An Ember in the Ashes | 5 star review
Series: An Ember in the Ashes #1
Also in this series: A Torch Against the Night
Published by Razorbill
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.
So before I start gushing about how great An Ember in the Ashes is I have to sort off explain that a huge amount of my love comes from the audiobook and the narration of the two characters point of views. The voice actors they chose really do a good job of playing their characters and I love their voices. I kinda wanna marry Jack Farrar – weird as that may be! But I have tried to read the physical book and couldn’t because I just kept hearing the voices so eventually ended up returning to the audiobook, and I am so glad I did.
I think the best thing about this book is how well Sabaa Tahir melds the two worlds together, and how they both work together to create a seamless environment. I loved the harshness of Blackcliff Academy and the beauty of the Scholar’s Quarter. They are two worlds that shouldn’t exist next to each but this book makes an environment where they work. I also think that the contrast between the two worlds was extremely well done and I also loved the empathy we were made to feel for even the worst characters in An Ember in the Ashes.
Let’s talk about characters and the angst that we feel as they move their way throughout the story. Where to begin, and this is only a small amount of the book, hence why it still earnt a 5 star rating. There were some moments in this book where I kinda wanted to smack Laia in the face. Some of the things that came out of her mouth I was sat there thinking, really?! Now is definitely not the time to bringing that into the fold! Elias, I think was perfect, just the right amount of angst and romance problems, it did run the risk of annoying me HOWEVER I had to remind myself that he was only young and it was completely normal. No matter how deadly you are.
Also I think the amount of subplot in An Ember in the Ashes deserves a mention, there is literally SO much going on in this book and it all weaves into the storyline perfectly. Nothing feels out of place or forced. I love when a book pulls a lot of people and plot points and then executes them perfectly. It really defines it as a good book in my eyes.
Getting onto recommending this book, I am sure you all know what my response is going to be. I think everyone should read this book. It has so much going on and the way everything turns out kinda makes your stomach curdle and I was sat waiting for something else to happen. Not to give too much away but the ending SUCKS. But in a good way. If that makes any sense!
Have you read this series? What did you think of it? Will it be on your favourites? Let me know!