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 have sadly been slacking on keeping up with series. The third book in this series came out last year and despite owning it, I still haven’t read it. So I’m rereading the first two books.
I forgot how much I enjoyed this series. Laia and Elias and Helene. They must be protected at all costs. I’m a sucker for the friends forever to lovers trope so part of me wants Helene and Elias to love each other forever. But also unlikely lovers is a good one too. I already know where things will go in the romance department though so it was hard not to root for the couple that I know will come together. I liked that the romance wasn’t really a huge part of the story though.
This book focused more on the inner conflict of each character. Helene is hiding an oath she made. This oath and Elias’ behavior leads the two to grow apart from one another. This made me sad because I loved their friendship. But I understood from Elias and his thoughts. He hated where he was and everything his training stood for. I totally agree with him. But, I understood why he stayed.
Then there’s Laia who just wants to save her brother. I loved the sibling motivation. I can’t wait to see her and her brother together again. I love Laia because she’s out into a situation she’s utterly unprepared for, but she manages and somehow succeeds.
This story was so interesting because of the politics and I’m excited to continue my reread of the second book and then finally manage to get to the third.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.