Series: An Ember in the Ashes #1
Published by Razorbill on February 9th 2016
Format: Audiobook, Hardcover
Source: Audiobook, Hardcover, My Own
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.
From the Hardcover edition.
“An Ember in the Ashes” by Sabaa Tahir is a book that I have been waiting on jumping on the band wagon. It wasn’t one that I was refusing to read, it was more a book that I wanted to read but because it was posted everywhere I wanted to wait. The waiting is up now and I am finished. I really enjoyed “An Ember in the Ashes.” I thought the book was extremely good.
The world building was impressive. I thought Tahir did an excellent job with her world building. I wasn’t expecting to have such a thought out world to immerse myself into. This world is one of the most brutal worlds I have experienced though. There is so much hate and harm. Even people who like each other harm one another. It is definitely not a place I would want to live. I also think it truly gave the characters some obstacles to overcome.
I wasn’t completely sold on the characters in the beginning. It took me a couple of minutes to figure out whether or not I was going to like anyone. Then as the book progressed, I began to fall in love with the characters. Laia started out as a terrified girl and by the end of the book she was the bravest of the brave. I really admire Laia for that. I felt like I could take a few lessons from Laia on how to be tough. Laia was very naive girl. She was too frightened to do anything about her life. I think trying to save her brother gave her a goal to work towards so she would no longer be afraid but be determined. The way she took everything in and the emotions she felt was so refreshing. I really liked having a main character that felt life so deeply.
Elias. I thought Elias was never going to stick up for himself which was something that I was really worried about. I didn’t want to end up hating the main male lead in the book. I liked that he ended up progressing quite nicely. Elias had a huge inner conflict of freedom. He wanted to escape and get away from the world that he is in but then he is given a chance to either leave or move forward. I am glad that Elias moved forward because running away felt a bit like a cop-out. I am glad that he was able to develop a backbone because that is what I wanted to see from him the most.
I didn’t get the romance all the time. I understand that there is infatuation, but I don’t really feel like there was ever a real romance. Everyone seemed to have a crush on two people but that really was all it was a crush. I didn’t feel like there was a lot of romance to this story. I will wait and see if things develop further in book two or if it will become an instalove situation. I don’t feel like there is a huge romance foundation just yet.
My biggest disappointment with “An Ember in the Ashes” is all the rape talk. I feel like the constant talk of rape was way too much. I was like, “Okay, I get it now.” Rape is a real thing but I don’t think we need to consistently throw it in people’s faces. I wish there was a little less of that. All this beating and hitting. Gosh. I know this is not a world I would want to live in at all.