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The Traitor's Kiss by Erin Beaty

The Traitor's Kiss

by Erin Beaty

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964127,077 (3.27)3
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Before I talk about the other contents of this book I’d like to make my short PSA first. Alright ladies, men, and other people let’s get this straight: if a woman wears makeup, high heels, low cut clothing, flowy fabrics better known as dresses or skirts, or anything that you personally deem uncomfortable or you don’t like this does not give you permission to judge her for it. Also, if you don’t want to get married and have babies that doesn’t mean you get to judge anyone else for it either. I was so close to quitting this book and just chucking it into the lake in front of me but I powered on. Characters are never perfect but when their flaws strike a nerve it takes so much out of me to just bear with them. Onto the book…

Sage Fowler has come of age to be matched to a good husband. Her uncle sends her off to be interviewed by the town matchmaker Darnessa and hopefully taken on to be considered for a sort of match-ball called the Concordium but Sage has other plans. She shows her true colors to the Matchmaker but the woman finds a way to use her anyway and offers her a matchmaker apprenticeship. Part of the job description is observation and keeping track of pertinent information that has to do with a possible match.
Captain Alexander Quinn hasn’t been commander for very long but he’s working hard to prove himself instead of riding on the tails of his father’s legacy. When a seemingly successful mission turns out to be a mistake, Quinn’s father sends him off on a low danger assignment that will hopefully teach him some new things but most importantly how to suppress his tendency to act rashly. When his father subtly suggests this assignment is actually a reconnaissance mission he and his lieutenants come up with a plan to recruit one of the ladies they will be escorting to the Concordium to spy on the men that these girls are going to be matched to.
Anything else I say will spoil the whole thing so there’s that. This was given a Jane Austen with a twist description and I literally have no idea how. Elizabeth Bennett did not give off a superiority vibe that Sage did. They both didn’t want to get married but had completely different motivations, Lizzie had expectations that had simply not been met by any man she had met thus far but Sage thinks she’s too special for marriage *gag*. There’s a vague connection to Emma in the sense that they want to find the best matches for the ladies but that’s a stretch. I would have thought the espionage would have been done by Sage but it’s actually Ash Carter (codename: mouse) that does the bulk of this work.

My biggest problem was the female on female hate. I’m so used to misogyny in books that it doesn’t faze me as long as there’s growth among the actual characters I’m following. But when there’s no real bonding among the women in a novel it makes me angry that there’s nothing counteracting that misogyny.
Sage grew up in the wild because her parents had the audacity to self-match which made her mother give up her dowry. Her father let her climb trees and wear pants while he made business deals and traded the birds he hunted. When he died she was sent to live with her uncle and I guess that family tried to educate her on how to be a lady. At first, I was equally outraged that her uncle wanted to marry her off when she didn’t even want to until I read about Darnessa’s methods to matchmaking and learning how much she really cares about the girls she matches. Then it turns out that Sage’s uncle wasn’t even that much of a chauvinist, just a guy who wanted to make sure his niece was well off. So it just makes Sage look pretty bad. Her worst offense though has to do with the comment I made in the beginning. I understand that she doesn’t like wearing dresses or heels because she’s used to wearing pants but guess what people? Some of us actually like wearing dresses because some pants are uncomfortable and short people like me like heels to feel tall for once. Then she complains about makeup like it’s the worst thing in the world which I sympathized with because it’s how I felt about it at first but when she starts judging the other girls for it I stopped caring about her. She pretends to be so superior just because she is slightly more educated than all the other girls but doesn’t even try to befriend any of them until Claire calls her out on it. Sure Jacqueline was a jerk but kill em with kindness ya know? Don’t just scurry off to the library and keep giving them reasons to think you think you’re better than them.

Because of this flaw that I kept reading about over and over I kind of spaced out (okay skimmed) the first ten chapters which I had to go back and reread when chapter 30 came along and confused me... Though I have been made aware that the thing that confused me was supposed to be the big plot twist. I just thought I missed that part in the beginning because I skimmed a lot of the first part where Sage started to become acquainted with the soldiers...anyway, Sage wasn’t the only one that made those stupid remarks. I don’t want to spoil who (because he was also a part of the skimmable parts) but when he also made an offhanded comment about how he “wondered how those girls could wear such uncomfortable things,” which I’m totally paraphrasing because I don’t want to go fish for it, I thought they would make a perfect match…which they do, but that’s beside the point.

I’ll admit that I did find this book entertaining. The plot kept me engaged with the political uprise in the background and the military escort’s strategies being shared. I wish there was more of Darnessa because I feel like she’s the underrated one in this story but then it wouldn’t be a YA. I just hope that Sage learns that it’s okay to want to be a lady and that just because she doesn’t want to be matched it’s not a horrible thing if someone else does. So yes, I will continue reading this series.

