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Whisper #2

A Treason of Truths

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She turned her back on her people and shifted her allegiance to the very Empire she was sent to betray. Now head spymaster, Lyre's loyalty lies with Sabine, the Empress she has loved since childhood. But when Sabine visits the secretive Cloud Vault, the floating citadel home that Lyre betrayed, Lyre's elaborate web of lies starts to untangle. Her very presence threatens Sabine's future, and Lyre will do whatever it takes to protect her lover . . . even if that means sacrificing herself. Empress Sabine Corvus has lived a life of service, pushing aside her own desires for the greater good. With the Empire teetering on the brink of war with the traitorous Syndicate, she cannot afford to show weakness. Although Lyre's spymaster skills are her greatest weapon, their bond is Sabine's Achilles' heel. Regardless of the price, she will not give Lyre up. Contains mature themes.

209 pages, Kindle Edition

Published October 1, 2018

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Ada Harper

2 books33 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 30 reviews
Profile Image for Lex Kent.
1,682 reviews8,528 followers
September 15, 2018
3.5 Stars. This was a pretty enjoyable read. To be perfectly honest, the cover is what drew me in to try this book. I realized after I had it, that this was actually the second book in the series. From what I can tell the first book was an m/f romance staring two characters that had a smaller roll in this book. Just encase you could not tell from the cover, this second book was a wlw romance. I am very anal about reading series books in order. I did feel like I was missing out on some things. Obviously a lot had happened in the first book which included the stars of this book. However, for the most part enough background was explained that I was able to catch up enough to enjoy the story. So I do believe you could start here is you wished.

Sabine is an Empress trying to hold her court together. She doesn’t want to go to war with the neighboring country but peace talks have stalled. When she gets an invitation for peace summit from a neutral party called the Cloud Vault, she finds she has to say yes. Lyre is the Empress’ spymaster. She would do anything to keep Sabine safe. But Lyre has a secret. One that just might cause her to lose everything she cares about especially Sabine. Can these two women survive in a place filled with enemies?

This book had an interesting mix of fantasy and sci-fi. It felt almost like it took place way in the past, except the technology is very advanced. It was an interesting mix that made for an interesting world. I was able to learn enough about the world to understand how most things worked, however I know I was missing out on some world building not reading the first book. I did like the author’s choice that sexuality was never an issue. Discrimination of sexuality seems to be a plot point in many fantasy books so this was a nice change of pace.

The two mains were likeable characters. It took a little while to feel like I really clicked with them, but once I did they were easy to root for. The romance was pretty PG-13. I heard there was a lot of heat between the mains of the first book, so I was disappointed not to really find that here. I believed they cared for each other deeply, but I was missing that spice. I also thought they needed a little more conflict or something to make their connection stronger. On the other hand I did think the ending was really sweet.

There was some action in this book. I read through the book in one sitting and was never bored. However, I did think the action “climax” of the book was a little bit of a letdown. There are still a few threads left hanging. I’m not sure if that is just the chosen end, or the author is leaving it opened for a book 3. If there is a third book and it continues to star Lyre and Sabina, or another f/f couple, I would read the next.

An ARC was given to me by Netgalley for a honest review.
Profile Image for MJ.
369 reviews58 followers
August 1, 2018
I got an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review, and my honest review is THIS WAS REALLY, REALLY FUN and I am SO GLAD that this book, the sequel of my heart, exists.

A Treason of Truths is a direct sequel to A Conspiracy of Whispers, and tells the story of Sabine, the empress of the Quillian Empire, who has exactly one (1) friend and apparently has decided that means she needs to push her and the boundaries 100% of the time, and Lyre, her spymaster, who seems to spend at least 70% of her time trying to forget that they had sex one (1) time ages ago and now she’s in love with Sabine. They are also both incredibly competent at non-emotional things and are very good at their jobs, luckily for everyone around them.

After the destruction and political turmoil of book one, Treason opens with the Quillian Empire and their enemies, the neighboring Syndicate, being invited to a peace summit by the neutral Cloud Vault, a mysterious technocratic floating city that rarely (if ever) intervenes in world affairs. Lyre is suspicious, and rightly so; once they get there, shit (as you might imagine if you read the first book) goes sideways fast. Cue endless enjoyment and adventure and more-than-occasional angst and pining.

In between all the plotting, there’s also a lot of really lovely worldbuilding detail (something I loved about Conspiracy as well), such as mutant sewer creatures that break down garbage and moth-bots that can hunt by sound and GIANT MURDERWOLVES that have hides made out of plants.

The cast has all my faves from the first book, incl. the intentionally scandalous (and incredibly snarky) Lady Alais, actual human golden retriever Galen, and his actual human feral cat partner Olivia. But it also adds a couple of new characters that I, being me, IMMEDIATELY glommed onto as wanting a spin-off story about them getting together. (To be fair, my last wish for one of those was answered with this book so I have absolutely no regrets about being me.) (Also it’s a socially inept hacker and a young soldier with Ideals so, like, who among us DOESN’T want this.)

