I loved this book a lot. It made me very happy. You should go read it asap, but if you want to know why I liked it, I have helpfully provided a synopsis and a review.
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.
| Do you want to read about revenge and freedom and love and awesome people and fighting and betrayal and amazingness and a Rome-Middle Eastern hybrid fantasy world? Then this book is for you. Every character in this book is well written, the themes of choice and individuality and brutality are dealt with so well, the worldbuilding is so well done and the plot doesn’t stop moving. But if that isn’t enough to convince you to read this, I’m going to write an entire review anyway.
Elias is like the best ever He has been raised as a Martial, and is one of the leading people of the academy (and the Commandants son), but he doesn’t want to be there. He doesn’t want to be the Mask who rapes and kills, he wants to be compassionate and thoughtful His relationships- especially that with Helene were amazingly written and I am so glad that Here are some quotes about him which I loved.
And then he gets braver and more developed, with help.
he is compassionate and insightful and loving.
She was so brave and quiet and oh boy, I don’t want to be a slave.
She’s fierce and desperate to hold on to her identity even when it erodes all the good that’s in her -love and mercy.
Yet both Helene and Elias confront very human enemies, and deal with the consequences. These themes are built on through the Trials. The Trials help the characters to realise who they are (and even Laia goes through her own Trials) and it culminates in Elias’s realisation that he’d
The idea of friendship and loyalty and trust is also developed, but I can’t talk about it much because SPOILERS. I love this book so there are going to be more quotes
And Laia’s destiny is to be a member of the Resistance, but all the characters seek to do their best in a rigid world.
What is your favourite quality in a character? Have you read this book yet? Does a story world of Rome and the Middle East appeal to you? Tell me in the comments!