Traitor Angels Review: There Are Secrets In History That We’ll Never Know

June 27, 2016 by Aila J. | 5 stars, ARC Reviews, Books, Reviews

Traitor Angels Review: There Are Secrets In History That We’ll Never KnowTraitor Angels by Anne Blankman
Published by Balzer + Bray on May 3rd 2016
Source: Won
Genres: Historical, Young Adult
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Six years have passed since England’s King Charles II returned from exile to reclaim the throne, ushering in a new era of stability for his subjects.

Except for Elizabeth Milton. The daughter of notorious poet John Milton, Elizabeth has never known her place in this shifting world—except by her father’s side. By day she helps transcribe his latest masterpiece, the epic poem Paradise Lost, and by night she learns languages and sword fighting. Although she does not dare object, she suspects that he’s training her for a mission whose purpose she cannot fathom.

Until one night the reason becomes clear: the king’s men arrive at her family’s country home to arrest her father. Determined to save him, Elizabeth follows his one cryptic clue and journeys to Oxford, accompanied by her father’s mysterious young houseguest, Antonio Vivani, a darkly handsome Italian scientist who surprises her at every turn. Funny, brilliant, and passionate, Antonio seems just as determined to protect her father as she is—but can she trust him with her heart?

When the two discover that Milton has planted an explosive secret in the half-finished Paradise Lost—a secret the king and his aristocratic supporters are desperate to conceal—Elizabeth is faced with a devastating choice: cling to the shelter of her old life or risk cracking the code, unleashing a secret that could save her father…and tear apart the very fabric of society.

To say I adored this book would be an understatement. Think a little along the lines of the Da Vinci Code. It has the secrets and mystery, the fast pace, and the stubborn characters who just don’t know when to stop looking for clues. Historical fiction is one of my low key favorite genres because there’s so much you can learn from it. Blankman takes a part of what actually happened and adds her own story, which ends up fitting neatly with actual history. We’re looking at the reign of King Charles II, which was a crazy period in England’s history where Oliver Cromwell actually became the leader of the English Interregnum (which literally means “between reign”). The heroine in this book, Elizabeth Milton, is a straightforward and intelligent girl who helps her father John Milton in transcribing his poems, since he is blind.

The book begins with Elizabeth finding out about a stranger in town who’s asking about her father. He turns out to be Antonio, who has a mysterious connection to her father. This visit is cut short, however, because almost immediately afterwards, the king’s men have come to collect Elizabeth’s father. And from there on, Elizabeth makes it her mission to discover the trail of clues that her father left for her and Antonio, and find out what exactly it leads to.

traitor angels

Elizabeth was a neat heroine who definitely didn’t fit in with society’s standards during that time period. The author leaves a note at the end of the book that John Milton’s daughters were all taught forward-thinking skills that wasn’t the norm, so it surprisingly fits real well in the story. I love her unwavering dedication to her father, even when he was super cryptic with these clues sometimes. And throughout her journey, she also starts to discover a little bit of herself, and what she really wants. Before, she was just a helper to her dad. But when she tries to rescue him, she gets a taste of what she can really do without any limits.

My education was a replica of the lessons Father had given his students when he was a young teacher. His male students, for he had taught me as though I were a boy.

Can I get a WHOOP WHOOP for Antonio, or Signor Viviani? At first you’re a little suspicious with this stranger, but that’s quickly dissipated by his quick wit and compassion. Antonio also accompanies Elizabeth on her journey, and their romance was definitely a slow burn. She’s suspicious of him for a longer time than readers (or at least me, whoops), but as they both begin to open up, the romance also begins to flare up. There are definitely complex plots in action that test it in the book, but both characters’ cleverness are enough to entangle these plots.

I love science so, so, so much (as much as I love history. Or learning in general), and Blankman does a fantabulous job in adding science from that time period. We get mentions of top thinkers and philosophers, as well as common beliefs during the time. And one belief was the power of alchemy, and the philosopher’s gold, which could make someone immortal if ingested. Somehow, Elizabeth’s father is involved in all this, and we see characters’ dilemma over if it’s worth it to save someone and make them immortal – basically like a god – or if the secret should be hidden for no one to use instead. The story will definitely keep you on your toes as you discover more and more about this seemingly mythical piece of science.

Elizabeth, a veil covers the world, obscuring our sight, he replied. I’m training you to keep it safe or to cute it – only time will determine which you must do. 


