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Reader’s Notes:

– this is book one of a duology

– this is told from Talin’s point of view

– there are creatures (called Ghosts) that sound like a mix of zombies and vampires and are described to have rotting flesh; Ghosts were once human

– there is war (so a lot of violence, death, killing, blood, and description of dead bodies- not overly gory detail)

– a character is physically and verbally abused by their family (physically is not shown on page, just the resulting wounds mentioned)

– there is a male/male relationship


When I first started the book, I debated on putting it down due to the Ghosts because I really don’t do creepy horror-like creatures/stories. But I pushed through due to liking dystopian stories and wanting to read this one. Honestly, I don’t regret it. The creepy feel was mostly contained to that beginning part (there were a few much smaller moments in the story but I found them to be more manageable). As for the rest of the story, I quite enjoyed it! I loved the kick butt characters and the story/world that Marie Lu weaved. I loved Talin’s friends and their interactions together and with Talin’s mother. There were enough questions that needed to be answered in the story as I went to keep me on the edge of my seat and want to know more. I enjoyed the progression of this story and I can’t wait to know what’ll happen in book two.

Talin is a Striker, someone trained with deadly skills and tasked to use them to defend Mara, the last free nation. But not everyone that Talin is to protect sees her as one of their saviors. They only see her as an outcast who should have never been allowed to be a Striker. And this is only reinforced when Mara captures one of the enemy and she asks that his life be spared. It didn’t matter that she did it because she believed he had more information than he had given. They just wanted another reason to despise her.

But as Talin spends more time with the prisoner, she finds that her instincts were right. There is something more to him than he showed. There is more that he knows that could change the tide of war. But Talin is going to need to dig to find it out. And hope that her search ends before the enemy tries to take Mara with a stronger force.