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.
Rating : 4 /5
Thank you Harper Collins India for the review copy. ❤
Okay so don’t kill me. I know EVERYBODY loved this book. And while I admire Tahir’s writing style, the story was just not my type. First of all, I am tired of these brave young things saving the world. It’s too cliche right now, after the numerous fantasy or dystopian novels we have read about the same topic. Moreover, there wasn’t a single character I could relate to. I respected them all, Laia, Elias, Helene – they are marvellously courageous people, but they aren’t close to my heart. I did not like the path the story took, some actions were unnecessary. Also, somehow Helene started taking up a huge role, shadowing Elias and Laia, and because I didn’t like her from the first book itself, I resented the fact that she took up the limelight. The lack of emotions in the characters also tires me. The AEITA fandom showers love and emotion, but the characters themselves are so stoic, even in the saddest situations. I get that it’s part of who they are, the plot requires them to be this way, but I don’t necessarily like it.
All this being said, I think this book is WONDERFUL with respect to the writing quality. The sentences are beautifully constructed, and the world-building has been vivid. The language used is so very appropriate with that setting.
There were surprise elements which shocked the hell out of me, and I was moved by many of the scenes. There is a lot of intelligent action in this book. Sabaa Tahir is an amazing author, however, I believe this just isn’t my genre anymore.
~ Sripurna ❤