I received this book as an ARC a couple weeks before its' release on April 28th. This is hands down the best book of 2015 so far and here's why: Sabaa Tahir has created a world in which we never want to leave. She has taken Laia and motivates her with her brother being stripped from her life and she is forced to endure unspeakable things to attempt and save him. She is a prime example of female strength and everybody can take tips from her. I admire her strength and willpower. The other main character is Elias Veturius and he is very interesting. What sets him apart from most other fantasy novels is the fact that he isn't a prince or someone of high standard, well he is, but in a very different way. Elias doesn't like where he is in life, because he has to deal with his mother who he very much dislikes because she is a very strict person. He has heart and its admirable. The side character like Helene and Spiro are so incredibly important. So are Chef and Kitchen-girl. Everyone plays such a pivotal role in the plot-line and it is incredibly difficult for an author to do that and it is fantastic that she managed it! The plot is very fast-paced and it will definitely keep the attention of any Young Adult reader and of anyone who reads fantasy novels, period, even if you usually only enjoy adult fantasy. The style of the writing isn't like anything I have read before and that makes this story even more appealing to everyone. This is a wonderful novel that leaves you begging for more. As of right now it is a standalone novel, and after reading it, I NEED A SEQUEL. Go ahead and read it yourself and you will understand why a sequel is a necessity. We need more Sabaa Tahir and her wonderful writing.
The characters are extremely well developed
The plot is intriguing
The writing is so wonderful