Title: An Ember In The Ashes
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Genre: Action & Adventure/Fantasy
Release Date: April 28th, 2015
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.
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.
An Ember In The Ashes is a book that received so much hype when it was published that, even though I was extremely intrigued by the summary, I was skeptical to pick it up for a while. However, I have never been happier that I did. I practically inhaled Sabaa Tahir’s words and lived in her world. I felt the sand beneath my feet and saw the tall, black, intimidating walls of Blackcliff before me.
From start to finish, An Ember In The Ashes keeps you locked in suspense with its complicated mixture of heartbreaking and heart-mending, sweet and brutish, beautiful and ugly, dark and light turn of events and plot twists. In a world with so much raw brutality, you turn the pages hoping and praying that your favorite character doesn’t die since everything is so carefully written that you would feel, not only the pain of their loss as a person, but the pain of how they died as well.
The characters themselves are also so well developed that is almost impossible to believe they are not real. Laia and Elias are two characters from completely different worlds. Laia is a shy and terrified girl who must figure out a way to save her brother. As the novel progresses, she grows as an individual and has rational reactions to the things that are going on around her. But she really calls into question a critical idea: How much should an individual suffer for the greater good? The same character development can be said about Elias, a trained killer who becomes more humane over the span of the book.
Overall, I think all of the hype that surrounds this book is well worth it. Its a fantastic read that has quickly jumped to the top of my favorite books list.