An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Publication Date: April 28, 2015 by Razorbill
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
[Special thanks to the publisher for the review copy!]
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.
An Ember in the Ashes was action-packed right from the start – important details were revealed (or at least hinted) right away, and once you realize that, you’ll freak out a little. At first I felt it was information overload, but I was glued to the story. Later I figured that I actually needed those tidbits. So when you read something you feel like taking note of, do it. DO IT.
There were a lot of kilig moments – and I like that the romantic relationships are a bit complex than usual. I wasn’t really sure who ends up with who. But I’m Team Laias all the way. ❤
As my questions from the early chapters were answered, the deaths get more intense. So much death is in this book, and I even got a little emotional because of a scene that I pictured in my head.
For me, there was so much death because the Empire was really chaotic. Each death meant something. The characters’ actions were influenced by these deaths. Their urge to fight was driven by their grief.
Some died for family. Some died for friends. And these deaths reflect a lot about human relationships. We die for people we love. We die for people we care for. In the worst of times, when there’s so much evil and it’s too dark, it’s when we see how far people would go for humanity.
Some questions still need to be answered, and a lot of secrets are yet to be revealed.
An Ember in the Ashes is a bold and ruthless journey to freedom. And it’s just the beginning. The adrenaline coaster is about to take you higher, so buckle up.
Final Rating: 5/5