Liriel27's Reviews > The Traitor's Daughter

The Traitor's Daughter by Paula Brandon
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's review
Dec 28, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: dystopias, fantasy, supernatural-mysteries
Read in December, 2011

** spoiler alert ** It's not that the book was badly written, exactly, but having just finished it, I'm left with a number of issues.

1. As others have noted, the blurb is misleading. If you are looking for raging zombie action OR romantic fantasy, this is really not the book for that. Perhaps both will show up in later books. The most you get are tiny little hints of things (which works quite well for building subtle menace about the zombies, but not so well with the romance). If you actually read the cover blurbs, however, they are accurate - this novel is way more about the complex people, relationships, and politics in this world than anything else.

2. Jianna is not the most engaging of protagonists. I mean, I don't want her to be lit on fire and dropped in a ravine somewhere, but if it weren't for how intentionally cruel her treatment is once she is kidnapped, I don't think I'd care about her at all (and I'm pretty sure the romantic lead wouldn't, either). When your only recommendation is that you are nicer than the people threatening you with violence and gang rape, well, that isn't very much. She's meant to be all spunky and independent and still touchingly human, but it doesn't work for me - she comes off inconsistent, less clever than she is supposed to be, and a bit thoughtless (like, maybe she could escape her unwanted marriage by, say, telling the magistrate who was there to perform it that she didn't want it and having him help her escape. It would be easier than her subcellar plan.)

3. Falaste Rione (aforementioned romantic lead) seems to be a decent guy...but that's about all we know about him. And, quite frankly, the fact that he is dithering about loyalty to his patroness when the heroine is being threatened with being passed around like the neighborhood bike makes him seem at best, willfully self-deluding, and at worst, monumentally stupid. You expect me to believe that someone of his intellect and experience of the world wouldn't know Yvenza's true character, after having grown up with her? I get that he's the favorite and all, but really. Is he that self-absorbed? Jianna at least has the excuse of being 18 and massively, actively sheltered from the realities of life (though times of crisis are no occasion to be coy. I have a feeling if she had told him exactly what she was threatened with, and how often, this would have all gone a lot smoother).

4. This book is pretty much unremittingly dark, which is fine for some people, but makes me feel like I have to grind through it. There are some moments of humor (unlike some reviewers here, I didn't see the automaton as one of those. It came off really menacing, and I kept expecting it to go into existential robot rage), but at least twice, Jianna's idea of wit is to say...exactly what she just thought in narration. Which gets old after, oh, the first time.

5. I wish the book hadn't felt the need to beat us over the head with the dysfunctional family theme at the expense of the actiony plot bits. The book's most common setting is the inside of someone's skull, which does get old, after a while.

6. Seriously, we're buying back Orantino's death? I mean, I get that there's a trilogy to write and all, but given how severely he was beaten, he's not realistically going to be whole, or mobile, or, y'know, conscious for the rest of his life. Cheap shot. I predict by next book he'll be shambling about, leering threateningly, just when Jianna thinks she's safe...

(and obviously, the little band of rebels will be arrested at some point, and because she's under an assumed name, no one will believe her when she's in jail, and her father will once again just barely fail to save her [probably by looking at the list of names and not seeing hers on it], but then the rebels will bust them out, and she will have a heavy reckoning to face, but people [Falaste, possibly his sister, who will see that they are in LOVE] will defend her because she helps the doctor, and the zombies are too much of a threat for us to let old grudges get in the way anyhow, and so on...)

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12/24/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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holly quigley Thanks. This pretty much confirms that I'm better off not finishing it. 150+ pages in and it's a struggle. I'm sure fans of more traditional fantasy might like it better?

Liriel27 I really don't know if that's true. The world-building is...ok, I guess, but this is not Tolkien or anything. It feels sort of like the book you would get if you described a bunch of genres and attendant cliches to a fairly competent writer via one of those sleep tapes, and then sat her down in front of a keyboard and told her to write what she remembered. Almost like...a blurry photocopy of everything, with definition in none.

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