Bottom line, this book has everything: fealty, sentient flora, locked room mysteries, people kissing while covered in sewage, secrets on secrets on secrets, extremely dramatic public displays of affection, some light roasting of tech libertarian ideology, and—most importantly—highly competent disaster lesbians whom I love and would die for.

It’s out in October and you should read it.
Profile Image for Jess.
944 reviews58 followers
October 18, 2018
This book was provided for free by the publisher, Love Bytes, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This review was first posted to Love Bytes: LGBTQ Book Reviews. It has been slightly edited here for content.

It’s rare when an author can craft a complex and unique science fiction world that makes you think you know exactly what’s going on before turning it all upside down. Harper’s gritty political landscape of the royal Empire, the industrial Syndicate, and the mysterious floating Vault mixes and tangles until you don’t realize who is on which team until guns are drawn and loyalties are tested. It’s a fantastic story, and at the very heart is a romance between a queen who never wanted a crown and her ever-faithful spymaster who is always two steps ahead of everyone else.

This is a cerebral piece of science fiction. It’s slow, smart, sharp, and makes you get inside the characters’ minds instead of just follow them into battle. Lyre, the breakout character from the first novel in the “Whispers” universe, is the hardest type of character to manage because she’s smarter than all of us. She’s always weighing and balancing, looking and listening, plotting and scheming. I tend to hear The Hunger Games’ President Snow whenever she’s scuttling through a vent or slipping into the shadows—“moves and counter-moves.” Lyre is all about the bigger picture. She has to be—she has an Empress to save.

Unlike the vast war zone of the first book, this book takes place almost completely on The Vault, a flotilla city based purely on organics and technology. It’s a glowing garden of biotech and organisms gone wrong—moths that track your every move, vines that eat metal scrap, wolves made of leaves and thorns. When Empress Sabine is called by the scientists of The Vault for a peace summit with leaders from the dissident government, the Syndicate, Lyre is forced to confront her worst enemy of all—her past. Things quickly develop into a dark whodunnit, a locked-room mystery on a giant floating mass full of things that want to eat all of our favorite characters alive.

The first book in this series, A Conspiracy of Whispers, is an action-packed M/F romance between Sabine’s brother, Galen, and his mate, Olivia. It’s also an excellent read, and I highly recommend you read it before this one to become familiar with the universe. While that book is known in romance circles for being an example of M/F fiction within an alpha/beta/omega (or, in Harper’s words, altus/genta/caricae) universe, this book deals with bonding in a different way.

Both Sabine and Lyre are gentas, unable to reproduce naturally, so their mating bond is built on a different kind of instinct, a more unique push of biology. When they are in a room together, they are side by side. Their eyes are never off each other in situations of peril. Sabine and Lyre, her Liar, her spymaster, were never meant to be far apart. It feels like both fate and choice—they chose their fealty to one another, but their love is written in the stars. And their story is one that will leave you breathless. They are both incredibly complex, well-crafted characters who deserve the slow and methodical story arc of this book.

As with many spy thrillers, this one hits a few slow points, trickles into a few sub-plots that make you want to turn the pages until the tension ratchets up again. But on the whole, Harper is a cautious, smart writer—she knows how to twist a word, but they never feel wasted. I think the plot is tighter in this book than the first, and the characters have more distinct personalities. I hope this series will be a breakout hit for Ada Harper, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.
Profile Image for Nicole Field.
Author 18 books142 followers
November 18, 2019
Queer Girl Die Hard on a Floating City was how this was originally pitched to me. I couldn't help it; I jumped on this like it was a lifeline.

I did enjoy it. The world building was very thorough. There are three different classes of humans in this world. We get a main character from two of them, but the third is definitely talked about and a major plot point to the world of this novel.

That said, I didn't love this book. Although the world was really well developed, the plot was fast paced and spectacular, there was a really solid hero's journey weaving throughout... it was missing a little "something".

I feel like that something was character depth. Or maybe character likeability. I'm not one of those readers who thinks that female characters have to be likeable or I'm out. However, I do feel like I want to be able to empathise with them and care what happens next in their life.

Both Lyre and Sabine had interesting parts of their personalities and pasts, but for some reason I couldn't quite connect with either of them.

Personally, I actually found myself more interested in the side character of the Prime Minster Cian and the guard who got a swift promotion to Sabine's side for the brief moments that Lyre left it.
Profile Image for Ellie.
805 reviews154 followers
September 3, 2018
3.5 stars

Fast-paced and gripping f/f SF romance, lots of action/adventure. I wanted more emphasis on the romance, I felt it lacked tension/real conflict. Low-steam compared to book 1 in the series.

