Books,  Four Stars,  Review,  YA

The Traitors by Tom Becker

Author: Tom Becker
Publisher: Scholastic
Published: 5th April 2012
Pages: 295
Format: Paperback
Source: ARC from Publishers
Category: YA
Add It: Goodreads, Amazon, TBD


Adam has betrayed his best friend and now he must face the consequences. His punishment is 274 years in the Dial, a prison in a notime world, where teenage traitors are forced to atone for their crime. It’s a terrible place, ruled over by a cruel despot, where every day is a struggle for survival – and escape.
Legend has it that only one person has fled the Colditz-like prison. Nobody knows if he made it back to the real world, but he left behind a ray of hope that has reached through the years. Soon Adam is caught up in a deadly plan to escape. But in a world full of traitors, you can trust no one.
A fast paced thriller from the author of Darkside.

An Act is Committed
When I first started reading Traitors by Tom Becker, I had no idea what to expect and I had no idea if this was going to be a book that I would enjoy or one that would fall short. Fortunately, I found myself truly enjoying it. This book holds a unique plot that kept me interested and captivated. If you knew that your betrayal could land you punished for a hundred years, you would probably think twice before you ever betrayed again. This book is full of powerful messages, such as forgiveness, friendship and loyalty and it is the kind of book that can help to warm the cockles of your heart, if you let it.

Punishment Is Given
Being sent to prison is a punishment that every criminal faces whenever they commit a crime. Some may never go there, some may be sent there for the rest of their lives, but no matter the outcome, the prison is always there as the ultimate punishment. But why are we not punished for other humanitarian crimes, such as betrayal of our friends? Those who trample on our hearts and then walk away scott free surely deserve some form of punishment? Here is the premise of Becker’s Traitors. Anyone who has ever betrayed a friend in some way or other is taken away to an unknown prison where they must serve their sentence, which is often for a couple of hundred years. This premise is definitely an intriguing one and one that I really enjoyed reading about and really worked for this story.

Adam has been imprisoned for betraying his friend, and at first he is shocked and bewildered by it all, not really sure what is going on. Then, as the story progresses, and more plot twists and turns are brought to the surface, this book takes on a whole new level. Adam must learn the power of loyalty and forgiveness while serving his sentence but he also finds himself understanding friendship, and ultimately, his own betrayal. The plot of this story is compelling and captivating and one that just keeps you turning the page. I found myself needing to know what was going to happen next, wondering if Adam’s bravery will shine through or if he’ll cower under the magnitude of it all. It is a plot that does not disappoint.

Personalities Are Changed
This novel held many different, unique and interesting characters. They were all well-captured and really held my interest throughout the book. There were a few stereotypical types but it worked within the story because it wasn’t a stereotypical story. It needed those characters we know to look for to help make it appear more realistic. After all, what’s a prison without a few characters who are continuously trying to escape? Or the one that manages to get everything for everyone? What wasn’t stereotypical, were the personalities attached to the stereotypes. Everyone had their own thoughts, their own way of moving and even when they were a mass of characters; it was good to have a feel for each individual in the room. It was the characters who bled the story, without them, it wouldn’t have been as exciting or interesting, and I have a feeling that these characters will be wholly identifiable to younger audiences as well.

Adam was our protagonist and he was such an interesting character. He had betrayed his friend, so already the reader is not sure if they should like him but then you can feel his suffering, you can see he’s trying to reach out to his friend but it doesn’t go the way he planned. Sure, he made a mistake, but doesn’t everyone do that from time to time? Then, as the story progresses and we truly see the full side of Adam, it is hard not to admire him. He has his fears, his flaws and his worries but he is also a strong character, with motivation and a willingness to go that extra step. He cares for his new friends and even if he dies in the process, he will do anything he can to save them. It is clear that Adam is, essentially, a good guy who has just made mistakes that he feels guilty and shameful for but that doesn’t mean he should have been punished, does it?

Until Their Time Is Up
If there is one thing that Tom Becker does exceedingly well, it is keeping the action and tension at an all time high throughout the book. There is always something happening, always something that keeps the reader turning page after page. It is therefore simple to state that this book is action-packed. This helps to make the book more exciting and interesting. The reader is always wondering what will happen next, while secretly thanking the gods that there aren’t many dull, boring moments where nothing happens. Becker has managed to get the right balance of things, which occurs through plot-twists and loopholes. Some of the occurrences are predictable, but since I am not the target-audience for this book, I can understand why I would feel that way but I truly believe that the younger children and adults that read this book will love every second of it.

And Peace Is Restored
Overall, this was a book that I really enjoyed. It kept me rooted to my seat, unwilling to put the book down to do ordinary tasks, such as eating, and it was a book that I read fairly quickly which doesn’t happen very often. Yet, despite this enjoyment, it wasn’t one of my favourite stories in the world, but I can see that it would be thoroughly enjoyed by its target audience. This book has many messages and themes to spill, words of advice and guidance to share, and an action-packed story to keep it all from being boring and mundane. I have a feeling that it will be a book that will be widely adored with the younger generation who have always wanted to have a life full of that much action. It is well-written, interesting and entertaining, there really isn’t much more that anyone could ask for in a book. I would recommend this book to children aged thirteen and up, but I still think there is something for adults to enjoy as well. I know I enjoyed it.

Four Stars
four out of five hearts

** I received this copy from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. **




  • Hollie

    I keep seeing this one in Waterstones, I always pick it up and debate on whether or not to get it, because I know you enjoyed it. I love the premise of it, the thought of going to prison for betraying your friends is certainly interesting and sobering. Great review! :)

  • M

    I first heard of this book a couple of weeks’ ago when it was nominated for the 2013 Carnegie. Little M likes the look of it a lot and from your review, I think it’s one she will enjoy. Let’s see! :)

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