by Sabaa Tahir
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Publication Date: April 28th 2015
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy | High Fantasy
Source: First To Read
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I WILL TELL YOU THE SAME THING I TELL EVERY SLAVE.
THE RESISTANCE HAS TRIED TO PENETRATE THIS SCHOOL COUNTLESS TIMES. I HAVE DISCOVERED IT EVERY TIME.
IF YOU ARE WORKING WITH THE RESISTANCE, IF YOU CONTACT THEM, IF YOU THINK OF CONTACTING THEM, I WILL KNOW
AND I WILL DESTROY YOU.
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. (Goodreads)
The world in which Laia lived was super harsh and so very cruel. Being a slave, she was subject to so many things that would break a normal person, including being punished in the worst ways possible by her ‘owner’, who also happened to be the commandant at the military school. Elias is a soldier in the school, and life should be so much easier for him, but it’s not. He doesn’t agree with the way things are, and he wants out. And he’s determined to get out. When these two characters paths cross, they discover that they are just what each other needs to survive. Laila and Elias are such great characters. The relationship between the two is complicated, and is also mixed in with two other secondary characters in the novel. But together, they are great. There are some really great secondary characters in the novel as well. There are a few that you’re going to love, and a few that you will hate so much.
I love the world that Tahir created in this novel, although it’s not one that I would want to live in At All. But it was super creative and unique, like no other world I’ve read about before. The ending of this book left me SO excited for the next book. I absolutely can’t wait to get my hands on it, as I MUST know what is going to happen next for these characters and the story!!!
Overall; If you’re a fan of high fantasy novels, you’re definitely going to want to check this book out as soon as possible. The story and the world-building for this book is so very creative, and you can’t help but love the characters. I can’t wait for the next book in the series; I hope it is as awesome as the first!!