Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Title: An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1)
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: April 28th 2015

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free. Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear. It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do. But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy. There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. 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.

So I am 3 days post reading An Ember in the Ashes and I'm still a little numb at the ending. (I will explain below when I explain my character ships.) I never really understood the hype for this book, meaning: it sounded amazing, it got raving reviews the original cover is stunning, ect. Books get such big hypes sometimes and it makes me hesitant. I've always been meaning to read this but I just never got around to it. I currently have a TBR pile about a mile high but I decided to finally read this one. OH. MY. GOD. It lived up to the hype and now I am obsessed and feel shitty for not reading it sooner. I'm not even joking when I say I devoured this book in two sittings (first time I read 120 pages, second time I read the remaining 330.) Sabaa created a beautiful story and world the shows sacrifice for the ones we love and that the most unlikely faces can turn out to be your allies. 

Laia is a Scholar who lives a quiet life with her grandparents and brother until one day a Mask kills her grandparents and captures her brother. Racked with guilt about running rather then saving Darin, Laia seeks out help with the group she is convinced is to blame about the horrid events: The Scholar Resistance. In their agreement to break her brother out of prison Laia most pose at the Commandant's slave. The Commandant is the head of the Blackcliff school for the brutal training of Masks. The Commandant is brutal woman devoid of human emotion and will kill with out a second thought. Laia soon meets Elias a Mask who is suppose to have nothing to do with the slave. Elias has struggles of his own, he is in a deadly competition with his best friend Helene and two other Masks to become the next emperor of the Martials. Full of sacrifice and in finding who you are An Ember in the Ashes is a thrill ride from the first page and doesn't stop until the last. 

An Ember in the Ashes is told in dual perspective which I love. Elias and Laia each have their own voices and it is amazing to see the ends of the same issues from supposed enemies. I admire Laia's strength and courage where so many have given up, her love and dedication to saving her brother, endured her to go through horrific forms of torture under the hand of the Commandant and she did not give up. Elias is on the side of the enemy, but in the first chapter we learned that he originally planned on deserting his life as a Mask and being a wanted man the rest of his life. With him staying behind you are able to see his struggle between what is moral and what isn't. 

Now, I love Helen and Elias together BUT I love Elias and Laia together BUT I wouldn't mind Laia and Keenan together either. See my dilemma? My Elias and Helene ship is what made the ending to An Ember in the Ashes so painful. I have so many different ships for this book and I have a feeling my heart is going to be shredded by the end of this series. The romance does play a part in the book. But it really helped the story come to life. I am really eager to see where Sabaa is going to take these characters and their relationships in the next three books. 

In the end I love this book and Sabaa very much. She is a beautiful writer and created a beautifully story that is well loved by many readers. I am really eager and excited to see the places she is going to bring this series. All in all this is one of my favorite books that I have read this year.

1 comment

  1. I LOVED this book! I discovered it this year, I didn't even know this book existed (I'd probably heard the title, but not more than that) but then I read it and it cut through my reading slump like WOAH. It'd been a while since I'd read one of those books that you can get lost in.
    I hope you like the 2nd one, I think it's wonderful too, so many awesome characters <3<3<3.


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