The Traitor Queen by Trudi Canavan

Rating 7.0/10
A lacklustre conclusion to a relatively good series.

I’m always a little disappointed when I leave a book sitting on the shelf too long – long enough for the author to release another book. I feel even worse when the book on the shelf is the end of one series, and the beginning of a new series arrives on my doorstep before I find the time to get back to the one on the shelf. Such is the case with Trudi Canavan, whose book ‘The Traitor Queen’ arrived just as I found myself reading very little. However, with the arrival of Canavan’s latest series, I picked up the initiative and read the final book in the ‘Traitor Spy Trilogy’ – the seventh book in the same universe.

Trudi Canavan started out in the universe of Kyralia with ‘The Black Magician’ trilogy back in 2001, took a break to write another series entirely, and then stepped back into Kyralia in 2009 with ‘The Magician’s Apprentice’ before starting the Traitor Spy trilogy in 2010. The previous two books in this series have rated relatively well in my mind, and while no chart-topper, The Traitor Queen follows cleanly in their shoes.

This book concludes what has become a fan-favourite universe, and while I sit firmly amidst the crowd hoping for more stories told in Kyralia, for the moment, it seems we are done.

The Traitor Queen doesn’t have the firm storytelling of the other books, jumping around a lot and generally leaving me to wonder whether the trilogy may not have been more appealing as a duology. While a great storyteller, Trudi Canavan’s writing does not necessarily jump off the page – even dismissing the poor editing job this book received. Storylines that can be traced through six previous books are half-heartedly resolved, and the strong characters of previous books are sort of left to whimper their goodbyes.

Underlying my obvious frustration is the fact the book could have been much better. The story has hints of wonder and the characters, once formidable and fully formed, only now hint at their remarkable past. All in all, the promise that this book held was not fully realised – a problem with the execution, rather than the imagination. Give the author and editor another month to work on this book, and I imagine we would have had a much more polished and entertaining book that hammered home the wonderful fantasy storytelling which has come before.

While a lacklustre conclusion to a relatively good series, if you are a Trudi Canavan fan I can still recommend this book to you. Don’t rush out to your 24-hour bookstore to grab it though (instead, Tweet me where you live so I can live near a 24-hour bookstore).

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