an ember in the ashes by sabaa tahir
published: february 9th 2016
genres & keywords: young adult, fantasy, romance
series: an ember in the ashes #1
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.
.:: RATING 4.5 STARS ::.
The field of battle is my temple. The sword point is my priest. The dance of death is my prayer. The killing blow is my release.
Sweet fancy Moses. I don’t know where to begin except to say that stories like An Ember in the Ashes makes all those 1 stars and DNFs worth it. Because, eventually, you find books like this. I mean, just that quote alone gives me chills.
I could tell within the first few pages that this was going to be a winner winner chicken dinner. What makes fantasy such a difficult but rewarding genre is that absolutely anything is possible. You don’t have to follow the rules of reality, you can fabricate something to no end and as long as you can sell it, you’re in. Fantasy can go so wrong or it can go so right… and An Ember in the Ashes was right.
That’s not to say that there weren’t a few things I didn’t love. Some lines, especially in the beginning, were a little clichéd and something straight out of Dramatics 101. However, I don’t know if it was the writing that got better or the story became more captivating but after reaching the halfway point, I didn’t notice it anymore. I was making sure the world didn’t just blow up in my face within the next few paragraphs. Because let me tell you,
Shit was lit.
Some twists I had anticipated but others I didn’t see until it was too late. I mean, there were a few moments I just had to put the book down because my brain was going to melt out of my ears if I didn’t get a grip.
The world-building was incredible, the writing improved with time, and the complexity of the characters is enough to keep you engaged for days. To be completely honest, I didn’t expect this book to be as wonderful as it was. I underestimated you, book.
The killing blow is my release.
Death is coming for me. Death is nearly here.