In a world part Sparta, part 1984, Laia just wants to free her brother, and Elias just wants to free himself. But the fates have a brutal and deadly game in store for both the slave and the reluctant warrior. This book is definitely in my top five of 2015 so far. I had a book hangover for weeks after I read this. If you liked Marie Lu’s The Young Elites, I think you will enjoy this even more. The dual narrative allow this book to be enjoyed by both genders, and the interest level extends from high school to adult readers of YA.
If I had to describe this book in one word, it would be “intense.” When I finished, my nerves were shot and my shoulders were tight with tension. I cared deeply for Laia and Elias, and they were under constant, paralyzing threat. The seemingly omnipotent antagonist was beyond sinister, and I would be hard pressed to identify a villain to top her in any book I’ve ever read. The oppressive setting is reminiscent of a medieval 1984 — the despair is palpable. It makes it easy for the reader to cheer for the two characters who appear to still have their souls intact, but the wonderful nuances in a lot of the minor characters make it harder to decide about everyone else. The book had an ending that indicates that more books will follow, and some unfinished business means I’m all in for another round with these characters. There are some parts of the book I thought were weak, especially those surrounding mystical forces re-emerging in a world that has destroyed and dismissed them, but that didn’t really bother me while I was reading. Some people thought that Laia was a weak protagonist, but I thought her actions rang true for someone who isn’t a revolutionary by choice or nature but because of necessity. think it will be a popular book with many of my students and fellow adult YA readers. The language and situations make this a mature high school read — lots of violence and threatened sexual assaults.
Check it out from our classroom library today because I have poor impulse control, and I know you need to read this!
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.