Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.
Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.
But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.
Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.
This was the last book that I read while on vacation. However, it fell flat for me. Would have it have been better if I had read An Ember in the Ashes again? Maybe. But I am not one to re-read books just for the sake of reading the sequel. This series has been kind of forgettable for me. I didn’t remember a lot from An Ember in the Ashes, and I especially won’t remember anything from this book by the time the next book comes out.
I just found this book was dull. They were travelling to the prison for the majority of the book, and it was slow going. I had a hard time caring about either Laia or Elias for most of this book. They just both refused to grow as characters. I ended up bored during most of their POV’s. However, I did really enjoy the introduction of Helen’s POV. Her character will make you think and she shows you her moral struggles with her new role in the Empire. I really enjoyed her sections. I also liked how this book wasn’t afraid to go very dark. A lot of innocent people are dying and there is serious blood shed. I felt like there was something they should be fighting for but instead of saving the Scholar’s they are only focused on saving one person. That just seems selfish.
I was unfortunately disappointed by this book. There were parts that I enjoyed but I was mostly bored while reading this book. There is some potential for the next book in the series. However, this book wrapped up enough of the story that I would probably be fine without continuing. We shall see.