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The Traitor's Game

(The Traitor's Game #1)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  5,934 ratings  ·  967 reviews
Nothing is as it seems in the kingdom of Antora. 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 the right hand man of the cruel king, Lord Endrick, which makes Kestra a valuable bargaining chip. A group of rebels knows this all too well - and they snatch Kestra from he ...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published February 27th 2018 by Scholastic
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Samantha Hey there! Yes this is a trilogy. The Warrior's Curse (bk 3) will be coming out Mar 2020

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Average rating 3.81  · 
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 ·  5,934 ratings  ·  967 reviews

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Jennifer Nielsen
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: books-i-wrote
Yes, I'm biased, but I hope readers will love this book as much as I do. I adore Kestra's fire, intelligence, and desire to do the right thing - something that isn't always clear to her. I love Simon's dedication, courage, and devotion to the causes he cares about. And I'm fascinated by these two characters who are working their way toward the truth, but coming to it from completely different angles.

If you read this and like it, then I also hope you'll follow this story through the sequels. I'm
R.F. Gammon


That's it that's all I've got.

I love Simon.

I love Trina.

I love Kestra.

I hate Gabe and I hate Tenger and I hate Endrick and I hate Sir Henry and just *insert angry emojis here*


REREAD #1: February 2019

I thought it was agonizing to wait for The Deceiver's Heart BEFORE now. But now! Having reread this one!!!!! I may well die long before I get that book (never mind that I've preordered it and it should be here within a couple of weeks
jv poore
Abruptly abandoning her beloved Lava Fields, based solely on a demand from her paternal parental unit, is aggravating. The fact that it’s been three years and no reason was given for the reunion, is infuriating. When Kestra’s security carriage is attacked on the journey home, she flips from frustrated to fiercely furious, forgetting all about fear.

Certainly, the people of Antora have a healthy respect for that anger. After all, her father is second in command to Lord Endrick. Those who actually
Cindy ✩☽♔
Rating ~2.5

While, there wasn’t anything particularly bad about this, there also wasn’t anything particularly good or memorable about it either.

The romance, if you can call it that, fell flat. Honestly, I thought Kestra had more chemistry in a few scenes with her betrothed than she did in any of her scenes with Simon.

I cared about essentially none of the characters, and one of the few characters I did somewhat like died.

It hasn’t even been a month and I sometimes struggle to recall what happe
m a r y l i z
Apr 04, 2018 rated it liked it

On one hand, I absolutely LOVED it - the sass, the setting, the plot twists, the character arcs . . . they are all so masterful.

But on the other hand . . . I'm so very disappointed.

Lovely Things:

- Can we just recognize the extreme SNARK levels?? I'm convinced that Jennifer Nielsen is the master of witty writing. I laugh SO MUCH every time I read her books because the sass levels are off the charts. And yet, despite how many snarky characters she creates, they al
Nicki Chapelway
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There are no winners in the traitor's game...

I will attest to the truth of this statement. I certainly didn't win. In fact, I got to enjoy watching my heart getting ripped out and then roasted on a spit.

I don't care what anyone else says about more famous fantasy authors, Jennifer Neilson is the QUEEN OF FANTASY and you will not change my mind. Thank you so much for reminding me that a book can be thrilling and epic and adventurous and romantic and still be clean.

Kestra and Simon were both fanta
Jun 13, 2020 rated it liked it
This was an easy, quick, and enjoyable weekend read.
In this book, everyone was tired of the wicked tyrant, Lord Endrick, he’d declared himself an immortal, and ruler of all; the only weapon able to kill him was an ancient blade called “the olden blade”. Only one person is able to wield such weapon and the blade chooses its wielder, if anyone tries it could kill them. The tyrant king is searching for this weapon as well as his enemies. Kaestra, the main character was caught between both camps, h
Zitong Ren
Ehh, yeah?, no?, maybe? Was it good? maybe? Who knows? Who am I to judge person that is a lot more successful than me? Ok, but in all seriousness, in what began as a sort of fun action paced fantasy series that I thought was ok, the more I actually think about it, the more ridiculous it becomes and the less I like it, but I sort of have to think to write these reviews.

First, we must let my inner fantasy nerd out before we get onto the actual review.


There, I’m done.

This i
Wow another fun series by Jennifer!

The Traitor's Game went by pretty quickly. I didn't wait long to dive into another series after finished the false prince books.. and I wasn't disappointed one bit either. In it, you will meet Kestra and she's definitely a stubborn MC. Besides her, there's Basil and Simon. Sure, this book has a lot more people but I'm only mentioning these three.

