Book review · novella

Book review: The Traitor’s Tunnel

The Traitor’s Tunnel (A Trident Chronicles Novella), by C.M. Spivey

34031351Description: (from goodreads)

Witch-blooded robber Bridget has made a reputation for herself in the capital city, but she’s not interested in the attention of the Thieves’ Guild–and she’s not bothered by the rumors of urchin kidnappings, either. With winter coming, she’s looking out for herself and no one else.

Until she picks the wrong pocket, and recognizes her estranged brother Teddy.

Young craftsman Theodor arrives in the capital ready to take the final step toward his dream career as Lord Engineer of Arido. His apprenticeship with a renowned city engineer comes with new rules and challenges, but it’s worth it for the exposure to the Imperial Council.

While spying on her brother, Bridget overhears a secret meeting that reveals a cruel plot. After more than a decade apart, Theodor and Bridget must reunite to stop a traitor whose plan threatens not only their city, but the whole empire.

Set seven years before the events of From Under the Mountain, The Traitor’s Tunnel is the story of two young people presented with a choice–to protect themselves, or to protect others–the consequences of which will change their lives forever.

Expected publication: June 20th 2017. 
A review copy (eARC) of this book was provided by the author. Some things might change in the final copy.

I got to read this novella thanks to the author who was saying on twitter that he still had some eARC available for reviews and when seeing the description tweet, I jumped on the chance! The tweet went “My next release has a panro-ace MC in a same sex ship that’s neither unholy nor soulless so REPLY if you want a copy“, so of course I replied. Plus this was ALREADY in my “want-to-read” list on goodreads, because past-me has good taste it seems!

I read this novella without having first read the novel it is supposed to be a prequel to, but since it is set seven years before, I suppose you can totally read it without having read the novel, like I did. I had no problem getting into the world, or getting to know the characters. I’m pretty sure I can safely say this is a great entry point to the series as I’m looking forward to read the actual novel!

The Traitor’s Tunnel is a novella told through two points of view: those of Theodor and Bridget. They are really different from each other, but both really entertaining to follow. I deeply related to Theodor and his anxious thoughts. It actually made my heart ache way more than I was expected and the way he worded his discomfort or his anxiety actually put words onto what I felt exactly on the same occasions. So that was already a powerful read for me regarding this character. He also is asexual and in a relationship with another man. Their relation is super sweet and I loved how it was handled throughout the story.

“He had followed the rules as he knew them, and therefore, logically, his master’s mood was unrelated to him. Theodor repeated this to himself. Though the mantra did nothing to quell the litany of possible offenses his mind insisted on supplying, it allowed him to maintain a calm outward appearance, which was all that mattered.”

I really loved that the lead characters are siblings. Books from the point of views of two siblings are something that I don’t encounter often enough and I loved it here. A story focusing on family ties with no romance (except for the fact that the main characters are both already in relationships) and a mystery to unfold was exactly was I was hoping for and it was a great relief and joy.

Another great great thing about the worldbuilding is how the author integrates non-binary characters, with characters introducing themselves with their preferred pronouns and the fact that they let children claim their gender, letting them use the neopronoun “ze” in the mean-time.

The actual plot didn’t take that much of the novella. Theodore arrives in a new city to be an apprentice with a new master in the architecture field, Bridget keeps to her life in the streets while being a great thief with magical abilities when they stumble upon each other and upon a dark secret that puts street folks into grave danger. Of course they are perfectly well placed to unveil this mystery and almost everything goes according to plan.

“Can’t you pull magic out of those things?” Keaton asked, bent over a gem-studded bracelet. “A witch could. I ain’t no witch,” Bridget replied. “Please.” Keaton looked up, lovely eyebrows arched. “I know how you do what you do, Robber Ghost.” “Having a bit of magic ain’t the same as being a witch.”

The reunion between the siblings was quite short and I was expecting to see more of them together. While I deeply loved this novella, the ending was wrapped up a little bit too fast in my opinion. Maybe it made me care a lot for all the cast of characters and I felt disappointed that it would end so quickly, kind of in a rush. But on the other hand it was a nice ending that left me wanting for more, in a good and bad (but not too bad) way.

The strength of The Traitor’s Tunnel really lies within the characters and their interior thoughts that I found fascinating.
This ebook is really cheap (below 2€/$/£) so I would really recommend to give it a chance!
I’m really hoping that this story will be released on paperback one day because I would love to own a copy ❤


Here are three great reviews that you can also read :
Claudie Arseneault’s Review
RoAnna Sylver’s Review (I encourage you to read the quotes she wrote down on her “reading process” below the review!)
Leah’s Review (great list of tropes, tags and warnings)

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