The Traitor’s Daughter (Veiled Isles #1) by Paula Brandon
Publisher: Random House (Spectra/Oct. 2011)
Veiled Isles Series
On the Veiled Isles, ominous signs are apparent to those with the talent to read them. The polarity of magic is wavering at its source, heralding a vast upheaval poised to alter the very balance of nature. Blissfully unaware of the cataclysmic events to come, Jianna Belandor, the beautiful, privileged daughter of a powerful Faerlonnish overlord, has only one concern: the journey to meet her prospective husband. But revolution is stirring as her own conquered people rise up against their oppressors, and Jianna is kidnapped and held captive at a rebel stronghold, insurance against what are perceived as her father’s crimes.
The resistance movement opens Jianna’s eyes―and her heart. Despite her belief in her father’s innocence, she is fascinated by the bold and charming nomadic physician and rebel sympathizer, Falaste Rione—who offers Jianna her only sanctuary in a cold and calculating web of intrigue. As plague and chaos grip the land, Jianna is pushed to the limits of her courage and resourcefulness, while virulent enemies discover that alliance is their only hope to save the human race.
When I started The Traitor’s Daughter, I immediately knew that I was in for something a little bit different. The book begins with an inventor, Grix Orlazzu, that is confronted by his own creation, an automaton that decides to take on his creater’s identity. However, his creator has discovered a disruption in the Source, a mysterious underground power from which magic originates. He leaves his home, and his automaton, determined to make his way to the Wraithlands to hopefully find out what’s happening with the Source. We don’t meet Grix again until the end, and you may be wondering about just what’s going on, but I promise, it gets much clearer throughout the story. We then meet Magnifico Aureste Belandor and his beautiful 18 year old daughter Jianna, who will soon make the journey to meet her betrothed. This journey will prove to change her and her father’s lives forever.
As Jianna travels to meet her new fiancé, her party is attacked by rebel forces and she is taken to a rebel stronghold, where she meets the formidable Yvenza Belandor, and her less-than-charming sons. Yvenza tells an outrageous story that puts Jianna’s father in the role of traitor, but it may not be quite as outrageous as she thinks. To add insult to injury, Yvenza plans to make Jianna her daughter-in-law by marrying her to her oldest son, Onartino. Let’s talk about Yvenza and Onartino for a moment. If Yvenza’s claims are true, you can understand her motivations, if not her methods. Onartino on the other hand, is a true sociopath. He’s no stranger to rape and murder, and his plans for Jianna are anything but romantic. I hated Onartino with a vengeance and had to keep myself from skipping ahead to find out Jianna’s fate. Luckily, there is a light at the end (maybe) in the form of a young doctor, Falaste Rione, who arrives at the stronghouse to administer to the rebel wounded. Kind and a little charmed by Jianna, he may be her only hope for escape, but his loyalties also lie with Yvenza, so convincing him to help will take all of Jianna’s wits. With Jianna, the author did a really, really good job of painting a portrait of a girl that has been raised very sheltered and pampered, but has hidden reserves, which she discovers slowly but surely, especially while helping Falaste administer to the wounded rebels. I loved the idea of the Source, a mysterious underground font of magic that may be ready to shift, and not necessarily for the better, and the author did a wonderful job of creating an atmosphere of magic and intrigue. Oh, and did I mention there are zombies? Or rather, the constant threat of zombies, for there is a plague loose in the Veiled Isles, but there may be more to the walking dead than meets the eye, and I’m hoping we’ll find out more about this in the next book. The Traitor’s Daughter shifts back and forth from Jianna’s plight to the goings on in her father’s world, and I’ll admit, while those passages were certainly entertaining, I found myself wanting to get back to Jianna’s story. I was riveted with The Traitor’s Daughter and can’t wait for The Ruined City, the next book in the series. If you like fantasy full of intrigue, drama, and magic, with a fascinating and unique setting, you’ll love The Traitor’s Daughter!