Genre: YA Fantasy
You’ll like this if you like: Rome, Supernatural Elements, Plot Twists, and Compassionate Warrior-Type Heroes.
Cleanliness: At one point, Laia has premarital sex. It’s completely skipped over. There’s a lot of supernatural involvement, with one type of creature sometimes referred to as “demons.”
Hero Type: Virtuous Hero
Favorite Profound Quote: Failure doesn’t define you. It’s what you do after you fail that determines whether you are a leader or a waste of perfectly good air.
Favorite Descriptive Quote: My mother hides her anger with practiced cunning. But I see it in her eyes. Smoldering at the fringes, like the corners of paper blackening just before they burst into flame.
Elias and Laia are running for their lives.
After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.
Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.
But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.
Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.
To be perfectly frank, while I adore this book, the characters, the world, and the story, the less desirable elements became too much for me, and I stopped before reaching the end (though I read the majority). After Laia’s indiscretion, I did keep reading, and though it was something she came to regret because of how and when she did it, the premarital sex was never displayed as wrong in and of itself. Overall, the plot in this book is heart-wrenching and suspenseful as the relationship between Laia and Elias develops. The development of their relationship is definitely what I’ll miss out on the most. Elias and Laia are both brave, honorable, compassionate, and relatable, and I was so looking forward to seeing them interact more. Of course, I’m not going to be so presumptuous as to say that this book itself is bad or wrong, because it’s a phenomenal story with beautiful writing. This is simply a decision I’ve made for myself and shared with all of you.
Where do you draw the line in stories? After you get hooked on a good book, is there anything that can make you put it down after that? What YA Fantasy books would you like to see reviewed?