ARC Review: Traitor

I won Traitor by Amanda McCrina through Macmillan’s Weekly Grab a Galley sweepstakes and I was really excited! I’ve never been a WWII buff, but I do love historical fiction and I was excited to read this book through a different lens of the war.


Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

This is a historical fiction book I didn’t realize I needed. This book focuses on the lesser known (and by lesser known, I mean I didn’t know about this) conflict between Poland and Ukraine, which went on during the war. I like how we see two timelines in this story, beginning of the conflict and the middle of the conflict, from two different perspectives. And how those different perspectives deal with the war and their survival. 

I wouldn’t say I liked this book, because it made me really sad and I don’t genuinely enjoy war and death, but I did like the way this story was told. It brought light to the issue without taking advantage of the real death and conflict that people faced. It was very respectful of the content as we hear the story from two sides. Though each side is not necessarily for or against what is going on.

I can appreciate how the material is respectful while also allowing each character to express a different opinion. I think this book was very well written and while sad, brought to light an issue I didn’t know much about. I really appreciated the appendix at the end explaining the different terms, characters we met and their connections, as well as the historical significance of these groups. It helped my overall understanding of what was going on.

One thing I did have an issue with, is that the book opens up with very little background information. You’re kind of thrown in to the chaos with these characters and the reader is expected to know and understand the current conflict. As the story goes along, we get more deals about what’s going on, but it can be hard to get into in the beginning. I wish there was a little more about the before so we can get a clear picture of what is going on and what has changed. 

Overall, this was a good historical fiction book. I like the changing viewpoints and how they collide, especially since one viewpoint takes place in 1941 and the other in 1944. This isn’t a favorite of mine, but again, I can appreciate this book, so I’ll give it a starstarstarstar // 5 stars. If you like WWII fiction in general, you’ll really appreciate this book!




If this sounds interesting, check out The Book Thief by Markus Zusak or Night be Elie Wiesel.






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