Title: An Ember in the Ashes
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Series: An Ember in the Ashes, #1
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Number of Pages (Hardcover): 450
Date Published: April 28th of 2015
Synopsis (via Goodreads):
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: ★★★★★ (actually, it’s around 4.75 of 5)
Life is made of so many moments that mean nothing. Then one day, a single moment comes along to define every second that comes after.
I read this when I was in a slump right after reading A Court of Wings and Ruin by the Queen Maas. I was a little afraid that I won’t find a good book after it—which is preposterous, really. Well, because there’re a lot of good books in the world! But enough about ACOWAR and on to this gem!
I didn’t have high hopes for this book because I didn’t really hear much from it before. Rather, I knew more positive remarks on the book’s sequel A Torch Against the Night (which I also started reading after I finished this one, but lo and behold! The eh-I-need-a-new-story-before-I-jump-into-this-again attitude took over my life again and now I’m here, still not finished with it haha!). I had a long to-read list in my Goodreads page and I randomly picked this just because. I was pleasantly surprised with it especially because of all the feels and the ship I was hoping for!
I loved Elias’ character because, I don’t know, I have this weird thing with soldier/war stories. And by golly, it doesn’t hurt that he was painted with handsomeness all over him. 😛 Laia, on the other hand, is both vulnerable and fierce at the same time and honestly it rings so true.
Sabaa Tahir is a wondrous story-teller. She constantly kept me on my toes regarding the story of Elias and Laia. Her way of writing pulled me in right from the start. There are some instances that she makes me second-guess my ship. So, I basically root for everyone haha! (Read: I have a note in my reader that just randomly says, “THIS IS SO GOOD!”)
I, generally, liked the flow of the story. I admit there were some parts in which I felt there were dragging parts, especially for the scenarios I didn’t really care for. Nevertheless, I had a wonderful time reading this. Although it’s not really that special regarding the Fantasy genre since it felt a little too generic, I still loved the flow of the story, the plot, and especially the characters. The characters is the highlight of the whole book. The whole of this, as I have observed, is a massive world-building effort on Tahir’s part. And that’s alright—it is a series after all. So I’m going to raise my glass on Tahir’s beautiful book, An Ember in the Ashes! I will surely be revisiting the next of the series soon. I can’t wait to read (I mean, start again) the next book because there are so many loose ends and I have so many questions flying around in my head!
There will be so much more in between. So much uncertainty….But it doesn’t matter. For now, these steps are enough. These first few precious steps into darkness. Into the unknown….Into freedom.
- I feel Afya Ara-Nur would be a good ally soon
- I felt sorry for Helene. There was so much hurt and cringe-y vibes going on around this scene:
“You’re in love with me,” I say again “But I could never e in love with you, Helene. Never….”
- So many “shit I ship it” moments and I was just so kilig all the while I’m reading this! This pairing was one of the few that satiated me while I was waiting for ACOWAR! DEAR GOD. Send someone to salvage my heart oh my heavens. I’ve been sooo kilig and I’ve been caught off-guard with this beautiful, beautiful scene. AHHH I JUST LOVE THIS BOOK.
“Mmm. You strike me as a jam-maker.”
…”Because you’re so sweet.”
- My “shit I ship it” moment (I mean…one of many haha):
He’s close then, close enough for me to feel the heat of his body. The scent of cloves and rain drifts over me. I close my eyes to stop everything from lurching, but it doesn’t help. His arms are around me, hard and gentle all at once, and he lifts me up. OH MY GOSH I’M KILIIIIG!
- GUYS MY SHIP OH MY SHIP IT’S SAILING MIGHTILY IN MY OCEAN OF FEELS:
When I peek at him, I find him staring down at me, a faint smile on his lips. My breath hitches, and I cast about for something to say.
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*Cover image and Synopsis via Goodreads
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