"TRAITOR TO THE THRONE," by Alwyn Hamilton, Viking, $18.99, 528 pages (f) (ages 14 and up)
"Traitor to the Throne" by Alwyn Hamilton is the second book in the ongoing Rebel of the Sands series. While it isn't mandatory to read the first book, the story is richer and much more enjoyable if the reader is caught up with the complexity of the series.
Amani is a young woman of the desert. Her mother was hanged for murdering her father, so Amani has grown up in her uncle's house. Amani isn't just human — she's a Demdji, the child of a Djinn and a human woman. Each Demdji has his or her own set of abilities: illusion, shape shifting or elemental. Amani's power is elemental, and she controls the sands of the desert.
Amani starts a series of actions in the first book, "Rebel of the Sands," that lead her to being part of Prince Ahmed's rebellion against the ruler of their land. Using her sand ability and her special talent with sharpshooting, Amani helps to usurp the power hungry and ruthless Sultan. She also has strong feelings for Jin, a boy who is only in this rebellion because Prince Ahmed is his half-brother.
Partway through the book, Amani finds herself in the heart of the capital inside the Sultan's own harem. Using this to her advantage, she becomes embroiled in the complex politics and motivations of all the Sultan's children.
Alwyn Hamilton's debut book, "Rebel of the Sands," was good, but this second book is far and away better. It's one of those rare moments when the reader hopes there'll be another book to follow this one.
"Traitor to the Throne" is free of any vulgar or adult language. There is violence, but it is not graphic or gory. The romance is mostly confined to passionate kisses, and there are also vague references to adult sexual situations.