The Traitor Prince
C.J. Redwine is a New York Times bestselling author of speculative fiction, a diehard lover of going to the movies, and a believer in fairytales. She keeps a six-foot tall Loki figure in her office and will argue the merits of Batman vs. Superman with anyone she meets. She once accidentally punched herself in the face on a ride at Disneyland. She doesn’t recommend it.
*From the publisher’s website.
A dark epic fantasy inspired by The Prince and the Pauper and the fairy tale The False Prince, from bestselling author C. J. Redwine. Perfect for fans of the Court of Thorns and Roses series and the Wrath and the Dawn duology, The Traitor Prince is a thrilling new standalone novel in the Ravenspire series.
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 impostor takes his place—and no one believes Javan is the true prince.
After barely escaping the impostor’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 by a band of prisoners allied against him, and even by 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 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.
*From the publisher’s website.
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
What’s not to love about a book with a kind-hearted prince and a dark she-elf warrior? Both Prince Javan and Sajda end up at the heart of darkness in Javan’s kingdom of Akram. This story was a little bit fairytale and a little big Gladiator. Though I’m not exactly sure how Russel Crowe would’ve handled the epic fae monsters released into the arena. But dear prince Javan handled them quite well actually.
Before I go too far down that rabbit trail and absolutely spoil the book for you, let me tell you about Javan and Sajda without giving you the whole story. (For real, that’s hard for me though because I am a verbal processor, so I want to tell you everything all while I work out the story in my heart.)
So, Sajda, despite being enslaved with iron shackles that keep her dark elf powers (mostly) in check, has a take charge attitude. She’s bold. She’s tough. She’s cold, calm, and collected. And she’s had to be all of those things until now.
Enter Javan. Perfectionist, always-hoping-to-please-his-father, Javan. But don’t let my description of the people pleasing, tenderhearted prince fool you—he is a skilled warrior in his own right. He just doesn’t have any cool magic to tap into. He does have a pet tiger, though, and I actually wish we’d seen a little bit more of Malik. I was totally ready for him to tear into the imposter prince and go searching for his true master. Alas, he is at least suspicious it seems.
Either way, Javan is honorable and an all-around likable guy even if he is too much about the plan and needs to learn to let go a little. His story broke my heart, and he’s probably the most clear tie to faith-based themes in any of these books. So, we see him wrestle with questions many of us might wrestle with. Like “Where is God (Yl’ Halik) when life is tough?” or “Why does God allow evil?” or “Why doesn’t God deliver us from difficult and/or dangerous situations?” I love walking alongside Javan as he seeks the answers to these questions and grows his faith as he does.
Though Javan is more in tune with his heart and feelings, it helps him bring the cool—and seemingly cold-hearted—Sajda out of her shell. He helps her see that power in itself isn’t bad; it’s how we use that power, the heart of the power-wielder, that matters. She goes from all control to learning how to feel deeply and be vulnerable. Instead of seeing herself as a monster, she learns that maybe we all have the potential to become monsters. It’s a choice between love and hate, good and evil.
Both the prince and the dark elf want to see the kingdom thrive—down to the poorest of the poor. As they pursue freedom, we see both of them put themselves at risk for the sake of others. And the love that grows as they do will have you using every heart emoji at your disposal.
Reasons to Love It
📚 The Prince and the Pauper retelling
📚 YA fiction
📚 clean romance
📚 prince and commoner
📚 quotes for days
📚 Gladiator vibes
We should never apologize for speaking the truth, no matter how uncomfortable it might be to hear.The Headmaster, p. 14
She felt free, but freedom wasn’t what she’d thought it would be. It was a fire blazing in the heart of a rainstorm. It was the star-swept sky trapped inside her . . . and she could barely contain the power of it.Sajda, p. 265
She was fury and fear and magic . . . . Every breath was tinged with desperation. Every step she tool unraveled her a little faster.Sajda, p. 300
His heart ached with every beat, an unfamiliar, delicate pain that felt like walking into a strange house and realizing he was home.Javan, p. 332
She was a star. She was a galaxy. She was the power of the universe barely contained.Sajda, p. 378
No matter what you experience, God can use even the worst things to grow you into exactly who he wants you to be. He can free you and strengthen you to lead others to that same freedom.
I’d love to hear from you! What C.J. Redwine book is your favorite? What were your thoughts on this one? What other fantasy books have you read and enjoyed? Or what are you reading right now that you really love? Drop a comment below!