Tyrants and Traitors by Joshua McHenry Miller [Review]

32315339Title: Tyrants and Traitors
Author: Joshua McHenry Miller
Type: Fiction
Genre: YA, Action & Adventure, Ancient Civilization
Publisher: Blue Ink Press
Date published: October 10, 2016
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 286
Source: Publisher

A physical copy of the book was kindly provided by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

Summary: “Find the traitor hiding within Israel,” the seer warns Niklas, “or our nation will be enslaved and your hometown slaughtered.”

So, no pressure.

Niklas, a fifteen-year-old shepherd, spent his whole life dreaming of revolt against the hygiene-adverse Philistines, but when the all-but-impossible mission is thrust upon him, he starts to rethink the whole hero business. What chance does the daring schemer have when lions, the Mad King, and a literal giant stand in his way?

As Niklas races to uncover the hidden traitor, conspiracies and armies converge on the nation—with his hometown directly in the crossfire.

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I had a general idea of what this book would be about when I picked it up to read it. I knew that it would take place in ancient Israel, I knew that there would be lions and a giant involved, I knew that there would be adventure, and judging from the blurb on the back, I could assume that the writing would be fairly casual and colloquial. Now, after having read Tyrants and Traitors, I can say that I was entirely correct. What I had not predicted, however, was that this book would put quite a bit of emphasis on Yahweh, the Israeli name for God.

tyrants-and-traitors-2Some of you may know, or may have suspected, that I am not a very religious person. I do not practice or participate in any one religion, but I did grow up in a religious household, and am fascinated by all sorts of religions (especially Shinto and Hinduism).Therefore, I think that it is important for you to know that I read this book from a non-religious-but-curious perspective. There was also a little nostalgia involved, as I grew up with the story of David and Goliath. I remember that my grandmother bought me an illustrated Bible/story book from a Jehovah’s witness, and that it was my favourite book for a very long time. I read it all of the time because I really enjoyed the nice and colourful illustrations, as well as most of the stories.

With that out of the way, I will now get back to Tyrants and Traitors and firstly discuss the writing. The style is very engaging, as well as amusing. There were many times where I found myself laughing while reading this book. That being said, and to those of you who have read some of my past reviews this will sound repetitive, but the writing was too post-modern and colloquial or me. To be more specific, I mean that the writing was too modern when considering the setting. This book takes place in ancient Israel, and yet much of the dialogue spoken by the younger characters contained current slang.

tyrants-and-traitors-1This made it a little difficult for myself to become immersed into the story. But I generally have this problem with fantasy and historical fiction, while it might not bother other readers at all. In fact, some of the younger readers (and this book is meant mainly for teens) will find the writing amusing, fun, as well as easy to follow and understand. I also liked that this book was full of action, and that there were few moments which were slow. The fight scenes were also well-described and detailed, which I appreciated, since I like to picture such scenes as thoroughly as possible.

The plot overall was also interesting, full of action, some mystery, politics, and a little court intrigue. There is also a drizzle of romance, as well as a well-described setting. There is never any doubt as to where this story takes place. I recommend this book to those who enjoy adventure plots, ancient civilizations, and some plot twists. And I will definitely be reading the sequel.


15900726Joshua McHenry Miller, a native Michigander, grew up living in two worlds: the cozy suburbs of Detroit and the urban jungle of Pontiac. A lover of story in all forms, he’s spent over a decade honing his writing, and his debut YA novel, Tyrants and Traitors, released October 10th, 2016. When Josh isn’t writing, he’s starting a church and working as a community developer in south-central Madison, WI.

You can visit him on Twitter at @TalesofaScribe as well as his Goodreads page, and his website.


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4 thoughts on “Tyrants and Traitors by Joshua McHenry Miller [Review]

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