Mini review:
This is the second book in the series but works well as standalone too. There is intriguing world-building, lots of description on nanotechnology and bio-engineering. I liked it but felt the focus was more on the action/adventure than the romance. Lyre and Sabine both are interesting characters and there was some angst in their relationship but not enough tension/conflict.

This story is a curios mix of futuristic world and adherence to all royal/noble traditions. We get a f/f romance set in a world where queer relationships are a part of the world in the same way as heterosexual ones are. The love scenes were tender and low-heat compared to book one.

In short this story gives the readers a fast-paced, cleverly built dystopian world, interesting MCs, some pining, some tender loving and a most glorious declaration of love at the end. 3.5 stars
Profile Image for Carrie.
Author 14 books39 followers
January 9, 2019
I wanted to like this a lot more than I did. Part of it is that I’ve been having a hard time getting into any of my NetGalley books, and I keep switching between them until I finish one. Part of it is I didn’t know when I requested this that it was the second book in a series. I don’t think it’s necessary to read the first because Harper gives some good background on what happened in #1. However, it did take me a while to catch on to all the politics.

It’s an ambitious book, but for me, it fell short of the mark. I had trouble reconciling the tones. A scene would be tense and dramatic, and then a character would try to be funny. Or things would be very formal and then a character would say “idjit” or “Plan B,” which pulled me out of the realm of the story. Often, the humor often fell flat, and there were a lot of non-sequiturs in the dialogue that left me scratching my head. But most of all, I never got the sense of urgency or danger that Harper seemed to want to impart. I would have cut about 20K words to hurry the pace and make the story snappier.

I tend to not care too much about formatting in ARCs because, well, they’re ARCs and who knows how a book is going to upload? But in this case, the formatting mistakes could be a distraction. Sometimes, there was no demarcation between one scene and the next, and it always took a few sentences for my brain to catch up. And some of the paragraphs seemed smooshed together so that who was saying or doing what was somewhat confusing.

This sounds like I disliked this book, but for all its minor flaws, I think it had some shining moments. The world-building is intriguing, Sabine and Lyre are both complex characters, and there are some interesting insights into the characters and worlds and humanity. Maybe if I were in a better headspace and had read it more quickly, I would’ve enjoyed it more.

Overall, it was a very interesting idea. That the execution didn’t work for me is a personal opinion. I’d certainly try another Ada Harper book in the future.

Thanks to NetGalley, Carina Press, and Ada Harper for the review copy.
Profile Image for Dannica.
673 reviews23 followers
October 16, 2018
What a good book.

The only other f/f book I've read with political intrigue is, I believe, Daughter of Mystery, so I can't help comparing the two a little. The main similarity I spot is that Lyre being loyal to Sabine is a huge part of their relationship--otherwise the setting and tone are pretty different. I also feel inclined to compare A Treason of Truths to the Queen's Thief series for having an audacious trickster MC who kept on making me say, "Damn it, she did it again". But I guess I should go on to talking about this book, not just musing about similarities and differences.

I love loved Sabine and Lyre's dynamic. Lyre's loyalty is endearing, as is Sabine's obvious dependence on her, but I also loved how much they trust each other, the balance of unspoken things between them, the bickering when they're at odds. So many sparks! I shipped them a lot.

The secondary characters, though, are what really make this book for me, transforming it from a basic fantasy romance to a good piece of fantasy/sci-fi (I'm not sure which genre to put this in). I love Alais, dignified but still scandal-loving, and I'm curious as to whether Ada Harper may someday write a book about her too, since this is after all a series. And I got quite fond of Cian and Kitra and even Khait and Sylvere. And I'm curious enough about Galen and Olivia that I'm considering whether I might read the book before this in the series, even tho I picked this up for the f/f and that one is m/f.

Then there's the setting. I didn't get a great grasp of the Empire, but I could totally picture the Vault. I'm picturing it kind of like a grittier, spookier Laputa from Miyazaki's Castle in the Sky. Ugh, those creeper vines (shivers) and the beetles! But there's a very cute wolf made out of vines and now I wish vine wolves really existed.

Anyways I basically really liked this book, and I guess I don't have much more to say about it. Ada Harper is a great fantasy (sci-fi?) writer and I'd like to read more by her. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Ariadna.
27 reviews16 followers
September 27, 2018
This is the first time I’ve reviewed book before published. I got this book from Netgalley

I was surprised by how much I enjoy book. Several factors made me think, beforehand, that I might not. Factors include some reviews I’d seen, starting a series on second book, and the part the main character was acting oddly.

This is part where starting series mid-stream is concern. From the little I know, which is nothing but what read in this book, first book involved someone from a rival country who ended up becoming a couple with someone in that other country. And she’s something like an ex-spy, or worked in a related. So why was the ‘spymaster’, the main character, going on and on about how she had to leave, disconnect herself from the Empresses because learning that she was a spy would never be acceptable. But didn’t she learn anything from the first book? She didn’t read it? And she calls herself a spy-master?