Science! History! Puzzle pieces coming together! Clever characters that have quick (and progressive) thinking! Slow burn romance! Mysteries and codes! Journeys and betrayals! If any of the above words interest you in some way, then I definitely recommend to pick Traitor Angels up. There’s a perfect blend of adventure and romance and mystery to keep a reader interested from beginning to end, and an utter sense of satisfaction when you see how exactly these pieces fit in history, and the way they set the tone for the future.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5



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Aila is a young adult reader who loves to transport herself to new dimensions through reading. She's currently an undergraduate student at university in the US. Let's talk about our obsessions on Twitter @aila_1woaa!


30 responses to “Traitor Angels Review: There Are Secrets In History That We’ll Never Know

  1. Book Blather

    You had me at 'Da Vinci Code'! This sounds like a really cool premise, I'm glad it blew you away! I shall look out for this one in my local library, next time I visit – I hope they have it!


      Gosh the science and history were so nicely intermingled and the characters were just amazing and YES TO ALCHEMY. I mean, who doesn't want to find a stone that would make them immortal? The only question is whether they would keep it a secret from the world or not.

    • It's my absolute pleasure!

      Omg Pili, this will be right up your alley. It has conspiracies galore and definitely a thriller that'll keep you on your toes. I read it in pretty much one sitting. 😀

  2. Ohhhh the science here and the historical setting sounds like it was done really well Aila! I like how Elizabeth doesn't fit the mould of the time period. Lovely review!

  3. Oooh I need to read this one in a BAD wayyyy! I have it, I just have been lacking time, but it basically sounds like all the things I love the MOST about historical fiction! And I love when there is a female who is like, badass, but while acknowledging that sadly, it was rare for a woman to do so at that time. Best of both worlds 🙂 Fabulous review, I am extra excited about this one now!!
    My recent post Review: This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

    • I'm glad you are Shannon!

      Seriously though, historical fiction has all the badass ladies in a society where they're supposed to be doormats and cardboard cut-outs. Definitely not the ladies in this story, though. 😉

  4. leahthewordnerd

    I have heard mixed reviews of this one, but I'm always on the lookout for historical fiction and this one looks like it must be read. Thanks for the review!

  5. Historical fiction is such a great genre, but sadly I don't read enough of that these days. *sigh* Fantasy definitely stole my heart. Anyway. I loved Anne Blankman's Prisoner of Night and Fog duology, so I was excited about Traitor Angels, but had heard next to nothing about it. I'm happy that you loved it, because it just renewed my excitment for it! 🙂
    My recent post Grabby Hands #7 | July 2016

    • Aww haha Lucie I will always be a fantasy lover through and through, but I never underestimate the powerful historical fiction out there. Eep, if you loved her previous duology, I'm sure you'll love this one as well!

  6. This book sounds quite interesting. In my English class we have briefly touched on this history while we were studying some poems. This book sounds like it might represent some of the ideals we talked about and it's a book that involves mystery as well as my second favourite genre. So it will be added to my TBR.
    My recent post Beautiful People: June Edition

    • Woohoo Anna, it really does sound like it might reflect a bit of your English class. I'm so glad you're adding it to your TBR! *twirls*

    • YAAS CHRISTY *fist pump* it's such a perfect blend of science and history, which makes it a great book for people who like those two things.

    • Ooh yay Bieke! If there were ONE historical fiction read that you should pick up, then this one is definitely it! The characters are so great and forward thinking, and the incorporation of history is pretty perfect. 🙂

  7. AILA!! I'm so happy to see you loved this book as much as I did. It's such a fantastic book and so so underrated for some reason. I adored Elizabeth and Antonio (SWOON!).
    I didn't know you were a science geek, so high-five! And I loved how she weaved together fact and fiction and came up with this superb story. I wish more people would read and love this! But yay so happy you liked it! 😀
    Lovely review! 🙂
    My recent post Review: Every Word by Ellie Marney

    • YAY NICK *twirls* I KNOW – I can't believe this book is so underrated! I loved it so much, and it's definitely a historical read that shouldn't be missed.

      Ugh Antonio and Elizabeth are SO shippable. <3

      *high fives* YES, science and history are probably my fave classes of them all, so this book provided a perfect blend! I definitely hope more people will pick this superb book up soon. 😀

    • It really is super interesting and intriguing Angel 🙂 I strongly urge for you to pick it up when you have the time!

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