Rating: 1 Star
Synopsis via Goodreads:
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.
Well. This was boring.
I don’t get it. Everyone on Goodreads is raving about this book and wanting the sequel and in love with Elias and blah, blah, blah, and then there’s me, over here in my little reading nook, using a great amount of willpower to get through this book.
I almost failed in even doing that much. About 1/3 into the book, I saw how this was going for me, but continued to look at reviews of this book and just made myself believe that it gets better and continuing it was worth it. By halfway into the book, I gave up on this hope. Still, I continued, and more than 2/3 into it, I dropped it for about a week until I finally forced myself to pick it back up and skim the rest of it. It was brutal, I will not lie.
Firstly, I felt no connection with any of the characters. None, not an inkling. I tried too. I tried to like Elias and Laia. I tried to admire her courage into becoming a slave in the hope’s of freeing her brother. I understood all the things she did, and I never considered her stupid or childish. She’s desperate and she knows it. I get that. But . . . still. I just couldn’t make myself like the girl. I didn’t hate her or even dislike her, I just . . . felt nothing for her. Same goes for Elias. He’s not stupid, and also desperate. But I just felt nothing for him.
“There are two kinds of guilt. The kind that’s a burden and the kind that gives you purpose. Let your guilt be your fuel. Let it remind you of who you want to be. Draw a line in your mind. Never cross it again. You have a soul. It’s damaged but it’s there. Don’t let them take it from you.”
They’re not even bad characters! In some cases, they’re great characters! They’re not whiny, not annoying, but . . . again, I just didn’t feel a thing for either of them. Oh, Laia, you’re about to get killed by your slave owner? Okie, dookie.
It’s not even that the characters are stereotypes or are obvious, because they’re not. But there was just something missing in the writing and character development that made me feel anything.
Reading this was like reading a textbook – I understood everything I was reading, but do I really care? Not really. I always had that underlying sense of thinking about better things I had to do.
Maybe it was because it was unconsciously comparing it to the Throne of Glass series. And nothing is going to live up to that in my book.
We have this cool world where there’s basically an assassin academy where they all wear masks that plaster onto their faces and slaves and magic and mythical creatures and a plot to overthrow the evil Emperor, and I. Just. Didn’t. Give. A. Hoot.
So . . . yeah. I’m probably not going to read the sequel. If I do, I am desperate and very, very bored.