The book was good. Science-fiction, steampunk touch (steampunk mobile city), and post-apocalyptic society, and on the edge of despotism.

Just a parting note: the book description on Goodreads is faulty. Well, depends on definitions. What is there in description might be misleading.
Profile Image for Devann.
2,431 reviews129 followers
September 30, 2018
I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley

I really wish I liked this more than I did. It was well written so don't let my low rating turn you off if it sounds interesting to you, it just apparently wasn't for me. I saw another reviewer say it is actually a sequel to the author's first book so maybe I would have benefited from reading that, but it wasn't marked as a sequel so I didn't know at the time. I think the book kind of just threw us into the plot too fast before I really got a chance to get connected to the characters and I never really recovered from that. I'm definitely a 'characters are more important than plot' kind of reader so even though the plot seemed pretty cool once it picked up, I just couldn't connect with it and found myself skimming a lot once I got about halfway through. Also the whole thing was very focused on political machinations and I always find it difficult to keep up with that, especially if my attention is already wandering. I'm sure it could be a very enjoyable read for someone else though.
Profile Image for Marcella Christie.
Author 11 books6 followers
September 27, 2018
Searching for a women-love-women romance with complex, likable, intelligent, funny heroines? Oh, hey, you should read A Treason of Truths.

I need to love the characters in a romance to believe they can fall in love. I need to see them work together, talk together, think together -- I need to see them admire each other's skills and wit. With Lyre and Sabine, I get that AND a fascinating secret-society government takeover plot on a floating city. Class differences! Heroine with a disability in futuristic fantasy! Queer people eevverrryywwwheeerrre, in so many different roles!

And seriously, even if female/female isn't your usual cup of tea? Give this one a shot. The emotion, the sensuality, the plot, the stakes...it'll change how you view the entire genre.
Profile Image for Amy!.
2,261 reviews28 followers
October 11, 2018
Sci-fi romance with queer women of color! Plus, an enjoyable plot! Hooray!

This book is maybe not my favorite sci-fi ever, but it sure is nice to have two brown skinned women as the protagonists.
Profile Image for Calensûl.
107 reviews5 followers
May 18, 2019
After being very satisfied with two short male/male novels from Carina Press, I thought I really ought to at least try some female/female romance. I browsed their catalogue, and chose this one because it also sounded like exactly the type of science fiction I would love.

The science fiction aspect did definitely deliver: original nano-bio-tech, implants, and overall a huge focus on information treatment and transmission. It is so effective because it truly looks like something our world could be some decades from now, and it explores its implications, good and bad. I loved the concept of the Cloud Vault; it was one of the main reasons I chose this book. A safe haven for knowledge, mysterious, neutral, the puppet master. A good chunk of the book took place in its underworks. The environment was very well done: pitch dark pipes, metallic corridors inhabited by rogue bio-engineered creatures, dirty, claustrophobic. It transmitted very well the anxiety and urgency to the reader.

However, something that itched me about the worldbuilding was the genta-altus-caricae system.

Anyway, that wasn't all that intrinsic to the plot, but it ruined the romance for me. Because, as it seems, these people get "mated". And I hate that trope. Our leading couple are genta women, so they don't feel the magnetic pull that altus and caricae do, but still get a mating bond of sorts. The book tries to explain this bond is controlled, a conscious choice and what not, but these two are way too much on the "you are mine/I'm yours", "I live to serve you", "obeying her was her nature", dynamics. And, although they have known each other for at least two decades, most of their attraction to each other is based on how beautiful they think the other is.

Aside from the romance, however, the characters were very well fleshed out, and I enjoyed reading them. Lyre and Sabine had strong and distinct personalities, and they led their respective story lines greatly, but the ones I enjoyed the most, as always, were the secondary. Lady Alais and Prime Minister Cian were my absolute favourite. They were the frivolous and cyborg stereotypes turned around with a focus I hadn't seen before and they were really compelling. And I loved the dynamics between Their differences made for a more nuanced story.

In general, all characters were nuanced, distinct and compelling, and thus drove the plot fantastically. The first part relayed heavily on a trope that I hate too: the "not telling the truth for whatever reason when it's plain obvious that telling the truth is the smartest and simplest option". However, it was totally in character and made for a niche character arc for the two leads. The rest, besides the parts when it halted for yet another description of how breathtaking Sabine looks like, was fast, tense, with its comic relief moments, and layered. I appreciated a lot how

Thanks for reading!

