The Black Crown Traitors – Book Review – The Geekiary
Black crown traitors, by Cate Pearce, is the story of a young woman in disguise, living as a man to protect herself from the wrath of the Queen, who ordered the slaughter of her entire family. However, her secret is threatened when she is banished from the kingdom and falls in love with the Duchess she is supposed to serve.
i wanted to love Black crown traitors so, so badly. It has such a great premise. A young woman hiding in plain sight like a knight, banished from the kingdom and sent to serve a remote region, where she ends up falling in love with the Duchess. There is so much potential in there, the desire for revenge of Raena (aka Rowan), a royal secret that was worth wiping out an entire family to keep, and something mysterious going on in them. backstage. Unfortunately, for such a promising book, it was incredibly boring.
Told through alternating points of view, Pearce tries to give a broad overview of what is going on in the realm. But while I allow points for focusing on the women in the story, it severely limits the narrative. Raena and Avenna (the Duchess) both have POV chapters but are together for much of the book, so I would have preferred to have been leading someone elsewhere in the kingdom.
Also, despite the alternating perspectives, I was still confused. The construction of the world is not so great. I had no sense of geography or even really culture, except that the kingdom is regressively patriarchal, and the Duchy of Avenne is more liberal and democratic. I love the scene where Avenna makes Raena understand that her opinions are largely influenced by the biased education she received, but it’s really not going anywhere.
I’m a firm believer in giving up something if you don’t like it, but when I pick up a book to review, I feel like I have to finish it so that I can fully assess it. It was difficult for me to finish this book because I was so indifferent at the end. The alluring revenge plot that is teased for the first few chapters is almost entirely dropped later, and the political plot is more “political” than “scheming.” Lots of pages devoted to board meetings, not so much time for character development.
I was disappointed with the romance in Black crown traitors. Despite the large number of pages Raena and Avenna appear on together, I didn’t think their relationship was so well developed. Raena has no sense of self-preservation (in that she would literally be killed if she revealed who she was), but I can forget that in a more compelling narrative with interesting romance, which I don’t consider not like this book. Raena and Avenna as characters are flat and boring, and I just didn’t care about the two of them together. Their interactions didn’t seem to justify the all-consuming love they claimed to feel for each other.
One thing I think I should mention is how pissed I am that Raena has been lying to Avenna for so long. Yes, if she reveals her identity it could mean her death, so I understand that she wants to keep it a secret at first. But once their relationship progresses and Raena still lies about being a woman, it starts to get uncomfortable. Avenna is bisexual and not gender concerned at all, and I liked the way she just experienced the reveal, but I can’t believe she wasn’t even angry at all. of being lied to for months.
Plus, Raena is a bit casually misogynist for a woman living like a man. It is disconcerting.
The other characters are not much better. Many of them are practically interchangeable and completely forgettable. There are a few deaths that I believe are meant to be emotional, but I can’t tell you why. Queen Zarana is a fairly complex antagonist with a health issue that comes and goes as the plot demands, and her son Zander is a cartoonish villain with no real motivation.
The rhythm is very irregular. Months can go by in a few paragraphs and yet there are pages devoted to something that could be summed up in a paragraph. The first chapters, description, and title made me feel like this would be an action-packed story, and it isn’t. The first half of the story is a lot of talking, a lot of travel, and a lot of poorly integrated information dumps. By the time the action started, I didn’t care anymore. Honestly, it felt like too bloated a setup for the second book rather than the first book in a series.
Black crown traitors is published by Hansen House and will be available on September 22, 2021, wherever the books are sold.
Author: Jamie sugah
Jamie holds a BA in English with a specialization in Creative Writing from Ohio State University. She has self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available on Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York with her ninja vampire demon cat. It covers television, books, movies, cartoons and conventions in the New York area.
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