Expected publication: April 28th 2015 by Razorbill
LAIA is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire’s greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution.
ELIAS is the academy’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias is considering deserting the military, but before he can, he’s ordered to participate in a ruthless contest to choose the next Martial emperor.
When Laia and Elias’s paths cross at the academy, they find that their destinies are more intertwined than either could have imagined and that their choices will change the future of the empire itself.
My Review 3/5 Stars
The Story: I didn't know ANYTHING about this book going in other than it was a fantasy. I prefer, if possible, going into most books blind. I really only want to know what genre a book is in and if it's AMAZING! This book is a bit of a mix for me. I actually struggled through the first 200 pages and did contemplate DNFing it. BUT I haven't heard or read a single negative review about this book so I knew that I needed to keep with it because it must be good.
The first 200 pages I found interesting...but only OK. After that the book definitely started turning more intense and I actually started liking and caring for the characters.
The world building was very interesting in this book with the Martials who now rule over the Empire.
I hate spoiling or giving away too much plot but let's just say that the characters all around from main characters to side characters show a lot of growth over this book. The side characters are super rich in their detail and I always love it when all the characters are worth knowing and get to shine on their own.
Overall, I never truly connected with the characters deeply. I liked them all...but I can't say I love them, yet anyways.
I've come to terms with the fact that books need to have romance in order for me to really get excited about it. This didn't seem to happen for a while in the book but eventually showed up which made me quite happy. HOWEVER...I am a bit disappointed in the romance overall. There is a love triangle happening and one of the characters I just don't get why there is chemistry between them, since they really don't even know each other or spend much time together. It felt forced and unnecessary to the book.
Sadly, for me, this just hit LIKE but didn't hit LOVE. I do think I'll read the sequel if it gets written but I wasn't in love with this book as much as I wanted to be. Things felt forced and I never really connected with the characters. It was really good, but just not for me.
I was able to get this book free and early from Penguin's First to Read program. If you don't know what this is go to the First to Read website to sign up!
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