Author: Sabaa Tahir
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 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.
Bluestocking’s Opinion: Wow!!! I saw this book in Barnes & Noble, and I was very intrigued by the cover. I got distracted by a couple of other books that came out, but I did eventually come back to read this one.
This one had a bit of a slow start. Don’t get me wrong, it started with a skirmish, I meant in terms of getting to the real conflict of the series. For a long time, I kept wondering why this book was a fantasy, but eventually the author got into some of the mythical creatures. By the end of the book, I was definitely hooked. I can’t wait to see how this series is going to turn out. I’m hoping that the fantasy elements will play a much bigger role in the next book; they should, particularly as this entire world’s history has been shaped by mythical creatures (though most don’t recognize this). I have a sad feeling that the Martial Empire is going to learn far too late the consequences of taking knowledge/technology from creatures whom they have no hope of truly comprehending.
I like the character’s Laia and Elias. Obviously, they are going to end up together (this is a YA novel after all). I found Elias to be a lot more interesting of the pair. I think it is because he has had such a strange life- being abandoned by his mother and then subsequently being adopted byhis grandfather. I’m really curious as to who his father is. His mother mentions that Elias’ father failed to kill her. This would suggest that he isn’t a pleasant man, but Elias’ mother is rather twisted so it is hard to know how credible she really is. Elias’ mother is also rather interesting. She exhibits such hatred for her own father, yet she appears to be having the family motto tattoed on her body. There’s a lot going on here.
Anyway, my prediction for the series is that Laia and Elias will help the Scholar and Martials put aside their difference and work together to defeat their common enemy. But we shall see.
This is a great series to start this summer.