Published: May 28, 2015
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Date Started: January 5, 2016
Date Finished: January 9, 2016
“Life is made of so many moments that mean nothing. Then one day, a single moment comes along to define every second that comes after…”
This book deserves all the hype ever since the day it was released. It is indeed an epic story and a great read. One can absolutely finish it in a day or two although it took me 4 days to do so. Sabaa Tahir created a masterpiece that will live up to a reader’s expectation. If you happen to come across it at the bookstore (even without reading its book review first), you may already assume that it is worthy of your money and time based on the title and book cover itself, and yes, it is. I am so glad that this book is what I asked for on our “Exchange Gift” last Christmas 2015. It is so gorgeous in hardback. I love and adore every part of my physical copy; it is very captivating and appealing.😍
📚 SETTING : 4/5 📚
The story took place at Blackcliffe where the school for soldiers (also called “Mask”) is located. They are students who must undergo a series of trainings to become a full-pledged mask of the empire. They are under the supervision of the commandant. Overall, the place is ruled by an emperor. Life at Blackcliffe is a living hell. It is a place where even the students themselves seek freedom. Supernatural forces also reside in it and they are called Augurs, Wraiths, Jinns etc. The setting is perfect for this kind of story land I didn’t have a hard time imagining every scene and place.
📚 CHARACTERS : 4/5 📚
Elias Veturius is one of the four “Emperor Aspirant”. After graduation, he was chosen to undergo a series of trial in order to prove himself worthy to be the next leader. He is strong and intelligent. He is the best in their batch. Unfortunately, Elias happens to be the evil Commandant’s son.
Laia is a scholar slave and there is only one thing that she is determined to accomplish: to save her brother (Darin) who was captured by a Mask and was accused of being a traitor and member of the rebel group named “Resistance”. Laia is weak, needy and needs saving all the time. She is not fully aware on how things work at Blackcliffe so she took all the risk and played as a spy for the rebel group.
Helene Aquilla is the only woman in their batch to graduate as a mask. She is also one of the emperor aspirants. Helene is Elias’s best friend and she is undeniably one of the strongest at Blackcliffe.
Commandant Keris Veturius is the one who rules and controls the school and the only female who made is as a commandant.She is heartless, fierce and cruel even to her own son.
Keenan is a resistance member who is also a love interest of Laia.
Marcus and Zach Farrar are the twins who are also aspirants. They make everybody else’s stay at Blackclife hell and they always take advantage of the slaves.
📚 WRITING STYLE : 4/5 📚
I finished the book in four days. I liked it so much! The action scenes are great but not as breathtaking as the other fantasy books that I’ve read before. It is fast-paced and a fast-read although I tried to look and ask for more. No matter how well-written it is, I think something is still missing. The characters and I didn’t have a connection at all. For example, instead of having sympathy over Laia’s fate, I somewhat find her annoying, she is not an effective oppressed female protagonist because I wasn’t able to feel her grief and suffering. There is a difference between wanting to finish a book right away because it is freaking good and having to finish it for the sake of accomplishing it and adding it to your book goal.😥 And I find myself belonging to the latter.😯
📚 PLOT : 4/5 📚
The plot twist is surprising but it did not actually caught me off guard. I did not flinch, not even once, on the turnout of events. This is weird because fantasy books usually give me mini heart attacks and yet despite of all the 5/5 rating of other readers for this book, I still found myself being bored at some chapter.🙈
📚 OVERALL RATING : 4/5 📚
Despite of ranting about the plot I honestly think that this book is an amazing and mind-blowing read but it is still too early to say if this one will make it to my top 10 for 2016. 😊 I still highly recommend this to readers who are looking for a fantasy book with an amazing twist.👍