Now I don't really like love triangles but did enjoy this one. I kept tossing and turning from team basil to team sim
Jul 27, 2017 added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
Stopped at 50 percent.

I haven't read the very popular The False Prince series by this author, but my expectations were high because of the attention surrounding the other books.

I have to say: I'm pretty disappointed. The premise of the book - a princess who must turn spy and traitor against her father - is a story I've read a ton of times already. The characterization was also pretty basic (tough heroine can take care of herself!) and a some big emotional strife is quickly demolished because HE
Lila Kims
update march 2019: Moved the rating back up because 4 stars is just too low for how utterly fantastic this book is. (Why does rating books have to be such a stressful process??)


What I love most about this book is probably the character development. It's just astounding, really. Every character, from the main ones like Kestra, Simon, and Trina (the hot-headed kickbutt girl, the soft but fierce cinnamon roll boy, and the brat who's incredibly annoying but you've just gotta app
Nadhira Satria
Dec 17, 2017 marked it as to-read
2018 is the year of gorgeous book covers ayeee
Joey T
Mar 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
/4.5 stars/

I definitely need the next one asap


Reading anything by Jennifer A Nielsen is just sooooo refreshing cause... clean ya? Amen to that.

This was sooo close to being five stars for me, but I did find it a tiiiiny bit predictable at times, hence, 4.5 stars. But only at a few times. There were definitely time where I was like...??? O.o Didn’t see that coming!!


I really liked the characters. Like, REALLY REALLY REALLY liked the characters. The were
C.P. Cabaniss
I really hate how this read ended up for me. The False Prince is one of my favorite novels, so I was very excited to get into another fantasy by Jennifer Nielsen. Unfortunately, this one did not work.

DNF at page 266 of 388.

I received a signed ARC of this at Yallfest in 2017.

I was really excited to get into this book. I didn't even really know what it was about, aside from sparse descriptions, but it sounded like a lot of fun. And what I have appreciated in Nielsen's other books is the vivid char
After being exiled for 3 years Kestra Dallsor is finally coming home. Kestra's father is the right hand man to the evil king, Lord Edrick. When a group of rebels intercept Kestra's carriage ride home she is kidnapped. Truths and Lies start to come out who should Kestra trust.

I thought the story line was okay. I Liked Kestra's personality and he fireiness. I always enjoy reading strong kickass females. I just felt the story was a little long and some of the twist and turns left me confused. I do
Dec 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
More reviews up on my blog:
This book was full of things that weren't fully explained and character traits I just hate. Kestra is that MC who is too defiant and stubborn for her own good, so selfish and arrogant, and believes that she can do it all. She always thinks she's right, and that she can save the world, and I hate it. And the relationship, just ugh no please. The only redeeming quality about this book was her relationship with Darrow. I appreciated th
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, read2018
Have you ever read a book where you felt it that it had so much potential but then it disappointed you . I really wanted to like this book and there were moments which I did but....


The Traitor's Game by Jennifer A. Nielsen follows a young noble lady Kestra Dallisor, who is ambushed on her way back home. The reason why Kestra is targeted is because her father is the right-hand man of the cruel king, Lord Endrick. The ones that ambushed Kestra want her to retrieve the lost Olden Blad, that could
Lila (Hardcover Haven)
Mar 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
hahahahaha NOPE! i can't do it anymore--DNF at 30%
this was so heavy-handed, cliche, and overdramatic that it became truly ridiculous. it was instalove TO THE MAX (!!!) with a near kiss at approximately 20%! not only that, but kestra begins to question her life-long, ingrained beliefs about politics after one incredibly MINOR brush with a girl in the market who tries to steal food. further, kestra's always super smug about being "smart," but i swear to god, she's one of the most naive and flat-ou
Kelly (Diva Booknerd)
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scholastic
Kestra Dallisor has been summoned home by her father, a garrison of soldiers ensuring her compliance. Upon her journey, Kestra is captured by the Corack, a rebellion alliance and escorted to her father's palatial residence in Highwyn as handmaiden and footsoldier. The Corack alliance are pursuing the Olden Blade, an artefact to subjugate the immortal Lord Endrick and his oppressive reign.

Sixteen year old Kestra Dallisor is a formidable and coarsened young woman, ostracised by her father to the d
Emily (I'll be gone except for book updates for awhile)
If you liked this book you should probably leave now...

