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Traitor  By  cover art

Traitor

By: Amanda McCrina
Narrated by: Raphael Corkhill
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Publisher's Summary

Amanda McCrina's Traitor is a tightly woven YA thrill ride exploring political conflict, deep-seated prejudice, and the terror of living in a world where betrayal is a matter of life or death.  

“Alive with detail and vivid with insight, Traitor is an effortlessly immersive account of a shocking and little-known moment in the turbulent history of Poland and Ukraine - and ironically, a piercing and bittersweet story of unflinching loyalty. I think Tolya has left my heart a little damaged forever.” (Elizabeth Wein, number-one New York Times best-selling author of Code Name Verity and The Enigma Game

Poland, 1944. After the Soviet liberation of Lwów from Germany, the city remains a battleground between resistance fighters and insurgent armies, its loyalties torn between Poland and Ukraine. Seventeen-year-old Tolya Korolenko is half Ukrainian, half Polish, and he joined the Soviet Red Army to keep himself alive and fed. When he not-quite-accidentally shoots his unit's political officer in the street, he's rescued by a squad of Ukrainian freedom fighters. They might have saved him, but Tolya doesn't trust them. He especially doesn't trust Solovey, the squad's war-scarred young leader, who has plenty of secrets of his own. 

Then a betrayal sends them both on the run. And in a city where loyalty comes second to self-preservation, a traitor can be an enemy or a savior - or sometimes both. 

A Macmillan Audio production from Farrar, Straus and Giroux

©2020 Amanda McCrina (P)2020 Macmillan Audio

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Traitor Indeed

Traitor is a sophisticated and relentless offering, making me guess with each turn of the page. It is a story woven in broken threads of time with two voices, each revealing less than necessary until just the right time. It also deals with a part of the polish/Ukrainian/Russian front of WWII with which I’m much less familiar. McCrina knows her history, her weaponry, the complex regionalisms involved, and even her natural world, and this shines through in her writing. She also doesn’t pull the punches when it comes to revealing what two boys likely went through during the gut-wrenching loss of their society. Also, I happens to love that it was a female author who told this story so very well. More books like this.

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Beautifully narration doesn’t save the narrative

This story could have been so much richer had it painted a better picture of the characters so the reader had a chance to develop some emotional attachment to one or two of them. More historical context would have been helpful as well. The story bounced like a ping-pong ball between gunfights so much that the story line was often lost on me.

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Really wanted to love it.

I really wanted to love this book because the premise interested me, but ultimately it landed me somewhere between 2.5-3 stars. As someone who's been reading WWII-era historical fiction, non-fiction and memoirs for the better part of the last two years, the factual side of the story, factions and names weren't confusing to me. What felt lacking was the actual story/plot and character development. This would have likely benefited from some additional length, because while I followed along, I can't say I was really invested in either character the way I should have been.