Synopsis from 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.
“You are full, Laia. Full of life and dark and strength and spirit.”
This book has turned me into a person of few words, and I mean this in the best way possible.
This world was so easy to slip into. I felt like a speck in the masses of Blackcliff. Inconspicuous and insignificant. We are all life and dark and strength and spirit. Each of us is a soldier in battle. Some of us know what we are fighting for, some of us are simply fighting to find out what for. Others have no will to fight. Most days, the struggle is deciding who we are fighting with, and who we are against. Sometimes, but more often than not, we are against ourselves.
I’m not sure where I’m going with this.
I am a skeptic when it comes to fate and prophecies and claims like “everything happens for a reason”, but I was meant to read this book. That’s all I know.
★★★★★ (5 stars) for the everyday soldier, fighting for a better life.