Author: Sabaa Tahir
Series Number: 1
Publication Date: April 28, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Where I received the book: I purchased a copy of this book from booktopia.
Summary: 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.
it took me a while to finally get around to reading this book, but here i am. while reading this book, i had mixed feelings throughout because i didn’t connect with either protagonist until near the end. i also found reading this book really slow, even though the events weren’t.
the first character that i connected to and really liked was helene. she reminds me a lot of annabeth (from percy jackson). i just felt that she was so relatable (although, i’ve heard many people don’t like her as much).
i didn’t particularly like either elias or laia. i found them really annoying and hard to relate to. elias was worse than laia tbh. i started to like laia towards the end of the book, when she started to figure things out and was less naive. the romance between these two i found was completely pointless. it didn’t feel real/believable. i preferred elias with helene (i mean, they have a really good backstory, for one.) elias says he doesn’t love helene, but based off his actions throughout the book i really cant believe that.
[also, elias kept making comments such as “she can’t turn into a girl on me now”, among others, towars helene which really pissed me off because she somehow can’t be badass and still a girl ….]
the commandant was a really interesting character. she didn’t really have too much to her but i still found her cool for a “bad guy”. so many villains make threats but don’t follow through. let me just tell you: she’ll go the extra mile.
anyway, characters aside, i found this book was really slow untill the last 100 pages. things were happening throughout the whole book but i felt the suspense didn’t actually pick up till later on. i would have rated this book 3 stars if it hadn’t picked up in the end.
i would also like to know where the world building was …. ? like, the world was cool but i wish there was more to it. anyway, i look forward to reading a torch against the night!