Genre: YA, YA Fantasy
My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
OH-M-GEE! This book is INSANE!! It’s the most intense, action-packed story I’ve ever read. I actually feel sorry for anything I read after this, cause there’s a lot to live up to.
Is it possible to give a book more than 5 stars? Cause this is the best Eff-ing book I’ve read in a really long time! Talk about giving me a bookgasm. I’m legit hungover right now, it’s left me breathless.
I have no clue as to why it took me this long to read it. I’ve had it on my tbr for years! Shame. I know. Better now than never, right?
Loved the alternating POV between Elias & Laia. It was done incredibly well. Sabaa Tahir is definitely a new fave author of mine and super talented.
The character development was amazing. All the characters in this book were well-written, including the ones that got under your skin.
⁃ Argh..she was just so cruel!! The most brutal & heartless character I’ve ever come across. I seriously wanted to kill her and give her the same slow and painful death she’s given to her victims. She was always one step ahead, which drove me nuts! But she was such a good villain!
⁃ He couldn’t be any more different than his mother. His emotions were palpable throughout the entire book. It was interesting to see him struggle between duty and what he wanted, which was freedom.
⁃ she kept referring to herself as weak and a coward, but she had the heart of a warrior in my opinion. Things she endured..fuck. I don’t know if I could do it! She was also careless, which was kinda frustrating to watch at times.
⁃ She was so badass! Definitely a fave character of mine.
⁃ Ugh. Another character that made my blood boil and wanted to butcher. He was such a douche and so undeserving.
⁃ I really liked Keenan. I found him intriguing and wanted to know what his deal was from the get-go.
⁃ I didn’t trust this guy from the very beginning and kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, cause that’s what I felt like was gonna happen with him.
– mention of rape, abuse, violence, blood.
Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.