An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Published April 28, 2015 by Razorbill
Genres Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance, Fantasy
Laia is a slave and Elias is a soldier; neither of them are free. In the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death and those who do not vow their themselves to the Emperor risk the execution of that only themselves, but their loved ones as well. Laia lives in this world, inspired by ancient Rome, with her grandparents and her older brother Darin. They do not challenge the Empire and as Scholars, they live on the Empire’s backstreets, doing what they can to make a living and survive because they have seen what happens to those who do. 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 Darin, Laia will risk her life to spy for them inside the Empire’s greatest military academy, Blackcliff. There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce and both he and Laia will soon learn that their destinies are intertwined and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.
I loved this book! I was afraid that with all the hype around it, it would not live up to be expectations but it did. Sabaa Tahir’s writing is amazing. Throughout the entire book, I not only saw the Serra laid out in my mind, from Blackcliff Academy to the catacombs and the large market place. The authors writing is such that you feel as if you are actually there with the characters. Her world building was incredible and it most certainly reminded me of ancient Rome. I also enjoyed that the chapters alternate perspectives between Laia and Elias, it gives readers a much better insight into the world in which they both live, but to each are very different. Another reason I really enjoyed this book was that I never once felt bored or thought that the author was dragging an event or chapter out, it flowed smoothy throughout the entire book. And I loved the characters, both Elias and Laia. I liked Laia because she started out feeling scared and didn’t really trust herself to do anything useless, but by the end of the book she felt strong and sure of her feelings and actions. I liked Elias because he was different from all of the other students at Blackcliff and seemed to have compassion and kindness when others were lacking. And I of course enjoyed the interaction between Elias and Laia whenever it occurred. I also enjoyed the other characters we got to know such as Cook, Izzi and Helene. I also really liked Elias’s grandfather, as he seemed to have some of the same compassion and kindness that Elias possesses throughout the book.
Overall, I gave this book 5 stars and I highly recommend it. The writing was great, the story line flowed well throughout the book, the story itself was fantastic and I loved all of the characters. I can not wait for the sequel A Torch Against The Night to be released next month and am going to pre-order it right now! Happy reading!