When a book gets so many great reviews I’m always somewhat hesitant to read it right away, afraid the story will not be able to live up to the hype. I’ve had it on my list to read for quite awhile and in fact the second book in the series is now out. Was it worth all of the great reviews? Absolutely!
A militaristic fantasy novel, this story is told from two perspectives. Elias was chosen as a Mask, raised in a brutal military academy where his mother is the Commander. Early on in the story, we see his internal struggle with hating himself and what he has been Chosen to become. Laia see’s her grandparents killed and brother brutally taken by the Masks and thrown in jail as a traitor. She somehow finds the courage to fight back, becoming a spy within the Mask military academy. She is placed there by revolutionaries who have promised to help her get her brother out of jail, if she’ll feed them information from the Commander’s office. A story full of mystery, intrigue, agonizing emotions and lots of internal dialogue intricately unwinds. It rocked!
Laia gets placed as a slave in the Commander’s quarters, and there she learns what true evil is. Picture Darth Vader without the black helmet, and switch out a sword for a light saber. The commander was pure evil. Elias, even though born from that evil, is a good guy. He doesn’t want to live this life, and in fact, hates what it stands for. He and Laia’s paths run parallel to each other, finally merging towards the end of the book, setting the stage for a second novel where we can actually see the two of them work together for a common cause.
Sabaa Tahir’s world building was intricate and fascinating, and her characters had heart. It was really easy to root for both of them and very easy to root against the evil they were fighting against. The second novel is out and I think I’ll be quicker to read it than I was this one!
Copyright 2017 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved