Review – Lies That Bleed


Lies That Bleed


The Ember War #1


Leia Stone




For tonight, we either lived or died in The Wilds. Nothing else mattered.
As the daughter of the emperor, Aisling Everhart was born into privilege. She has trained her entire life to go into The Wilds and have a chance at bonding with a creature that can give her unknown power. Half of the candidates will die the first night, and only a few will make it out. Those who survive the bonding are quickly conscripted into the Imperial Fleet to join the war.

What Aisling never could have prepared for, was Kohen Badshah, former prince of Imbria, her father’s sworn enemy. When Kohen proposes an unlikely alliance, she accepts. They enter The Wilds together, and Aisling realizes that she was woefully unprepared, especially when nothing goes to plan.

After barely surviving, she’s thrust into the Imperial Fleet to learn how to control her new gifts, but as her power grows, so do the dangers—including multiple attempts on her life. When you don’t know who is friend or enemy, it’s hard to trust, but Kohen Badshah appears to be protecting her.

It’s that or he’s playing one excellent long game. Which one, only time will tell.


5stars rating

I absolutely devoured this one… I read it in one sitting and just had to know how it ended.
Of course, we have a steep cliffhanger, and book two is only scheduled for the end of the year… but that’s okay (no, I’m lying; it really isn’t).


The world-building is a bit of a slow burn. People say the book is like a cross between The Hunger Games, Divergent, and Forth Wing, and I can see that (even though I didn’t care for The Hunger Games much)!
We start with the Lottery, choosing a select few out of thousands of candidates who will get the honor of fighting for their lives to bond with an animal and receive their magical powers. This, of course, is highly regulated and rigged to get those the emperor favors. Those who survive get to train in a month-long boot camp to learn how to work with said bonds and their newfound powers.

As world-building goes, we only learn what we need to know right now, which keeps things mysterious. You know that the emperor is keeping many things close to his chest. And as always, there are two sides to a story… Especially about the Blackout and the Imbrians – super important stuff, more so because our swoon-worthy hero, Kohen, is the Imbrian prince!

Character development:

We don’t know much about him yet, but let me tell you, this guy has it all, not just looks-wise but personality, too. He cares deeply for his people and goes above and beyond to help them and keep them safe. And for some reason, he has included Aisling in that select group.

Our heroine, Aisling, is, well, ever the dutiful daughter of the emperor. Her story starts out with betrayal, shock, and distrust. No matter what happens, her need to prove herself to her father by bonding with a powerful animal (but not too powerful to rise above his own) and perhaps gaining some affection that way says a lot about their family dynamic.
I often wanted to shake her for not seeing past Kohen’s background (like, a lot, a lot). Argh, open your eyes, idiot! He clearly cares! Hopefully, she gets more of a clue (and a kick in the behind) in the next installment.

I’m not going to say anything about the animals they both end up bonding to nor the powers they received, because while they are amazing, I don’t want to spoil anything… but really, Liana and Onyx are fantastic 😀

The characters are all very well written and feel real. Even the sidekicks, like Anika and Tetra, have their own stories, and I can’t wait to learn more about everyone!

Pacing & Flow:

This book is fast-paced with constant action. If you think you’ll be able to put this one down when you’ve started it, think again 😀
Be prepared for the gamut of feels (yes, already in book one), though I have to say, frustration with Aisling is a big part of that.

Final Thoughts:

As I said, I LOVED it! I highly recommend checking it out!