I had not heard anything about this title or author when I bought the audiobook. I eventually also bought it in paperback because I needed the consummation of actually turning the pages at times. Sometimes, the audio read felt too slow because I just wanted, no needed, to know what happened next.
In a world where the Martial Empire has spread to most of the continent, disobedience is brutally punished and those from subservient nations are turned into slaves. Laia, a scholar girl, must face her fears and risk death to save her brother while Elias Veturius, a member of one of the most respected Martial families, despises what he has become and longs for freedom. Their paths are destined to cross and cross again as they battle to stay alive and find what matters to them most.
I was surprised at the ease with which I became engrossed in the story, rooting for characters, feeling their pains. I was hooked from the first page. I love Ms. Tahir’s writing though I’m not sure I could say what is different about it, just that it resonates with me.
The narrators also were perfect fits for their characters, Mr. West in particular. Told from the first person viewpoint with a full cast, I felt like I knew Laia, Helene and Elias by the end of it. This book deserved its accolade of Best YA Book of 2015. Definitely worth a read or a listen.