Review: The Traitors We Are by Michael Roberti

Last Updated on February 14, 2024

Misfortunate is the one that calls Aroegin Reach home. When the only guarantees in life are taxes and hard times, only the strong survive here. They pay their dues with blood. For a better future, these fierce men and women have gone to war under the command of War Chief Ordan. But the revolution is not all that it seems. After all, the saying goes, “The gods have been unkind to the Reach.” The Traitors We Are by Michael Roberti is an epic fantasy bursting with political intrigue and treachery.

The Traitors We AreThe worldbuilding in The Traitors We Are is something to obsess about. Michael Roberti’s world is intricately detailed. The rich traditions from the Reach are particularly noteworthy. A soldier knows the outcome of battle by either the victory or defeat beer served. The deceased must be spoken ill of, with the cruelest insults reserved for the best of them. Antitheism in the Reach starkly contrasts with the rest of Midland’s worship of the Goddesses. Culture is further emphasized since the reader is given perspectives from the opposing sides.

The Traitors We Are follows the exploits of several characters but predominately those of Emil Trestinsen and Cael Oberlan. Emil is the King of Harfal’s nephew and bent on obtaining glory. He will conquer the Reach and squash the rebellion. He will achieve greatness. The only problem is no war general wants him. As far as they are concerned, Emil is green and born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Meanwhile, Cael’s name is already legend. His prowess on the battlefield earned respect from his troops and enemies. These polar opposite characters offer distinct insight into this world.

Readers may notice the influence of Joe Abercrombie. In a similar manner, like The Black Prism and Dark Oak, this book is a fantastic mix of political and modern fantasy. Since the reader is given opposing perspectives, treason hits heavily. Michael Roberti spins schemes and deceptions until even victory feels like defeat. The Traitors We Are has no heroes, only survivors.

The attention given to political schemes overshadows a couple plot points. Certain outcomes feel rushed. Cael’s war legacy, the Reach’s suffering, the failing faith in the Keep could have been showcased. However, The Traitors We Are more than compensates for this with its fast pace.

The Traitors We Are is an excellent debut from Michael Roberti. His imaginative worldbuilding and multifaceted schemes make him an author to watch out for.

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Carrie Chi Lough

Carrie Chi Lough

Carrie resides in Colorado with her other half and their puppy, Irwin. She is always searching for dark SFF and horror stories to bury herself in.

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