Author: Sabaa Tahir
Rating: 7 out of 10
Summary: 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.
My Ponderings: This novel was not what I expected. Laia does so many things that you would not think she could or would after first meeting her.
[Moment of honesty for the day: I don't remember much about this novel. I promise that I really am working on getting better at reviewing right away. I am. I swear, everyone, I swear.]
Recap what I remember? Elias made some stupid choices when he could have done better at keeping himself secret. He should have just shut up and he would have been fine. Laia made as many stupid choices. Stupid risks all around.
Can I cut to the chase? Okay, this was a very good book and I didn't see a lot of stuff coming. Looking back I thought their choices were stupid but in the moment I could see where they were coming from. Elias was a unique character and Laia's love of family was admirable. The world this was set in was interesting and different enough to be a change of pace. I liked this novel and would read it again. I think that it would be better the second time, actually. I think that you would understand a lot of foreshadowing and would be better able to understand the characters.
Basically: I think that if you like adventure or solider stories than this is a pretty good one for you. It's good, I swear (even if I mostly forget what happened in it...)