About the Book:
League of American Traitors
by Matthew Landis
Publisher: Sky Pony
Release Date: August 8, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Historical
Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it. . . .
When seventeen-year-old Jasper is approached at the funeral of his deadbeat father by a man claiming to be an associate of his deceased parents, he’s thrust into a world of secrets tied to America’s history—and he’s right at the heart of it.
First, Jasper finds out he is the sole surviving descendant of Benedict Arnold, the most notorious traitor in American history. Then he learns that his father’s death was no accident. Jasper is at the center of a war that has been going on for centuries, in which the descendants of the heroes and traitors of the American Revolution still duel to the death for the sake of their honor.
His only hope to escape his dangerous fate on his eighteenth birthday? Take up the research his father was pursuing at the time of his death, to clear Arnold’s name.
Whisked off to a boarding school populated by other descendants of notorious American traitors, it’s a race to discover the truth. But if Jasper doesn’t find a way to uncover the evidence his father was hunting for, he may end up paying for the sins of his forefathers with his own life.
Like a mash-up of National Treasure and Hamilton, Matthew Landis’s debut spins the what-ifs of American history into a heart-pounding thriller steeped in conspiracy, clue hunting, and danger.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
I love history, but not in the old, awful, kill-me-now-please kind of way. My passion is convincing my students that the past is actually hilarious, shocking, tragic, disturbing, and altogether UN-boring. While getting my graduate degree in History at Villanova, I realized that there was yet one more way to do this: write contemporary young adult books laced with history to convince my students that past isn’t as awful as they think. That’s a huge reason why I wrote The Judas Society.
Some other stuff: I love poetry but don’t understand it; I want Gordon Ramsay to give me a fatherly hug at some point; I tend toward the unapologetically dramatic; and (to my great shame) I didn’t read the Harry Potter series until last year. I’m also really good at covering up patent insecurities with self-deprecating humor (like this joke).
The premise of this book is much more intriguing than its actual execution. Jasper is the descendant of Benedict Arnold, the most notorious traitor in American history. After the death of both of his parents, Jasper learns that there is more to his world than he ever knew. He learns that for hundreds of years, the descendants of both the heroes and villains from American history have been on opposing sides. The heroes’ descendants, who call themselves the Sons of Liberty, challenge the descendants of the villains to a duel when they come of age. Unbeknownst to Jasper, his father was searching for a way out of the duel for his son. His untimely death leads Jasper down a path that forces him to question everything he’s ever known.
I would like to mention that I was provided with an uncorrected e-galley to review this book. The fact that I was provided with the galley didn’t affect my review, but the quality of the galley certainly influenced my enjoyment of the book. There were a number of grammatical or spelling errors throughout and that’s something that pulls me out of the story. That is just a personal problem with the book and one I hope will not be present in the book when it is released on August 8th.
As a huge fan of history, I was incredibly intrigued by the premise of this book. It was sold as a mash-up of Hamilton and National Treasure – and who doesn’t love those two things? It wasn’t quite as fast-paced and thrilling as the premise would lead you to believe, but it is enjoyable.
I wish there was more character development in the novels because at times it was difficult to understand each character’s motivations. They might have a complete change in perspective or opinion and it wasn’t adequately explained leaving the reader questioning what was happening. There were so many characters in the book, many of which were quite prevalent that I understand that it probably wasn’t possible to develop them all. That’s just not feasible when writing a book, but I do think that the story would have benefitted greatly had there been just a bit more development.
The world that the author built was intriguing as he was able to blend authentic U.S. history in with his more dramatic narrative. Of course, settling one’s qualms via a duel is a bit dramatic but he managed to raise the stakes. His characters’ lives are on the line if they are not successful and yet the entire organization’s framework could be altered if they are.
The plot of the book follows the course of American history with traitors and spies, secrets and betrayals, love and heartbreak. There are pacing issues with the book as it has moments that drag and others that seem to jump forward without enough context. There are some scenes that seem unnecessary to the plot and could be shorted to give more opportunities for character development. Overall, I feel that it is a good debut novel that could have been improved by culling extraneous scenes and delving more deeply into the world and characters.
Although it suffers from pacing issues and underdeveloped characters – it is still an entertaining read. I would recommend it to fans of history and action/adventure books, as it melds elements of both into a novel about the heroes and traitors of American history (and their descendants). There is a lot of violence in the book, but as it is not graphic I would not hesitate to allow a YA/teen reader to pick up this book. If you’re a fan of historical fiction or action/adventures then you should definitely check out this book!
ABOUT THE GIVEAWAY:
- 2 copies of LEAGUE OF AMERICAN TRAITORS by Matthew Landis
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