My honest opinion is I really, really, really didn't like this book. I'd seen so many great things about it and it started off really well. And then I got to about chapter six...


Insta love is wrong for several reasons:
1. It isn't real. You can't just fall in love with someone right away. That's attraction, not love.
2. It's annoying 😒
3. It just doesn't work in a book. Like, this book focused a lot on the rom
Oct 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, fantasy
Reeeally want the second book now!! :P
Ezgi Tülü
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Note: I listened to the audiobook, so I'm not sure how to write the character's names for the most part.

I was torn between giving 2 and 3 stars to The Traitor's Game.

It is not necessarily the book's fault, but I am apparently tired of this basic plot, especially when it isn't very well-written. It fell flat for the most part, and got annoying really fast with Kestra complicating things unnecessarily at every turn. Even one of the characters muses on this towards the end of the book, thinking so
Jul 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
This book started out so promising with the premise of a kidnapped girl who holds the secrets to secure a legendary weapon to kill an evil immortal king. Sounds pretty original and exciting, right? I was in the middle of reading some amazing books when I picked this up on audiobook, so this one might not have had a fighting chance considering all the other options that it was up against for my attention. But I stuck with it through to the end hoping that something would just pop out and make me ...more
Jill Williamson
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was super excited to get my hands on an advanced reader copy of The Traitor's Game by Jennifer Nielsen. I loved her False Prince trilogy, and I was eager to read her newest book. I really enjoyed it. Her characters and world building kept me enthralled as I whipped through this fantasy adventure.

The story is about Kestra, a nobleman's daughter, who is kidnapped and forged to help a group of rebels infiltrate her castle home and search for a magical knife they hope will enable them to kill the
Mar 02, 2018 rated it did not like it
Maybe a 1.5 out of 5? I'm honestly disappointed in this book. I wanted so much to like it but had so many issues. the only saving grace for this book was the part right before the end, which I almost didn't make it to, because I came so close to DNFing this book. I was honestly shocked to find that this author has written so many other novels before this because I kept thinking throughout this book that it was written very poorly. The characters felt underdeveloped and I didn't care about them.. ...more
May 11, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: ya, dnf, fantasy, arcs
I received a short preview of this book, so I only read about the first 20 pages or so. Nonetheless, I can’t see myself picking up the whole book so I’m going to mark this as a DNF. In the part that I read, there was a lot of telling and not showing, and it was really annoying to read. Plus, I really don’t like it when the YA heroines feel like they have to explicitly tell the reader she is tough and is not at all ladylike, heaven forbid! And that is what seemed to be happening with this book... ...more
OMG!! This was so freakin good and I need the next book now and I don’t know when it’s going to come out 😫 Totally recommend!
Apr 24, 2018 rated it liked it
I REALLY REALLY LIKED IT but hated the characters. Why must they be annoying? Why!? The plot is interesting and I hope that the characters get better in the next book.
Oct 19, 2018 added it
this book had so many (predictable) plot twists ... that i saw coming like ... a mile away. not to mention i found kestra extremely irritating!
miri the dreamer
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I think I'm an official Nielsan fan now. The Ascendance trilogy is one of my favorite series, and I was enthralled by The Traitor's Game. If I had read it in book form and not audiobook, I'd have probably finished it in a few sittings.

If you loved The False Prince, you'll probably enjoy this too because of:

-Sassy, unreliable narrators with good intentions
-Political intrigue/scheming
-TONS of plot twists

I must admit The Traitor's Game can be boring for some because it uses lots of YA fantasy trope
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Jennifer lives at the base of a very tall mountain in Northern Utah with her husband, three children, and a naughty puppy. She loves the smell of rainy days, hot chocolate, and old books, preferably all at once. She is a former speech teacher, theater director, and enjoyed a brief but disastrous career as a door-to-door pollster. In her spare time, Jennifer tends to panic, wondering what she has f ...more

Other books in the series

The Traitor's Game (3 books)
  • The Deceiver's Heart (The Traitor's Game, #2)
  • The Warrior's Curse (The Traitor's Game #3)

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Contemporary young adult literature has often led the way in depicting the real-life issues facing teens from all backgrounds. To delve into ho...
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“I motioned Kestra over to the table. “Come eat.” “After Trina has breathed on it? I’d rather eat off the floor.” 5 likes
“Life doesn’t give us what we want. It gives us what we need and asks what we will do with it.” 4 likes
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