Elias is top of his class and comes from a good family. Enrolled in the militant academy, he's almost at the highest level, a mask. However, he doesn't exactly agree with the way things are done and resents for everything the mask stands for. He plans on deserting until he is chosen as a contender for the next emperor.
Elias and Laia clash within the school. He's taken with her while she...is weary of him.
I have trouble reviewing this book because so much of it was the two separate stories of Elias and Laia. Not a ton of intermingling until the very end. I think I enjoyed Elias' story more because there was more at stake, more action, and really, Elias' best friend Helene is a great character. In fact, I'd say she's more developed then Laia was. I hope to see more of her.
Laia's story really hits home on the theme that you can't judge a book by a cover and not everything is black and white. Elias isn't all bad and the resistance isn't all good. Though, that latter point was really obvious, and could have been much better hidden. I was pretty annoyed with the predictability there.
The Romance is...there...to possibly develop. There was a love triangle...square and it was kind of annoying. Didn't really care for the resistance guy who was liked Laia (it felt forced) but I loved Helene. Anyway, I'm not sure if I actually like Elias and Laia together, but again- that plotline just really wasn't developed enough as it should have been by the end of the first book, but I'm hopeful to see where it goes.