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.I absolutely loved this audiobook. It is read by Fiona Hardingham and Steve West. They put so much emotion into the characters voices and it was literally addicting to hear. I listened to this with my boyfriend on our ten hour drive to California and by the time the book was finished, I was begging for more. I have already pre-ordered the second book on Audible.
The book itself is amazing. Sabaa Tahir weaves her words in a way where we (the reader) feel like we are actually there with Laia and Elias. We can feel their pain. We can feel their triumph. The characters have a lot of development and the development is actually believable. I like how Tahir made each character, minor or major, seem like an actual person. Each had their histories and personalities which made it hard to bear when a character would die.
This book is just overall amazing and you need to read it. Like, now.
READ THIS BOOK. NOW. 5 Stars
You can get the audiobook here