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.
This book was good. I would highly reccomend. Overall 9/10 though, it wasn’t strong on the emotions unfortunately. Like yes they were there as Tahir was trying to make me feel them, but I just couldn’t. I think that it is probably because I just didn’t connect with the characters, either in this book or its predecessor and that is tres sad. Sad times fam, sad times. I wanted to connect but I just couldn’t. This is probably the only bad thing about this book though tbh.
In this book we have a fine set of characters, Laia and Elias for example are a fine pair of upstanding citizens – except y’know they’re not. Not in the slightest and this is why I love them. One person I do not love however is Keenan, if you were to look asshole up in the dictionary there would be his name and a picture of his face. And look, I understand that he wasn’t just Keenan and that’s why he behaved the way he behaved but even so. It was still completely uncalled for and he was a major jack-ass – so much so that even I could see it and I am pretty blind to things like that when reading. It’s unfortunate but also fun because I get to live the plot twists as they are happening, but more on that later. (or never but you get the idea – back to the review!) I really enjoy all the different cultures that are in this series, it makes it feel real because it’s not whitewashed as so many tend to be. Also – there’s no racism! Always an upside and I love it! There’s even a smaller amount of sexism as well! Yay for less of the isms! Afya was a hella cool lass and honestly I would happily just read a book that was based solely on her. Heck I would even read her shopping lists!
The plot was A+ too. One of the best plots and it is so incredibly convoluted and I love that even though it is fantasy it doesn’t feel like fantasy! You get me lads! Sooo good! I would read this plot again and in fact I plan on doing so when the third book is released! Yay for this series being longer than three books! Is it just me or is everyone getting sick of trilogies? I mean their cool and all but sometimes I just wanna spend like 15 books in a world (I’m looking at you Morganville – seriously tho, would reccomend that series) and this is one world I wanna spend about 20 books in! There is just so much going on and I love it! The Scholar Rebellion, the Empire being total dicks to Marcus who too is a total dick, what’s happening with Laia and Elias, Sheava (? I think that’s spelt right?) and the Jinns! Everything is just. So. Cool! Can I stay there forever? On the winning side tho – which I feel like is going to be the rebellion, but don’t quote me on that. I would hate to be wrong…
I have a sneaking suspicion that Cook is Laia which is why she doesn’t want her to die and why she knows what is happening when. Which is super depressing because that would mean that the rebellion doesn’t work and I would hate that. I really want that rebellion to work!
The world. It was so beautiful and I really love the Roman influence that it has! So gorgeous! I love it all so much! So beautiful! So well written! Would love to live in that world! Honestly I wouldn’t mind being a Mask either, I could definitely assassinate people in their sleep… totally. UGH! The world is just too damn stunning that if I were to meet it I would have to marry it straight away! No time for that wishy-washy courting stuff! Straight onto the real commitment – maybe I’ve been watching too much HIMYM lately? But either way, I would marry that world if it were willing and I would happily do so!
The magic system is the best and I love it with a passion! The Augurs? The Fey? Laia? All so cool and amazing and pretty incredible tbh! Like I said – I wanna love there.
I know that I have said all that good stuff but I gotta give this book 4/5 stars simply because I couldn’t connect to the characters. I really wish that I could have but sadly I could not and I am angry about that. Go read this book my pretties! Read it and you will know the truth of a good plot and beautiful world building! Also Tahir’s writing is stunning! 10/10 would read again!
Live long and prosper,