I really like Alex but the real Ash Carter is the true BAE and I'm scared that a love triangle will start in the next book but I don't want him with Sage :p ( )
  Jessika.C | Jun 7, 2018 |
In this young adult fantasy, Sage Fowler, 17, is an apprentice to a matchmaker. She was taken on in part because she herself would not be much of a “threat” to matches proposed vis-a-vis other girls - she was an orphan with no property of her own; she wasn’t into dressing up or “acting like” a girl; and perhaps most importantly, she could not long maintain a subservient demeanor. Her job is to covertly help the matchmaker evaluate potential matches, which is especially important because of the upcoming Concordium during which many of the liaisons are formalized.

Because of recent unrest in the kingdom, the girls are to be escorted by a division of soldiers made up in part of members of the royal family traveling incognito. They too are interested in surreptitiously evaluating people to see if they can ferret out the intentions of one of the hosts along the route, Duke Morrow D’Amiran.

Sage spends time with the army’s cart driver, Ash Carter, with both of them using the other to gather information. They end up falling for each other, but it is based on a lie about who each of them is. Meanwhile, there is treachery afoot, and both the brides and the army are in extreme danger. The pace of action picks up, as does the possibility of romance.

Discussion: There are many caricatured aspects of this book, from the shallowness of most of the girls seeking husbands, to the beard-stroking villain. But the non-villainous characters are well-drawn, and so appealing you may overlook the cartoonish figures.

Likewise, the plot has little unpredictable about it, except perhaps for one tragic event that happens at the end, a development that took courage for the author to include.

Evaluation: While there isn’t much surprising about this story, I found it very entertaining and even edge-of-your-seat towards the end, and eagerly look forward to the next “installments.” (Initially I thought it was a standalone, but found to my surprise after completing the book that it is part one of a trilogy - surprising because the story does in fact have an “ending,” a nice feature one doesn’t always find with trilogies.). And who could resist the fabulous cover? ( )
  nbmars | May 10, 2018 |
This novel is about espionage, spies, and even a wee bit of love in this light fantasy novel.

Sage Fowler, our main character, loves knowledge and teaching, but she’s a female whose parents have died in a world where women have few choices. Her uncle took her in after her father died; she doesn’t remember her mother much. Her aunt treats her well and Sage loves her cousins, especially teaching them. She dislikes her uncle, although I don’t know if it’s warranted. When he informs her that she will be married off by the matchmaker, Sage is far from happy. After ruining the interview, Sage becomes the matchmaker’s apprentice because she is so smart. She observes everything and comes to accurate conclusions. A huge event--the Concordium--is about to occur where the matchmaker matches a large number of girls from upper-crust families. Sage will be the spy--she needs to learn as much as possible about the girls and the men to help determine who should be with whom.

In the midst of moving girls across the lands to the party, political intrigue is afoot. There is a duke who is plotting a takeover. The military doesn’t have all the details, but they do know that they are finding bands of the enemy about. Captain Alexander Quinn and his men Casseck, Luke Gramwell, and Ash Carter encounter one group, but their mistake costs the military knowledge, so they are re-assigned to escort the ladies to the Concordium. They quickly realize that this trip may not be as safe as they had hoped. They must now protect the girls from danger and hope help arrives soon. They will also need a spy, but who could possible be brave enough and smart enough to determine motivations of so many people?

I really enjoyed this novel. The character development and relationships were believable and the pace kept me turning pages. The author is clever in her managing of the spies and spying. I especially loved that it was a stand-alone; then, I saw on Amazon that it is a trilogy. Sigh. Therefore, you can look forward to more spying and adventure I would imagine in the following books. We hope to have this novel in the library at the beginning of next school year. ( )
  acargile | May 2, 2017 |
I really enjoyed this epic fantasy which is the first of a trilogy. One of the main characters is Sage Fowler who is an orphan under the guardianship of her uncle who is a Lord. She is upset and angry when her uncle tells her that the matchmaker is going to try to find a husband for her. She had hoped to become a teacher or other independent career. She sabotages her interview but becomes the matchmaker's apprentice. She assists the matchmaker as they take a group of upper class girls to the capitol where they will be matched with upper class young men. Sage is observant and quick to form accurate judgments about the girls.

Captain Alex Quinn is the other main character. He is new to his command in the army. It is a family business. His father is the general and his younger brother is a page. After Alex acts too hastily when his troops locate a group of Kimisar invaders, his father makes his next assignment escorting the group of young ladies who are being matched to the capitol. It is supposed to help him learn patience.

But it doesn't take long for this simple assignment to become dangerous. There are still groups of Kimisar wandering in the country. There is also a duke whose family once held the throne scheming to hold the throne again. And Alex is suspicious of Sage because of her habit of chatting up various people and then taking notes each evening in her notebook. She's just gathering data to help her boss make decisions about future matches for the matchmaker but Alex seems convinced that she is a spy for Kimisar.

There is lots of intrigue, spying, concealed identities, and a bunch of evil villains. The book was filled with action and had a strong thread of romance as Alex and Sage get to know each other. The romance hit a number of rocky bits which added to the emotional intensity of the story. I liked the characters and look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy. ( )
  kmartin802 | Apr 15, 2017 |
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"Sage Fowler, the apprentice to a matchmaker, becomes a spy for the army to uncover a treasonous plot and finds herself entangled in a romance with a soldier"--

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