Your emotions make you human. Even the unpleasant ones have a purpose. Don’t lock them away. If you ignore them, they just get louder and angrier.
My heart hurts, my head hurts, and I keep tossing and turning in bed because I cannot stop thinking about this book. This rarely happens. Every now and then I will come across a book that completely changes me and this time, it is this book. Funny because the first book completely shattered me too and I guess it’s just more proof that Sabaa Tahir is a brilliant and smart writer.
I’m going to try my best in writing as coherent as I can about my feelings but I think I’m just going to end up baffling on and on because this girl has a lot of feelings and thoughts right now. But here we go!
This book jumps right into it -immediately we are welcomed into the lives of Elias and Laia right after they have escaped. Sabaa Tahir leaves you no space to take a deep breath because straight away you are purged into the lives of Elias and Laia and their current life situation is not an easy one. Elias has been declared a “traitor” to the Empire and Laia is being known as the rebel scholar. A team of Masks that is being led by Helene are tracking Elias and Laia down, while the two of them try to break into Kauf -the Empire’s most secure prison- to try save Laia’s brother who is seen as the “key” to the Scholars’ survival.
That is an intense storyline. Just imagine it. Elias and Laia are determined to break Laia’s brother out of prison while also running away from the Masks. On top of that, imagine Helene. She’s been ordered by the Emperor to hunt down her best friend and bring him to be executed. Imagine the intensity of that.
It was intense, full of emotions and it hurt. It hurt a lot because Elias, Laia and Helene; they felt so real. What they felt, what they’re were thinking: I felt it too. And the different POVs really helped with that. Usually I am not a fan of different perspectives but Sabaa Tahir really executed it well. It flowed smoothly with the story and each characters’ voice stood out. Helene’s part of the story was probably the most heart-breaking and I am not ashamed to say that I did find myself bawling my eyes out at 3am. Classic me.
But this story was so damn good. The writing was amazing -something about it was so addictive. The characters felt so real -they were figuring out their flaws and working through each situation. The plot wasn’t as “heavy” as the first book. By this I mean that the first book was gritty, dark and while the second book still was dark, it still had its moments where it really bought a smile to my face. There were moments in the book where you could feel hope oozing through and there were moments between Elias and Laia that reminded me that all can be good in this world.
This book was hopeful and reminded me that change and revolution really begins from one person. It reminded me that hope can be spread and it reminded me that empathy is powerful. We need to feel more. We need to love more. We need to hope more. We need to be more human.
PS. This song was the song I listened to while reading this book and mmmm, some real good tunes.