Profile Image for C..
62 reviews43 followers
October 2, 2018
🔆A floating city
🎭INTRIGUE (but handled so that I, a person who can't understand the politics of my small town, could follow it just fine)
💣Murder - to be specific, crrrreepy murder!
💞Two talented, complex, intelligent, dangerous women (a spymaster & her empress) who are desperately in love but can't be together because of their positions and histories...BUT WHAT IF THEY COULD
🌱🐺Goji, the best, weirdest pet ever

I always want more science fiction f/f romance, or sf with f/f romance in it, and so I've been looking forward to reading A Treason of Truths ever since I got wind of it. You won't find a generic spaceships-and-lasers setting here, though. If anything, it reminds me of certain moments in Star Wars or Dune--when advanced technology and medieval roles (and, OK, pretty clothing) intersect, giving the reader both the brain-buzz of sf and the elaborate beauty of fantasy.

But the sf here is deliciously weird and original. Nanotech and hacking, yes, but also profoundly bizarre plant-based science, resulting in settings and creatures that at first seem frightening, then intriguing and complex...but then alarming again. It's fun to read about, and the scenes are vivid.

As for the romance: Look, I'm a sucker for all forms of requited pining tropes. This book has that in spades, and I loooove it. Both women know the other has a space in their heart that can never be filled by anyone else, but it takes them a long time to realize just to what extent this is true. And then there's the question of whether, and how, to turn "we can't" into "we can and will."

You'll be rooting for them; you may occasionally want to smack them and then lock them into a hotel room together, but you won't spend much time banging your head into a wall because they're being unrealistically stupid or uncommunicative about things. Even when I wanted to shake Lyre or Sabine, I still understood their motivations and why they'd made their choices.

So, more specifically, the heat level: This book really is f/f Die Hard on a flying city, except worse, because SEWERS and CREEPY PLANTS and look, if Lyre or Sabine wanted to get busy with me in a sewer, I - I think I'd have to say no. (I'd regret it forever, but I'd have to say no.) Mysterious growths + sexytimes = NOPE. The heat level is maintained through some well-chosen flashbacks and unrelenting sexual tension. It all pays off in the end, though. It's a little bit kinky (particularly in a psychosymbolic way) and will stay with you. I'd say more but I don't want to spoil anything.

In general, this is a character-heavy book. The plot is more substantial than in many romance novels, and there are fewer on-page sex scenes, but since I'm all about character, I was into it. The main characters are complex and feel real. The supporting characters are also layered. I really admired Harper's ability to write characters that are unlikeable but that the reader gradually grows to understand (and, OK, maybe like).

Recommended for everyone who loves women being amazing together.

A Treason of Truth's is Ada Harper's second romance set in the same world. The first, A Conspiracy of Whispers, is also engrossing, and has the two main characters of this one in supporting roles. Each book is a standalone novel, so you don't need to worry about reading them out of order. (That said, I enjoyed Whispers too, and I don't read much m/f romance.)
Profile Image for Allyce.
80 reviews8 followers
September 18, 2018
This review first appeared on the blog Ally's Appraisals: https://wp.me/p37L0Q-12M

Review Tagline: An action packed and emotional ride that explores truth and deception.

My Thoughts: A Treason of Truths is an action packed, science fiction, f/f romance story which revolves around the relationship and actions of Empress Sabine and her spymaster Lyre. Summarised by the author as a ‘Queer Girl Die Hard on a floating city,’ the book more than lives up to this description.

I really enjoyed the relationship between Sabine and Lyre – at the heart of the novel is the couples love for each other. Not only does the novel feature explosions, nanobots, and a floating city in the sky, but the main romantic tension revolves around the couple as they come to terms with the truth and deception of their relationship.

The beginning of the story is one that kind of throws you in the deep end. I found for the first few chapters that I was having a tough time differentiating between the characters and the established relationships. It wasn’t until I read the acknowledgments at the end of the novel that I realised the book was a sequel. Which suddenly made the large character presence of Olivia and Galen make so much more sense. Do not get me wrong, A Treason of Truths can most definitely be read as a stand alone. I read it without knowledge of the first book and loved it!

Outside of these first few chapter, the rest of the novel is an excellently paced sci-fi adventure that sees the pair overcome an incredible amount of hurdles. Once you leave for the Vault, I found I couldn’t put the book down.

A Treason of Truths finds a nice pace of action and emotion. Not only does the book feature espionage, royal intrigue, and international politics, but it features a range of multifaceted characters. Mix all this with an intense and emotional romance between Sabine and Lyre, and you have an amazing and entertaining read.

Best Bits:

*Lyre – I absolutely loved the word play of Lyre’s name. Being a spymaster, her name is a not at all subtle play on Liar. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed it when members of the Senate referred to her as ‘The Liar.’

*That cover! I love the two woman on the cover and the extra detail of the eye scar on Sabine is great. I really like it when you read a book and can see little details displayed on the cover like that ❤

*The world building – Harper has created an expansive and immersive world in A Treason of Truths. I absolutely loved the way in which the three different societies came together and were featured within the Vault. Harper doesn’t force the information, rather it is revealed to us in an incredibly natural way.

Recommendations: I would really recommend this book for anyone who was after an engaging and action packed lesbian romance.

