“You are full, Laia. Full of life and dark and strength and spirit. You are in our dreams. You will burn, for you are an ember in the ashes. That is your destiny. Being a Resistance spy- that is the smallest part of you. That is nothing.”
I read a lot of fantasy. I’m sure you guys have figured this out by now. Due to that fact, I have my favorite series that I review all the books for because FEELS MAN (I’m looking at you SJM), so it’s not very often where I find a new start to a series and already know it’s going to be one of my favorites.
Sabaa has created this wonderful new book that I was really scared to pick up due to the overwhelming amount of hype this book has gotten, but it’s very worthy of the hype. Let me just say that this novel is beautiful. The cover is beautiful, the writing is so well done and the characters are rich and complex.
I’m not usually a big duo-point of view fan, but it helps a lot for this story. It starts out with two characters who couldn’t be more different and it pushes them together. I loved reading the relationship between Laia and Elias and seeing how these two actually change each other. The only reason this isn’t getting five stars from me is because I found the two love triangles unnecessary. I liked the addition of Helene and Elias’s romance, but I found Keenan and Laia’s almost suspicious. For some reason, I just don’t trust Keenan.
Laia and Elias alone are good characters and they both have such a nice character development arc. Laia’s is a little more obvious because she started out as weak and even thought her own voice was her brother’s. It’s like she couldn’t even stand herself. However, she grew into her role and I loved every second of it. I can’t tell you guys how many times I was close to tears in the novel. (Hint, it was like every Laia chapter. This poor girl.)
Elias knew what he wanted and was willing to go after his freedom, but his development started once he agreed to be a Aspirant. He grows stronger and definitely braver and stands up for himself and his values instead of letting his mom, Helene and the Augurs walk over him. Speaking of the Augurs, they freaked me out at first, but I actually really like Cain. He’s sassy and wise, which is always the best combination.
I’ve never read much based off of Roman times, I mean I got a little in PJO, but this world is just so cool. I thought the whole Blackcliff deal was really interesting and the different ranks in the academy are cruel, but interesting. I love how Sabaa doesn’t hold back in her novel. She writes freely about what the Yearlings and the Fivers go through, she doesn’t treat Laia’s time as a slave lightly, and she gives others like Izzi, Cook, and Elias horrifying pasts. It was refreshing to read in a YA novel.
Honestly, I think everyone should read this book. Ignore the pressure of it being so hyped and just give it a try, I’m pretty sure you’ll love it. I thought this was absolutely amazing and I can not wait for the next one, or really just more of Sabaa’s gorgeous writing style.