After reading The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen I was looking forward to the next book in the series called The Traitor Queen. Aren has been taken captive after Lara’s father conquered Ithicana using plans by Lara that she decided against sending to him, thus making her a traitor and banished from Ithicana. I was curious to see how this was going to play out especially between Lara and Aren, as the last time they saw each other Aren kicked her out of his kingdom and stated that he would kill her if he ever saw her face again. How they are going to reconcile was something I wanted to know, as I couldn’t see a happily ever after happening for them after those events.
A queen now in exile as a traitor, Lara has watched Ithicana be conquered by her own father, helpless to do anything to stop the destruction. But when she learns her husband, Aren, has been captured in battle, Lara knows there is only one reason her father is keeping him alive: as bait for his traitorous daughter. And it is bait she fully intends to take. Risking her life to the Tempest Seas, Lara returns to Ithicana with a plan not only to free its king, but for liberating the Bridge Kingdom from her father’s clutches using his own weapons: the sisters whose lives she spared. But not only is the palace inescapable, there are more players in the game than Lara ever realized, enemies and allies switching sides in the fight for crowns, kingdoms, and bridges. But her greatest adversary of all might be the very man she’s trying to free – the husband she betrayed. With everything she loves in jeopardy, Lara must decide who – and what – she is fighting for: her kingdom, her husband, or herself.
- Published: September 1, 2020
- Page Count: 353 pages
- Genre: Fantasy
Thoughts on The Traitor Queen (Spoilers)
The story starts off around the same time the previous book finished. Aren has been captured by Lara’s father and she’s gone to Ithicana to try to help them free him as well as their kingdom. Only Aren’s twin sister has thrown her in jail. Eventually, they agree to let her attempt to rescue Aren since their attempts thus far have only resulted in the death of their people. And Aren’s sanity as while he withholds telling them how to reach the stronghold where all Ithicana’s civilians are, he is losing the will to live as he continues to watch his people be tortured and killed. Oftentimes Serin makes Aren believe the individual is Lara.
Lara ends up finding her remaining sisters that have been in hiding. Of course, her sisters are pissed at her for not telling her about the fake murder plot to save their lives. But also, Lara left them in the desert surrounded by bodies and fire. They later found her note, but it wasn’t right away. Still, they forgive her and agree to help break Aren out of their father’s castle since they realize that Lara is in love with him. And to get back at their father. Granted, they don’t immediately kill him. Instead, the focus is on getting Aren and the general and heir apparent of a rival kingdom out. A general who is one of the main characters in the follow-up book with Keris, Lara’s full-blooded brother, who is going to be taking over as King with the death of Silas. I’m really curious about that book considering the two kingdoms hate each other, and Keris betrays Lara by revealing their plans to Silas.
Those plans involve taking over Southwatch and Northwatch at the same time to regain control of the bridge. With Aren’s group taking control of Midwatch with the help of the prisoners they break out. However, Aren was supposed to leave Lara behind before they ever got to Ithicana but he couldn’t let her go. After traveling with her through the red desert, he has forgiven Lara completely, since she had to save his life multiple times. Granted, she also needed his help too, but she understands that she can’t continue with him as Ithicana will never trust her again.
However, during those coordinated attacks, Silas withdrew his forces from the bridge to make a final attempt at destroying the people of Ithicana. Lara and Aren both head there from different locations, as Aren was forced to leave her behind after she’s injured and realizes that he’ll never be able to let her go. The two will always end up back in each other’s arms, no matter how hard Aren tries to put Ithicana first. So, while it tears him apart, he left her behind when he went to Midwatch. But they both head to the volcanic stronghold when they see the request for help. Lara fights from the sea to stop the invaders, and Aren defends the single harbor.
Eventually, Lara manages to duel her father and kills him, but the massive wound on her leg has broken open again so she’s going to bleed to death. It also doesn’t help after killing her father, she goes overboard into the shark-infested waters. Sharks that attack and kill everyone in the water but Lara. Apparently, they swim away from her regardless of the fact she’s bleeding and easy to kill. This is a detail that finally turns Ithicana to Lara’s side as that’s what they do to traitors. They put them in shark-infested water, chum the water, then let the sharks decide their fate. Since the sharks, do not attack her she’s cleared of any wrongdoing. And they get Aren to let her back in since she’s stuck on the other side of the gate that no longer works. She drowns in the process but eventually wakes up (not sure how that’s possible but whatever) to find that she’s in the bed she once shared with Aren and he tells her she can stay if she wants to.
Honestly, I was shocked to see how the two of them got passed the fact that Lara led to the downfall of Ithicana. As I didn’t think there was any way they could move forward together. Sure they both loved each other, but sometimes that’s not enough to get past the hurt. And Lara’s actions, granted she never wanted them to go forward, led to her father slaughtering Ithicana and taking over the bridge. But she also did everything in her power to make it right. She freed and defended Ithicana’s prisoners during their rescue, she risked snake island to get them to the prisoners, she risked shark-infested waters to kill her father so the soldiers would retreat, and she rescued Aren from an impossible situation with the help of her father’s harem and sisters (not in that order). Granted, Aren really didn’t need any of the first three to forgive her but those were needed for Ithicana to let go of her part in what occurred.
I loved the book. I’ll get to the third book at some point as I’m curious where that one is going to start. Is it when Keris first meets the general (Zarrah), or after the events of The Traitor Queen? As we know the two have a relationship of some kind by that point that they aren’t discussing with anyone for obvious reasons. But they aren’t so fully together that Keris is going to help Zarrah with everything. So, I’m guessing the two stories are going to overlap with that being somewhere in the middle. I could be wrong, but I’m curious to see how their story spaces. But as I said, I’m not sure it’s my immediate next book. I have a few other things I want to read as well.
Overall, I would give The Traitor Queen a 4.25 star rating out of 5.
Have you read the Bridge Kingdom series? If so, which book is your favorite or which couple is your favorite: Lara and Aren OR Keris and Zarrah?
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