Rating – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
So the first quarter of this book had me baffled and I seriously considered making a list of all the characters because I just couldn’t keep up and remember who was who.
At the halfway mark I was pretty disappointed, and was just hoping and praying for more Laia/Elias moments because I worship the ground they walk on.
Three quarters through and I went from being mildly interested to being so gripped that I was sweating like a pig.
And now, after finishing? I’m stunned. Because before I reached the three quarters mark, it was a solid three star read for me. The writing was excellent, and I obviously loved Elias and Laia, but I just wasn’t feeling the story. There’s a lot of war tactics and politics in this book, and it sort of lost me at times, I’m not gonna lie.
But towards the end of the book, I found that I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. I wasn’t lying earlier on when I said that this book had me sweating like a pig – I was totally and utterly gripped, to the point where I couldn’t even bring myself to go to the toilet and I literally almost wet myself.
“Curse this world for what it does to the mothers, for what it does to the daughters. Curse it for making us strong through loss and pain, our hearts torn from our chests again and again. Curse it for forcing us to endure.”
My favourite part of this book (apart from the Laia/Elias romance because let’s be real they’re the definition of the heart eyes emoji) are Laia and Helene’s characters. Elias is my favourite character in the whole series, but this book belongs to Laia and Helene. They’re strong and smart and when they meet? The world quakes at the sight of them. Their ending between them made me cry because there are few things that move me more than two strong female characters acknowledging the other’s strength.
And Elias, my boy, he needs a break, goddammit. His storyline as the Soul Catcher got progressively dark as the book went on, and while I’m not gonna spoil anything, all I will say is that if he doesn’t get a happy ending (preferably with Laia) I’m going to need a week off work for mourning.
I also have a newfound appreciation for Helene’s second, Harper, and her sister, Livia. I was pretty indifferent to them both beforehand, but Harper…I can’t even pinpoint exactly what it is about him that I like, I just get those good vibes from him, you know? He doesn’t treat people like shit like the rest of the Masks, and he sort of reminds me of Elias.
But Livia, my GOD that girl is a force to be reckoned with and I literally cannot wait to see where her character goes. She survives months of abuse at the hands of Emperor Marcus, but she doesn’t break. She deals with her situation as best she can, and – while she doesn’t have Helene’s brutality – she continues to plot and scheme behind closed doors. The abuse she suffers doesn’t make her bitter, and she shows enough kindness that I have high hopes for her and her place in the Scholar rebellion.
While I didn’t enjoy this book quite as much as A Torch Against The Night, it definitely made me incredibly excited (and terrified) for book four. I have such high hopes for it.