You don’t have to be a huge fan of sci-fi to appreciate and immerse yourself in Harper’s world building. However, if you are a fan of sci-fi, then prepare to enjoy this action packed and emotion filled story!

Please note: I received a copy of A Treason of Truth from NetGalley.
1,036 reviews27 followers
September 24, 2018
When I saw the cover for a Treason of Truths, I knew I had to read it. Let’s see… a FF story from a major publisher starring women of color that looked like it had a scifi bent? Sign me up! So I scrambled off to NetGalley, and requested one quicksmart.

A Treason of Truths could be a stand-alone story, and I read it as such. It does take place sequentially after A Conspiracy of Whispers. I haven’t read that book yet, but now I want to go back. What I find so especially striking about this set of books is that the first one is about a MF pair, somewhat the norm for Harlequin/Carina, and this follow up is about an FF pair. As a reader and writer, I don’t care who is in the story. I just want to follow characters I like. Unfortunately for me, publishers don’t always work that way, and readers seem to be fickle. I was SO relieved that this was different. Carina, keep doing this. You’re doing wonderful things if you can stick to it.

Okay, but you might be wondering about the story. This is full of political intrigue, espionage, a floating city, a race through the sewers, torture (not graphic for those easily bothered), and love winning over all. There are two rival nations at the start of things, and a supposedly neutral third party invites them for peace talks. Spymaster Lyre has good reason to believe this is a trap of some kind. She grew up there and knows the machinations. Her queen agrees to go anyway, and while there one of the royals is murdered and all the delegates are infected with nanotech that will kill them at any moment.

During a dangerous journey through the sewers, truths are told and bonds are tested. The queen is able to get off the floating city, but not without sacrificing the spymaster and the prime minister of the opposing country. The action here is tight and exciting. It reminds me in a way of Super Mario brothers off to save the princess, but that’s just because I am silly. The tone of the writing isn’t silly at all.

As for the characters, Lyre and Sabine are great contrasts to each other. Sabine is poised and a very dangerous leader who is not easily fooled. While reading, I immediately liked Sabine, and it would be great to find more characters like her. Lyre on the other hand has a brilliant mind for spycraft and manipulating people and situations. She was well-trained, and we get to see her in action. She makes sacrifices. She’s not infallible so as to be unbelievable, but she’s very good at her vocation.

On the whole, I really enjoyed this book. It exceeded expectations I had from being entranced by a pretty cover. I want more stories like this both in genre and coupling. I want more from Ada Harper. I’d say this is a scifi romance I didn’t know I needed since the scifi is so good.

This would be a good book for you if you like a rollicking adventure, strong women (and by that, I mean real and complex), and some really great political maneuverings to make just the right things happen.

Thank you NetGalley, Carina Press and Ada Harper for an opportunity to read an ARC of this book.
Profile Image for Frank Van Meer.
211 reviews8 followers
August 11, 2020
The story begins a year after the failed insurrection in A Conspiracy of Whispers. Empress Sabine receives an invitation to a peace summit on the secretive Cloud Vault, who will provide a neutral environment where The Empire and The Syndicate can safely negotiate a truce. Sabine accepts, to the horror of her spymaster, Lyre. Lyre has a truckload of reasons why Sabine shouldn't go, one of which could reveal Lyre's past and the grave consequences that could have for Sabine's rule.

Let me say, I loved this book. It's one of those rare books where I can say at the end: "hey, that was great fun, let's do that again." Mrs. Harper knows how to write some truly amazing female characters. Sabine, who is able to utterly eviscerate someone with only words; Lyre, whose only goal is to keep Sabine safe from the dangers The Cloud Vault has in abundance, and Lady Alais, who has got to be one of my favorite characters of all time. No matter what situation she's in, Alais will find the humor in it. Just read the start of chapter 17 :)

Soon after they arrive on the Cloud Vault, the summit turns into a murder scene, and the Imperial, as well as The Syndicate delegations find themselves in mortal peril. Lyre is forced to take them into the dangerous underbelly of The Cloud Vault in an attempt to escape the machinations of a madman. It doesn't help that the Underbelly is a horror of sewers and nano-technology run rampart.

Of course, The Empress notices that Lyre's knowledge of the sewers is greater than one would expect, and Lyre is forced to admit her real identity. How will this betrayal affect the two women who share a bond, although both have been trying to deny that for over a decade?

As I said, I loved this book from start to end, but it did not receive the same editing care it should have had. There aren't really any typo's, except for the one case where disassembling is written when it should have been dissembling. I feel like there are places where some words are missing, but it is nothing major. There are also a few inconsistancies, most notably the fact that at one point it is stated that all firearms have been confiscated, only to have a Syndicate guard pull his gun a few paragraphs later.
The one big error I found is at the end of chapter 12, where Prime Minster Cian suddenly becomes Dr. Sylvere. How has this not been caught, and is still there 2 years after publication? I can't be the only one to find this, as it was such a wtf moment, where I had to backtrack just to be sure. Strange.

