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.
I read this book because a wonderful blogger that I know reviewed it on her blog not long ago, and ever since then I have wanted to read this book.
Laia was a great character who seemed so real. She had real fears, and had human flaws. Elias was also a powerful and unforgettable character. A man who seems the flaws with the life he is told to live and would rather leave then become like the very people he despises.
The world that Sabaa Tahir created can only be described as magical. I can’t wait for the next book so that I can experience more of the Empire.
So while the characters had depth, and the world was amazing, the book would have been a lot better off without the weird love mess that was present. I also got tired of hearing about all the wood, smoke, manly smells the peppered the book more then I thought it should. If the romance hadn’t been all over the place I would have gladly given this book 5 stars.
Overall I loved this book and couldn’t put it down. And the fact that after I finished the book I couldn’t stop thinking about it shows how much I did enjoy it. I would recommend this book to all my friends but just be warned, you won’t like the love quadrangle.