“Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.”
Are you intrigued? Because after reading the beginning of this description I sure was. Tahir’s world is inspired by the brutality of Ancient Rome. Those who try to defy the Martial Empire are swiftly executed. Laia and her family live on the back streets of the Empire trying desperately to go unnoticed whilst living in impoverished conditions. However, when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason she must align herself with the rebels in order to save him. She becomes a spy in the Empire’s greatest military academy in exchange for her brother’s freedom. It is here she meets Elias, one of the school’s most talented soldiers. However, all he wants is to be free of the pain and death he has been taught to inflict on those who disobey the Empire.
So if you are going to read this book I have to warn you now. Be prepared to spend the entire book worrying about the safety of at least two characters. They find themselves in situations where the cost to their life is high. Being caught can lead to dismemberment, torture or death. However, this fear is what had me reading into the early hours of the morning so that I could finish. By the end of the book I was emotionally invested in every single character. Laia is unlike the YA heroines we are used to reading. She doesn’t have amazing talents, or strong fighting skills. She is just a regular girl relying on bravery and love for her brother to survive the awful situation she has been thrown into. Then we have sweet Elias who just wants to be free. He has been forced to become a soldier. To kill. To be everything he hates. I couldn’t help but want to give him a hug and take him far away from that awful place.
The only thing that stopped me giving this book 5 stars is the constant love triangles. There were some points where I didn’t know who liked who. I was often left confused and even unsure about who I wanted to be together. Hopefully this will be resolved in the next book.
Overall a great read. If you haven’t read it go check it out. If you have read it, comment below and let me know what you thought.
Rating – 4/5