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An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir Review

Happy Friday Everyone!

I actually have a Friday off for a change, which is rare for me, and so I've got plenty of errands and such to get done today.

However, before all the craziness starts, I wanted to share a book review with you guys of a book I'd recently read that I'd heard so much about beforehand.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir:

Source: Purchased for myself

Publisher: Razorbill

Publication Date: April 28th, 2015

Genre: Young Adult Fiction/Fantasy


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.

*******synopsis from goodreads******

My Review:

An Ember In The Ashes is my husband's all time favorite book. So to say I'd had this book hyped up to me for the last two and a half years would be a massive understatement. I'd always been interested in giving it a try, but there was so many other books on my TBR list, that it just seemed to keep getting pushed further and further back. However, I finally took the time to give it a chance, and while I didn't feel quite as strongly about it as my hubby did, I definitely did enjoy it overall.

An Ember In The Ashes is part fantasy, part dystopian, part romance, all rolled into one action packed, explosive debut novel from author Sabaa Tahir. Told in dual perspectives, the story follows Laia; a scholar who's grandparent's have recently been murdered by the ruling military class after word gets out that her brother was assumed to be helping the scholarly resistance. On the other side of the story line is Elias, a member of the military class who's preparing to graduate from the infamous military academy. On the surface, the two characters don't appear to have much in common, but a chance meeting will spark something between them, that'll lead both of them to places they never could have seen coming.

Sabaa Tahir's world building was spot on in this one. The descriptions of the military academy had me feeling like I was right there with the characters, and the way every location was described in detail made the setting truly come to life. I appreciated this fact as I often find that fantasy novels include so many different settings that its hard to keep straight what's truly happening where. This was definitely the type of novel that earned the term action packed, as it seemed there was a new plot twist occurring around each and every corner, and every chapter left my guessing as to which way the author was going to go with it. As well, while I didn't personally care for the commandant, as she was literally the epitome of darkness and evil in the story, I did appreciate the complex dynamic that Sabaa Tahir was able to bring to life in her character's development. 

So while there were many, many points I enjoyed about this novel, there were a few that I also didn't. I knew going into this book that it was more of a gruesome young adult read, but I was prepared for that. However, it went a tad above and beyond what I was expecting, and some of the killings, and sexual attitudes of the military class we're pretty horrific, and I'd definitely give a heads up to anyone considering reading this that's squeamish about such things. As well, I'm generally not a fan of love triangles, unless they're done so well that they blend in and become a necessary part of the story. I didn't feel that was the case here, and the reader is treated to not only one triangle, but two interloping triangles, and I wasn't really a fan of either.

All in all, this debut novel is a pretty fantastic read that keeps the reader engaged from page one right until the conclusion, and the world building, writing style, and character development definitely leaves a positive impression. I'm really glad that this one is part of a series, as I can't wait to see where the author chooses to take these characters to next, and I'm really looking forward to reading more about Helene! I gave this one four out of five stars, and it'll definitely be a recommended read from me in the future.

Thanks so much for reading guys!

This is not a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. The photo does not belong to me, and all rights to the respective owners. 


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