An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Series: An Ember in the Ashes #1
First published April 28th, 2015
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Dystopia
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death.
When Laia’s grandparents are brutally murdered and her brother arrested for treason by the empire, the only people she has left to turn to are the rebels.
But in exchange for their help in saving her brother, they demand that Laia spy on the ruthless Commandant of Blackcliff, the Empire’s greatest military academy. Should she fail it’s more than her brother’s freedom at risk . . . Laia’s very life is at stake.
There, she meets Elias, the academy’s finest soldier. But Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined – and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.
I can’t even believe that reading it the second time around didn’t do anything to how intense this book is! I was still constantly on the edge of my seat reading it, even tho I knew what was going to happen.
An Ember in the Ashes is about two persons’ lives that will slowly entwine together. It’s set in a world where the Martial Empire rules everything in a tenacious way. Laia is one of our MC and her brother was arrested for treason. She is now the only one who can help break him out of prison, where he suffered and would probably end up dead. She asks for the help of the Rebels, where she gets help by helping them… Her task? She has to become one of the slaves of the cruelest woman at the Empire’s Military Academy.
Elias is our other MC. He’s one of the strongest seniors at the academy and is soon graduating. But he is not the normal type of soldiers they tend to breed. Their destinies are connected, but for what?
This is an intense fantasy novel, full of blood, politics, cruelty, and magic! I was not expecting the “magic” element in it but I absolutely love it!
This book is filled with atrocious characters. They are cruel and merciless and they made me insane, and I wholly hate some of them. But sometimes even those, I couldn’t but understand them. There are such cruelty and intense moments in this book… But it’s intertwined with emotion and reasons and they just make you think, and try to understand the worst of acts…
It deals with slavery, abuse (physical and psychological), torture, rape, machismo, and a lot more. It’s doubtless not an easy fantasy world and it really messes up with your head, but it’s glorious and intense and I felt so connected with Elias and Laia!
It’s really easy to like Elias right from the beginning. Mainly because we are told and see that Masks are awful. But it’s impossible to think that about him! He hates who he is and what he does, unlike a lot of other Masks. Plus he does really feel like a good person and I loved to understand his life and why he is like he is. Also, his connection with Helen was beautiful! How they knew each other so well, and always had the other one’s back. I just really loved how loyal she was, but how deep down, he mattered more to her than rules, which surprised me since she is quite a stubborn, and relentless person.
As for Laia, I love her! She is a really good and young person, who has lost everything she held dear. How could I not have compassion for that, right? Plus, she is quite hard on herself and tries to do better every time, which I really respect. Laia evolves a lot during this book – at the beginning, she was always doubting herself, her action, her worth, but that slowly changed. She got stronger in all ways, but especially mentally. She is more sure of herself, braver and like always driven by love and loyalty. She is really warm-hearted and I can’t wait to see more of her in the next book, because that end… Wow.
I love how their stories intertwined, I think it was really well done and intense. I loved that because of that we ended up learning a lot more about the characters, which I always love, but it still didn’t lose any of the action, and both POVs had their intenseness. Because of that tho, it’s not the fastest of books, but you get so invested in it, that you don’t notice the time passing!
This is an incredibly intense story full of surprises. The characters are just awesome and you really end up caring for them! Plus, the writing also really helps! It’s extremely engaging and suspenseful. There are twists everywhere, darkness everywhere, and nothing is as it seems. It’s glorious and I highly recommend it!
Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let’s discuss it in the comments below!