An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (Ember Quartet #1)
Published by Razorbill on April 28th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, 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.
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir is the first book in a now announced high fantasy quartet. It follows a slave girl and a soldier; both wanting an escape from the hellish lives they are forced to live. I can’t sit here any longer and contain my inner fanboy, because I LOVED it!
I feel like I am super behind on the Ember train since this book came out three years ago with so much hype surrounding it. And that was one of the many reasons why I neglected to pick it up; I didn’t want to be disappointed. But I’m now wanting to travel back in time and slap my past self for doing this.
Let me tell you why I loved it so much. An Ember in the Ashes was EPIC. Seriously. The story line is so immersive and grand that I can’t believe this book was ever pitched as a stand alone. I mean come on! With an ending like that there was no way there wouldn’t be a sequel.
The characters were quite interesting and fun to read. I was becoming more and more invested in their stories that I was so sad when it ended. (Low-key glad I waited until now since I get books 2 and 3 right away).
I know Laia could come off as whiny sometimes, but I also thought that made her a strong character because she was able to show growth by the end. I like my MC’s with flaws, and I like to see them overcome them and come out stronger in the end. I know she is going to get even more fierce as the story goes on.
And poor little Elias. My sweet little assassin soldier. He is just not cut out to be the ruthless killer the empire and his mother wished he was. And I am totally okay with that because, it means he has a heart and conscience. He is human. He has to make some tough choices but he is also willing to die for the greater good.
So I’m going to stop here and go into hiding as I devour book two and three!
Have you read An Ember in the Ashes? What did you think of it?
Let me know in the comments!
Until next time,
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.