be sure the message was clear. "All of you."

"So you've said." Tenger had probably heard that threat as often as the church bells chimed. "You'll attend our hanging, I assume."

"I'll give the executioner his orders, gladly." My voice became ice. It frightened me to hear it, to realize I was capable of such words.

Tenger smiled at my threat. "If you fail us, with similar enthusiasm we will execute your servant girl and driver. Only our methods are far more painful, I can promise you that. Now, what do you know about the Olden Blade?"

My gut twisted, but I tried not to let my worry show. If the Coracks knew about that dagger, then they needed my help to complete their wicked plans. They intended to make a traitor of me too.

If I was not careful, I would hang with them.

Excerpted from The Traitor's Game by Jennifer A. Nielsen
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Hearts and loyalties collide in this electrifying New York Times bestseller from critically acclaimed author Jennifer A. Nielsen -- in paperback alongside Book Two!

Jennifer A. Nielsen's New York Times bestseller The Traitor's Game, which Entertainment Weekly called "the next big YA fantasy," is perfect for fans of the Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard and the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas.

Kestra Dallisor has spent three years in exile in the Lava Fields, but that won't stop her from being drawn back into her father's palace politics. He's second-in-command to the cruel king, Lord Endrick, which makes Kestra a valuable bargaining chip. A group of rebels knows this -- and they snatch Kestra from her carriage as she reluctantly travels home.

The kidnappers want her to retrieve the lost Olden Blade, the only object that can destroy the king, but Kestra is not the obedient captive they expected. One of the rebels, Simon, has his hands full as Kestra tries to foil their plot, by any means necessary. As motives shift and secrets emerge, both have to decide what -- and who -- it is they're fighting for.

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