Javan Najafai, crown prince of Akram, has spent the last ten years at an elite boarding school, far away from his kingdom. But his eagerly awaited return home is cut short when a mysterious imposter takes his place—and no one believes Javan is the true prince.
After barely escaping the imposter’s assassins, Javan is thrown into Maqbara, the kingdom’s most dangerous prison. The only way to gain an audience with the king — and reveal Javan’s identity — is to fight in Maqbara’s yearly tournament. But winning is much harder than acing competitions at school, and soon Javan finds himself beset not just by the terrifying creatures in the arena, but also a band of prisoners allied against him, and even the warden herself.
The only person who can help him is Sajda, who has been enslaved by Maqbara’s warden since she was a child, and whose guarded demeanor and powerful right hook keep the prisoners in check. Working with Sajda might be the only way Javan can escape alive — but she has dangerous secrets.
Together, Javan and Sajda have to outwit the vicious warden, outfight the deadly creatures, and outlast the murderous prisoners intent on killing Javan. If they fail, they’ll be trapped in Maqbara for good—and the secret Sajda’s been hiding will bury them both.
The category for my book club this month was to read a re-telling. I’ve had this book in my TBR pile for two years, so this was a perfect opportunity to bump it to the top.
This is the third book I’ve read in the Ravenspire series. Each has taken me on exciting adventures, introduced me to both loveable and loathsome characters, and occasionally ripped my heart out. Redwine is known for killing off some of her more popular characters. The Traitor Prince is based on an Arabian tale entitled The False Prince. I’m not familiar with that story, but this one grabbed me from the first page. I was so angry at the injustice of Javan’s and Sajda’s situations – his at being thrown into prison while someone else takes his place on the throne, and hers at being enslaved from a young age and discriminated against for a reason I won’t reveal (no spoilers). By the end of the book, I was so anxious for them to have their revenge and set things right. And speaking of the ending – it was perfect.
Although part of the same series, each of these books can be read as a standalone. I also have to comment on the stunning maps included in each novel – beautiful! The Traitor Prince is a story about fighting against inequity even when things look grim, endearing friendships, undying loyalty, and selfless sacrifice.