First of all, don’t let the fact that it appears that it took me almost three weeks to finish this book. I started it and then got interrupted for a couple of weeks of decorating.
Before writing this, I’ve just read my review for Rogue, the previous book in the Traitor Spy trilogy and noted that that was a hard book to review because it was the middle book. I’m having the same difficulty with this one, too. I think the reason is because whilst the writing was good, the story lacked a certain amount of impetus. Or perhaps that the two main ‘threats’ of the trilogy, that of the drug lord and the situation in Sachaka were resolved without a great deal of fanfare.
Even during this book, both major plot lines were steadily building towards something and in one case, a potentially explosive resolution but both were resolved within a few pages almost very neatly and without a lot of fuss. They were almost anti-climatic.
Right, that’s the negativity out of the way and the main reason why this didn’t get five stars and end up as one of my ‘favourites’.
On to the good stuff. Trudi Canavan writes characters that makes me care about them and want the good guys to prevail and feel their loss when the don’t. I think that because they’ve come from the first trilogy, Sonea and Regin are my favourite characters and whilst not really part of the main plots but still tied to both through connections, I looked forward to their parts the most. Given their history as novices, their situation did have me smiling.
Whilst Lilia was only introduced in Rogue, her story with Anyi, Cery and Gol was pleasing but also sad in places. In some ways she did remind me of Sonea from the Black Magician trilogy having to deal with the criminal underworld, her studies as a black magician and people making her life difficult in the guild.
Finally, there are the cast still in Sachaka and the conflict between the Traitors and ruling Ashaki with Lorkin, Dannyl and others caught in the middle of the two groups. Whilst the events from the second book were resolved and this turned into the other major plot line, this had more of a feeling of a holding pattern but there were a couple of events where I wished things turned out differently for both Lorkin and Dannyl in what they had to go through.
The Traitor Queen turned out to be a good ending to a good trilogy but lacking a certain amount of pacing to turn it into a true page turner. In comparing the trilogies, the Black Magician trilogy is the better of the two as this Traitor Spy trilogy just does quite reach the same heights set by its predecessor. But it’s still worth reading to see the more of the lives of Sonea and company.