Here was a read that flickered with flame edged with a cold and bewildering violence. Here was a YA that was both unoriginal and yet fresh. It took on the Empire vs Rebellion trope and hinted at shattering it in future books.
I really enjoyed reading it. I tore through it fairly quickly, and am about to pop out to the store to get the next installment. That’s always a sign that I’m hooked.
The romance piece was my favourite part. Not because it was cheesy, or spicy, or anything like that…but because it was a little more realistic in the sense that the characters weren’t immediately madly in love and blind to everything and everyone else around them.
I really appreciated how BOTH protagonists were drawn to other people before their relationship began to smolder. And even during, while the sparks were still figuring out how to properly light, they were both noticing and thinking about other potential love interests. It’s so normal. Real world relationships aren’t black and white. You meet so many people, and more than one will intrigue you until your heart grows into the acceptance of a single person.
The writing was a blend of rich and blunt. There were times it took a moment to paint, and others where all that mattered was the action. Quick, concise sentences that snapped through each breath. Honestly, this was one of the best written YA I’ve read in a while. I’ve grown used to repetitive writing, weak phrases, and strange punctuation. Tahir, thankfully, actually spent time honing this book.
Why not 5 stars? Because I felt like the beginning trauma didn’t hit Laia hard enough. Sure, adrenaline does wonders to a body and a mind, and she had to keep moving or die…but surely the horrors of the first chapter would have haunted her a little more than what we were shown. I know the author could have sank into it more, as she does so with Elias, so that’s my main complaint.
Time for book two!