Page Count: 464
Expected Published: February 9, 2015
Published by: HarperTeen
Genre(s): YA, Romance, Fantasy, Dystopia, Adventure, Science Fiction
My Rating: 4.75 stars
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 has been on my TBR list for about 2 months now. My lovely grandma bought me this book for Christmas, and I was so excited to read it. I had heard so much about it on BookTube, and the average rating on Goodreads was really high. I was at first skeptical of reading this book, because it was at first marketed as a standalone, and I am usually wary of fantasy standalones because they are usually done badly. I then learned that Sabaa Tahir planned on releasing a sequel! I was so excited, so that just made me even more excited to read the book.
The plot of this book was really really intriguing and the whole structure of it was phenomenal. The characters were really well rounded, really different, and really mysterious. You are constantly learning more and more about them as a person, and more about their backstories, and it was just really...amazing! It kept you on your toes, you don't know what's going to happen next. That's the whole mystery of it. The whole idea of the book is really brutal and intense, and the whole world is really unforgiving and raw.
I loved the alternative perspectives between Laia and Elias, Elias's perspective was my favorite to read just because he was such a strong character, but he was blatantly flawed. He was a young man who struggled with morals and love and his identity. He wanted freedom, and acceptance. I just loved him as a character. Don't think that I didn't like Laia as a character, but I did prefer Elias. Sometimes I felt like Laia's chapters were kind of slow, but they were still very interesting and compelling. Whenever Elias and Laia interacted with each other, their chemistry was undeniable. I don't know if I would say that I would ship them, because there's kind of a love-square going on throughout the book, but I think that I could maybe decide on a ship when I read the sequel. ;)
Sabaa Tahir's writing all throughout the novel was stunningly beautiful. Her overall tone was very raw, yet flowing, and I adored it. The story was addicting, and powerful and I cannot wait to read the sequel, A Torch Against The Night.
My Favorite Character: Elias
My Least Favorite Character: The Commander