Harsh and Brutal: An Ember in the Ashes

Quickie Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Title: An Ember in the Ashes
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Pages: 446
Publisher: Razorbill
Publish Date: February 9, 2016
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Synopsis: 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.

Okay, I loved this book. If you follow my blog on Facebook, you would know that I'm on a really big fantasy kick at the moment. (Remember my contemporary one at the beginning of last year? This is very, very similar.) So I finally decided to pick up An Ember in the Ashes, and I loved what I was introduced to.

I thoroughly enjoyed the world Tahir created. I like the school, I like the races. I love the whole concept of the soldiers and the servants. I just really enjoyed reading this book and appreciated it's uniqueness. Sometimes I just need to read something totally different, you know?

I sped through An Ember in the Ashes. It was such an easy read and the plot moved fairly quickly. It was very eventful, and one event happened right after another. I really enjoyed it because it kept my interest.

I do really like the characters. I've grown quite attached to them (especially since I'm currently reading book #2). I feel like I really got to know them, and there were a lot of different personalities.

Sometimes I would forget Elias is a Mask because of how his voice was written. I didn't think his tone and voice really suited him since he was supposed to be this big, bad tough guy. Granted, he didn't want to be a Mask but I don't think he should have such a winy attitude at times. Since he's been training since he was a young boy, you would think he wouldn't be overly concerned with girls and small issues. I was still a fan of his character, but I think he could have been better.

The character development for Laia was kind of insta-develop. Like at first she's too afraid to save her brother, Darin, and boom, she's ready to fight off the Commandant. It was a little too quick for my liking.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book. It was something totally different, which I'm always a sucker for. I definitely recommend this if you're looking for some good fantasy works in your life!

About the Author

Sabaa Tahir grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s 18-room motel. There, she spent her time devouring fantasy novels, raiding her brother’s comic book stash and playing guitar badly. She began writing An Ember in the Ashes while working nights as a newspaper editor. She likes thunderous indie rock, garish socks and all things nerd. Sabaa currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.