Review The Betrayals – Bridget Collins

If everything in your life was based on a lie
Would you risk it all to tell the truth?

At Montverre, an exclusive academy tucked away in the mountains, the best and brightest are trained for excellence in the grand jeu: an arcane and mysterious contest. Léo Martin was once a student there, but lost his passion for the grand jeu following a violent tragedy. Now he returns in disgrace, exiled to his old place of learning with his political career in tatters.

Montverre has changed since he studied there, even allowing a woman, Claire Dryden, to serve in the grand jeu’s highest office of Magister Ludi. When Léo first sees Claire he senses an odd connection with her, though he’s sure they have never met before.

Both Léo and Claire have built their lives on lies. And as the legendary Midsummer Game, the climax of the year, draws closer, secrets are whispering in the walls…

CW: Suicide (off page)

I requested The Betrayals from Netgalley because I Loved The Binding. And I really enjoyed this book as well, just not quite as much.

And that is mainly due to the setting. It may be me, but I never really quite managed to wrap my head around the world and its politics. I understood the main plot lines, but never felt really able to Get the bigger picture. Is this book magical realism? Historical fiction? What really is this Game, and why is this school so important when it comes to the political climate? The atmosphere is certainly there, but I would have loved a little bit more ‘infodumping’ I guess to make it all make sense in my head.

Like in The Binding, it is the characters that make this book great for me though. We mainly follow Léo across two time lines, both when he is a student for the first time at Montverre, and when he returns ten years later after being fired from his job in politics. We see his relationship develop with Claire, the first and only female to become a magister at the academy, and how this relationship is influenced by his past actions. This is so well written. The characters feel real, and although their actions are frustrating at times, you can understand them. I did see the reveal coming, and the romance wasn’t quite satisfying in the end. And yet this book intrigued and compelled me.

There are many elements in this book that otherwise would turn me off (dark academia itself being one of those), and yet Collins has written this book so well that I actually enjoyed them. This book leaves me whole unsatisfied, whilst completely in love with it.

5 thoughts on “Review The Betrayals – Bridget Collins

  1. This sounds like a neat but confusing book. I sometimes enjoy books about magical contests, but sometimes they can get too dark for me also. It’s hard to tell if this would be one of the too-dark ones or not. I love the cover, though!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Im still not sure if this one has magic in it or not. The students are basically writing music pieces… but there is more to it to them then to us (including maths, philosophy, religion…) but it is never explained what it really is about. Which is the main source of confusion. The plot itself is clear. It isn’t too dark… there is some bullying but no more than in say HP.


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