“How did they find us so fast?”
No, Laia, it was not fast. The wait was waaaay too long. I literally read this book the day it came out. I was sooooo excited, and I read the thing in about two hours straight. I then kind of just sat there in shock for a good 15 minutes.
*SPOILERS FOR BOOK 1* After the fourth trial, Elias and Laia are running for their lives. Martial soldiers hunt them as they flee through the Empire, as Laia is determined to rescue her brother from Kauf Prison. Elias is determined to help her, even if it means giving up his freedom. But many enemies are ranged against them: the merciless Emperor Marcus, the cruel Commandant, the bloodthirsty Warden of Kauf, and the newest Blood Shrike-Helene. Sworn to serve Marcus, Helene is forced to find the traitorous pair…and kill them both.
What isn’t there to like about this book? For starters, there are so many amazing characters here! My favorite remains Helene, so I really loved getting to read from her perspective. She was already my unequivocal favorite in the first book, but if you didn’t love her before, you’ll definitely love her here. She just had so much compassion and loyalty and strength, and it made my heart hurt to see how much she was actually suffering. She also gave a lot of insight into how the role of Blood Shrike worked, how the Marcus functioned as an emperor, and just the general politics of the Empire. As for Laia, I wasn’t a huge fan of her in the first book, but I really grew to respect her here. Her determination and resilience were so inspiring. Elias was also very determined, but to be honest, I didn’t really feel a lot of growth in him. Maybe it’s because he was already a well-developed character in the last book. Probably the most significant difference was his ability to forgive himself, which was really key given who he was and the circumstances he has been thrust into. Speaking of events and twists, this book was just unbelievable. It just kept coming, and I was always on the edge of my seat. There was never a dull moment, and the pacing was just perfect. I’m still a little shell shocked by some of the events in this book, and I read this exactly a month ago. The world building was just as beautiful, even more so, as we were exposed to new scenes and introduced to new mythical characters.
I had the pleasure of meeting Sabaa Tahir at one of her ATATN events, and she is so funny and sweet. We learned so much interesting facts about her and the books. For example, I learned that when Helene was younger, she used to play hide and seek with her sisters. She would always know where they were, but pretend that she didn’t. If that doesn’t make you love Helene, then what will?!?!?!?
Anyway, I hope you can tell by this point how much I loved this book and how much I want you to read it. If you don’t, then we know somebody didn’t bother to actually read my review…