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.
So this book is errrvvrywhre. Everybody and their grandma are talking, blogging, reviewing this book. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore and dished out $9.99 (damn high ass traditionally published books) and read it. Lawd. It’s was not overrated. Y’all know I’m always complaining about pacing. Well, this here book had perfect pacing. At no point did I get bored.
I loved the alternating point of view between Laia and Elias. Before the inciting incident, Laia spent her entire life making jams, and when the isth hit the fan she didn’t all of sudden learn how to kick ass and be the best at everything. She absolutely was no Mary Sue.
I love the idea of polyamorous relationships. I’m not saying there was any polyamory relating going on in the book, but there was enough sexual tension for me to play around with the idea. Lots of action. Lots of adventuring. Tamir is getting added to my masterlist Brent Weeks, R.A. Salvatore, Ursula K. Le Guin, and now Sabaa Tahir.
I think maybe it was diverse. There were folks with honey colored skin… but she spent most of her time emphasising the blonde chick and the red-headed love interest soooo….
Diversity: I’m not sure.
Recommend Absolutely. I can’t say I got a diversity high from the story, but I absolutely got a reading high.