Tense, action-packed addition to the Ravenspire series
THE TRAITOR PRINCE is the latest installment in C.J. Redwine’s series of companion novels set in the Ravenspire world, each transforming a classic tale into something new and magical. This time, The False Prince and The Prince and the Pauper tales are combined to inspire the story of Javan, crown prince of Akram. After ten years devoting himself to his studies at a faraway boarding school, he is ready to return home and make his father proud. Before he can do so, an imposter takes his place, which leaves Javan, the true prince, abandoned in Maqbara, a dangerous prison where inmates must fight killer beasts, and each other, in an area. Sajda, enslaved by Maqbara’s warden, might be the only one who can help him…but she’s fighting battles of her own.
With each addition to the Ravenspire world, I am newly stunned by the fresh takes Redwine spins on familiar tales. The story is a breathtaking combination of action, romance, and so much tension that I felt the urge to meditate several times, just to keep my heart rate regular. Though we see little of Akram’s kingdom, as Javan is locked in prison for much of the novel, Redwine never fails to craft a detailed and immerse setting, weaving in broader details of magical creatures and laws, as well as key minor details like the atmosphere of the prison. Readers will find no challenge playing out each scene in their head.
While I thoroughly enjoyed all the main character in this series, Javan and Sajda might be my favorite yet. Their romance, as is often with Redwine’s novels, is a perfect slow burn. Javan and Sajda are both grieving, hurt, and lost in different ways, but they slowly find a source of comfort and understanding in each other. Javan is a heartwarming mixture of kind, soft, and honorable, even as his circumstances worsen and worsen. Sajda is fierce, lonely, elegant, and unbelievably powerful. Together, they make a surprising but stunning team. I particularly appreciate how realistic their romance is, all the way through the end of the story. They never lose their individual identities and complexities, even as they grow closer.
Likewise, the villains are some of the darkest yet. Rahim, the imposter prince, is absolutely chilling, and he has what makes a villain so scary: an understandable motive. The Ravenspire novels are truly an embodiment of the idea that your choices are what define you rather than your circumstances. Though the warden’s origins aren’t as fully explored, as Rahim is the primary antagonist, she is just as compelling and frightening, both abusers of power and authority.
THE TRAITOR PRINCE showcases Redwine’s beloved staples, immense talent, in-depth characterization, and clever world-building. Fans of the Ravenspire books will not be disappointed, and new readers will have no trouble sinking into this fantasy world even without reading the previous companions. I impatiently await the next magical journey.