Publication date: April 2015
For: Heard good things
Series: An Ember in the Ashes, Book 1
Summary (from goodreads):
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.Things I Liked:
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.
I read this one after Winner's Curse and I think it suffered a bit in comparison. The Roman inspiration for both was evident. This one was a LOT more gritty and violent and depressing. It felt like a very real story with no easy answers and just a lot of bad stuff happening. The Winner's Curse is a lot more about strategy than about violence. I do have to admit, it was impossible to put down. I had to know what would happen next - compulsively readable. I'll be interested in more, though I'm not sure how I feel about love quadrangles and such.
Things I Didn't Like:
The violence was too much for me on a number of occasions. Very gritty.
Reminded me of The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
BOOK CONTENT RATINGS:
a lot, as I mentioned
Overall rating: ***