An Ember in the Ashes
By Sabaa Tahir
Reading Level: Medium/Difficult
Review: 5 / 5
Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told.
What if you were the spark that could ignite a revolution?
For years Laia has lived in fear. Fear of the Empire, fear of the Martials, fear of truly living at all. Born as a Scholar, she’s never had much of a choice.
For Elias it’s the opposite. He has seen too much on his path to becoming a Mask, one of the Empire’s elite soldiers. With the Masks’ help the Empire has conquered a continent and enslaved thousands, all in the name of power.
When Laia’s brother is taken she must force herself to help the Resistance, the only people who have a chance of saving him. She must spy on the Commandant, ruthless overseer of Blackcliff Academy. Blackcliff is the training ground for Masks and the very place that Elias is planning to escape. If he succeeds, he will be named deserter. If found, the punishment will be death.
But once Laia and Elias meet, they will find that their destinies are intertwined and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.
In the ashes of a broken world one person can make a difference. One voice in the dark can be heard. The price of freedom is always high and this time that price might demand everything, even life itself. (Goodreads)
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Hello my fellow bibliophiles! Maybe not everybody knows this, but this was one of my MOST anticipated books of the year, and I was SO excited when I finally got my hands on it.
First off, the setting? Can we just agree that it might be one of the coolest settings ever? Like, I can’t get over it. Gladiator is my favorite movie, which might be one of the reasons as to why I really wanted to read this book, but a fantasy Rome? Sign me up. Now. And, after reading the book, might I add that Tahir did an EXCELLENT job of creating this amazing world. My expectations were exceedingly high, and they were met. And then some.
I also loved the relationship dynamics that occurred throughout the book. There were just really interesting, and not what I expected. Again, like everything in this book, there was just more to them than what I’d thought. Elias and Laila, especially, relate to one another in ways which I hadn’t expected. And… ARGH! It is so great.
Plot-wise, this book took me places I didn’t expect – and whoa. I am usually very gullible, and I will believe most things that happen, and I never see plot-twists coming… but did anybody imagine that this book would end where it did? That the stuff that happened actually happened. And it was so brutal sometimes. The things these characters go through – I know I would have cracked under that sort of pressure.
But still, these characters aren’t without their faults. They make mistakes, same as everyone. They aren’t perfect. But they are still so incredibly strong, and frankly, cool. I know that I want to be at least a little bit like them, because their resilience is as admirable as it is infectious.
This is one of my favorite books of 2015, and whether you are boy or girl, young or old, you should seriously consider buying it. It is epic, and I cannot wait for the next one.
Have a wonderfully bookish day, and I’ll see you later!