I was super unsure if this book would be able to live up to the hype. So, I bought a kindle copy and was instantly hooked from the first page. Two chapters later, I knew I just had to buy the paperback, which I finished reading within two days.
The story has all the YA tropes, without being cliche (which I absolutely loved). It made it unique in it’s own way. The story alternates between POV’s of the main two characters, Elias the Soldier, and Laia the slave. It is a character driven story, with each chapter leaving you wanting more.
Laia, being a YA-lead was unlike other YA-leads. Laia would be unsure and lack confidence but she was determined and that is what gave her the fighting spirit she needed to survive.
Elias too, while being good-looking, caring, and what-not, was unlike other ‘brooding YA hunks who are just into girls. Elias wants to be free, but not at the cost of something he cares about.
The side characters are equally likable (Izzi, Keenan) and despicable (Marcus, Commandment). I definitely want to know more about Helene and Cook. I feel those characters were deliberately kept in shadows and can’t help but wonder their backstory.
The romance doesn’t feel forced. It has an awesome buildup that seems natural. The magical element came to me as a surprise but it also didn’t feel out of place. While several plot-points and explanations is saved for the sequel books, overall it was well-written and I can’t wait to start Book 2.
Overall: 4.5 out of 5 stars.