In any case, while I will highly recommend this book, I suggest you start with A Conspiracy of Whispers. Not only is that also a great story, it will also provide you with some background info.
I really hope the series will continue, and with Lady Alias as the main character, because I really think she deserves her own story.

Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Lenni A..
Author 10 books6 followers
June 15, 2019
Empress Sabine is invited on a diplomatic mission with some other leaders to a place called The Vault; a technological marvel self sustained by nanotechnology and an archive of an unfathomable amount of human knowledge. But what seems to be an olive branch quickly becomes a deathtrap and Sabine's former bodyguard, Lyre, must face the secrets she's been keeping not only from her queen but the woman she loves.

Although I didn't read the first book, A Conspiracy of Whispers, this story stands well on it's own. The world building gives the story weight and doesn't get bogged down in the previous book's events while still making them understood in relevance to what happens in this book. The action is well paced and tense, making this a fun page turner. 

This also doesn't disappoint in the romance department. Even without too many explicit love scenes, Sabine and Lyre's relationship is touching and sweet and it's great to see a lesbian relationship with women of color. As a romance and a science fiction novel, it succeeds on nearly every level except for a lack of development with the main villain and the societal mess behind his motivations, which I won't spoil. I felt he needed more time to get to know all the details. 4.5 out of 5.
Profile Image for Eboni.
68 reviews5 followers
September 5, 2018
I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This is my first time utilizing this service, so be patient. I apparently jumped into book two without reading book one and I think that was a mistake for me. I very much enjoyed this book. It was a good mix of action, intrigue, and angst. Although I felt sometime the angst was a little over the top; it might be just my preferences. There was a lot of world building in this book which, considering it's the second book, I am surprised of. What pleased me most if that it didn't come off as an info dump. The main characters are likeable, and the side characters stand well enough on their own. It makes you kind of long for side novels based on them and I guess that is a good thing. I will probably come back to this because I need to read the first one and then by law, I have to read the second one. Overall; great read.
Profile Image for Azhureheart.
330 reviews24 followers
September 9, 2018
Two kick-ass women, locked up in a flying city, struggling with their relationship while they’re trying to stay alive and escape. What’s not to love ?

I really liked Sabine she is a very interesting character who has support and friends but is still very much alone in her power and responsibilities. I would have liked to see more about Lyre past before she met Sabine, especially since

The Cloud Vault is a very original setting and with all its layers, it could be a place for many stories. It was one of my favorite things about this book.

I love the scene at the gala. I had fortuitously Speechless (Dan+Shay) in my ear at that time and it was just glorious, Lyre finally walking out of the shadows for Sabine. It was very satisfying.

I didn’t know it was part of a series and I hadn’t read the first book. It was a bit confusing at first but I grasp things quickly enough. I’ll definitively read the first book – Olivia is a very compelling character – and I hope there will be a third one, especially if Cian is one of the main character.

I got this book for free from Netgalley.
Profile Image for Peyton.
1,469 reviews16 followers
August 31, 2019
Lyre had toppled dictators. Planned battles. Tracked wayward royals across the deep forest. Made mad runs across no man’s lands while waiting to feel the kiss of death on the back of her neck. She’d been trained to understand and account for the unreliable machinations of scheming minds.

She’d never quite learned to account for Sabine.


If someone tailor-made a book for me, I think this would be it. A fierce empress who only goes soft for her loyal spymaster but still doms the hell out of her? A tricky genius spy with a secret that could ruin her and a plan that could save them all? A cool setting with tropes galore? A sentient wolf made out of plants? PINING? I mean... come on. And it's F/F!

I inhaled the book. I can already tell I'm going to reread it often. Ada Harper is now on my autobuy list. I was in heaven reading about Sabine and Lyre and cannot wait to read more!
Profile Image for Helen Kord.
322 reviews35 followers
May 8, 2019
An absolutely magnificent sci-fi romance between an empress and her spymaster who grew up together. I loved the world building and the characters and the relationship between the heroines. You could tell they care about each other deeply, despite their differences and arguments. I loved that they were both very flawed people and had to actually properly communicate what they want and need from the other after years of ignoring their feelings.
I have to admit that for a large portion of the book, their arguments just kept circling each other and at a certain point it became extremely annoying, but ultimately it didn't hinder my enjoyment. I'm definitely looking forward to whatever this author writes next
Profile Image for Freya Marske.
Author 13 books1,480 followers
October 14, 2018
Like the first book, this feels more like a sci-fi adventure story/spy thriller with a strong romance subplot than an actual romance novel, but LUCKILY, that's exactly what I was hoping for.

