Traitor by Nicole Conway
Traitor is the third installation in the Dragonriders Chronicles, following Fledgling and Avian. This series is not a trilogy, so don’t expect the adventure to end here, which isn’t a bad thing. I wanted to read the ending of this story, but I’m glad it wasn’t rushed because Traitor was a surprising yet exciting installation in this series.
Jaevid goes to Northwatch to fight the Grey Elves with his former instructor and now flight partner, Jace. Jaevid is shocked by the war and the destruction it has caused along the boarder between the two kingdoms. Felix joins him on the front, where a man that could be his real father(!) is stationed. However, these relationships isn’t tapped into in this novel because battle calls, and Jace and Ghost are knocked out of the sky over Luntharda. Jaevid dives down to save him, and they’re both captured by the Grey Elves and their princess, Araxie.
Sometimes, new characters can destroy the flow of a series or take too much focus away from the main characters. Not so with Araxie. She’s an important character, but she meshes fluidly into the existing world. She’s another battle hardened badass, and she leads the interrogation of Jaevid and Jace. During his interrogation, Jaevid learns that the royal grey elf family, including Araxie, are his relatives. This doesn’t sway their opinions, however, and they decide to deliver Jaevid and Jace to their forest god, Paligno. It’s this god that saves Jaevid, awakening him to the full extent of his powers.
Jaevid has never had a family he really felt close to, considering his father, Ulric, is a cruel man and was possibly driven mad by stealing the god stone. Jaevid and Araxie learning to trust each other and discovering their familial bonds endeared me to them. Their relationship is also a neat way to introduce us to the world of Luntharda, which is a complete departure from the dragon rider academy atmosphere.
One thing that I saw coming and hoped to hell like it would happen was the relationship between Araxie and Jace. Some fantasy bungles the romance elements–hard–either by trying to make the relationships star-crossed or by only having a character there as a love/sex interest. In Avian, Jaevid/Beckah grew naturally from the plot and from who the two characters were. In Traitor, Araxie/Jace follows a similar pattern, but the personalities of the two characters make the relationship new and fresh. Both Jace and Araxie are battle hardened people, and their relationships builds around them learning how to put down their defenses and open up to each other. I liked their romance better than Jaevid/Beckah’s, but the building of this relationship consumes a major part of this book, so if it doesn’t jive for you, this entry in this series might not work as well for you.
Ultimately, most of this story takes place with Jaevid navigating the new world of Luntharda. A lot of plot elements are finally revealed, and Jaevid devises a plan to end the war. We don’t learn this plan (next book!), and the second half of this story involves escaping Luntharda. Nothing happens with the major plot during this section, but there’s a lot of character growth during this journey. The character, Kiran, from Fledgling, returns to escort to the boarder of Luntharda, and Kiran ultimately ends up following Jaevid to his human home out of loyalty. If you’re interested in Kiran, there’s a short story at the end about him.
- Killer trees! I repeat: killer trees
- The dreams return, but this time, they’re more varied.
- Blue was the best. RIP Blue.
- If Jace gets fatally injured one more time…I’m going to lose my freaking mind. I was expecting him to die the entire time. He’s the new Lyon of this novel.
Rating: 5 stars
I didn’t love this story quite as much as Avian, but this series definitely has hit its stride and never looked back.