Harper is a fantastic plotter, the worldbuilding in this is great (I LOVED the setting of a space research facility full of creepy nanotech and semi-sentient plant matter and insect robots) and she brought back one of my favourite secondary characters from Conspiracy of Whispers to round out the core cast. The fealty romance between Sabine and Lyre was like a beautiful cherry thrown on top.

Could have done with another editing pass on the prose level, I think, but otherwise a very enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Harmony Williams.
Author 20 books149 followers
October 29, 2021
I enjoyed this book and read it relatively quickly, but the world building here felt like two worlds mashed together. The futuristic and the medieval fantasy. The futuristic—biotechnology, the fall of a more technically advanced civilization, a floating city built atop the wreckage—was fascinating. The medieval fantasy—wolves bonded to nobles, the mate bond, basically everything that was court life—felt jarring to me. Maybe that was why I never connected with the characters/felt their urgency to be together as much as I wanted to? The action of the plot was what kept me turning the pages. That, and the fact that most of the book was set in the floating city.
131 reviews
August 10, 2019
3.5 stars This book was an interesting mix of dystopian and sci-fi concepts and ideas. So many fantastical parts almost gave it a fantasy vibe. I loved that it had two women in love. I love any dystopian story and this one doesn't disappoint.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Gail.
795 reviews24 followers
September 24, 2018
An ARC rec'd from Carina Press for review.
An action packed sci-fi romance with intrigue, angst an adventure. Leads Sabine and Lyre easily carry the storyline which rates 4 stars.
Profile Image for Lee.
Author 1 book4 followers
November 20, 2018
Fantastic leads and secondary characters. The story moves along well, and everything clicks together.
The romance feels quite real- tender and hot at the same time. The setting is lots of fun, too.
Profile Image for Leigh Kramer.
Author 1 book1,159 followers
February 21, 2021
I have good news and bad news for you. The bad news is you absolutely have to read A Conspiracy Of Whispers before you even think about reading A Treason Of Truths. The good news is the Whispers duology is an incredibly refreshing and well-executed sci-fi series and you will not regret reading it. The premise for Conspiracy reeled me in and I’m not someone who reads much sci-fi to begin with.

But if I can find more sci-fi along these lines, consider me a convert!

I’m keeping this as spoiler-free as possible because Treason’s plot is an utter gift. One twist and turn after another, one revelation after another, and always, always inventive.

Treason picks up where Conspiracy left off. These are challenging times for Sabine, who must deal with the traitors in her midst while also trying to hold the Syndicate responsible for their overthrow attempt. She’s always relied on her spymaster Lyre but when the Cloud Vault offers to broker peace between the Empire and the Syndicate, Lyre wants no part of it.

This plunges Sabine and Lyre into new territory for their relationship, with so many things left unsaid. The Empress is now without her spymaster and friend and each feel as though they’re missing a limb, no matter how angry they are at the situation.

Of course, Lyre has a plan up her sleeve. I loved seeing her in action! I cannot imagine being an actual spy and the way her mind worked was fascinating but also heartbreaking. How difficult to have to lie to everyone, especially the person you love most. Her reflections about this were quite moving.

Sabine’s utter control as a ruler and the way she navigated ever-changing loyalties and charted a course for her Empire was downright inspiring. I also loved the way she couldn’t let her feelings show but Lyre could still read her.

Watching Sabine and Lyre figure out how to get out of tough fixes kept me turning pages. They were so good at their jobs and I never knew what wrench was going to be thrown at them next. In the middle of them fleeing for their lives, they were also navigating their feelings for one another and finally being honest about it. There was so much angst but there was also a good amount of humor. Lyre, in particular, is hilarious. Their growth as characters, figuring out how to be honest or let go of control, was handled really well. They complimented one another perfectly and it was so satisfying when they finally acted on their love. 

Harper’s world-building is complex, there to serve the plot and not the other way around. When I stopped to really take in the details, for instance the various tech creatures on the Cloud Vault, I’d have to ask myself how on earth she ever came up with it. And then, much of the time, I’d wonder what it would be like if I lived in that world and had access to such things.

Olivia and Galen make an appearance and it was nice to get a glimpse of their relationship again. Alais is also along for the ride and I’m crossing my fingers she gets her own book next.

Everything unfolded the way it should and I could not get enough of it. I’m looking forward to whatever Ada Harper does next!

Disclosure: I received an advanced copy from Carina Press in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Felicia Davin.
Author 15 books141 followers
March 30, 2019
I loved this sci-fi adventure with a love story between two tough, complicated women. The setting really steals the show here--a floating city full of nanobots and technologically altered plants and animals that all serve a purpose in the engine-based ecosystem. Once they got out of the peace talks and into the sewers, the pace was relentless and I didn't want to put it down.

I love that both Lyre and Sabine are calculating and dedicated to their jobs, but in such different ways. Sabine works in the light and Lyre works in the shadows. They respect and admire each other's capabilities, which always gets me. A delightful read.
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