An Ember In The Ashes (An Ember In The Ashes #1)
By Sabaa Tahir
Average Rating: 4.30
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 moment I started reading this book, I knew this would be a new favourite trilogy. The moment I started the first page, I knew I would become ungodly attached to Laia and Elias. The moment I read the last word, I knew that I would have a book hangover for weeks. The moment I entered this world, I fell in love.
This novel enchanted me with its originality and wonderful, strong characters. This book was made for me. There is literally nothing I can complain about as the story-telling, the characters, the plot twists, EVERYTHING was impeccable. I mean, looking at the average rating it speaks for itself.
First, the double POV was something I loved! It brought so much depth to Laia and Elias’s character and relationship. Tahir wrote the double POV wonderfully. It provided loads of suspense and again, I fell in love with each character through the different POVs. Not to mention, that reading about Elias’s opinion and growing feelings for Laia just made me truly swoon like a fangirl.
Laia’s character is very innocent at first. She doesn’t stand up for herself, she’s always scared, but there was that untapped potential of confidence and strength that the author brought out of her as the story continued. On a mission to save her brother, Laia must enter Blackcliff Academy and spy for the Resistance. Her unwavering loyalty to her brother is something that is inspiring and ultimately allows Laia to grow and find that courage hidden inside of her. By the end of the novel, I craved to see the next chapter of her life, and her continuing journey to saving her brother. Laia became a warrior. She became her mother and I was so, so proud of that awesome development. She rose from the ashes and became a phoenix among the fire.
Now, I’m seriously attractive to Elias. Like 110% in love, and willing to steal him away from Laia if I didn’t think they were made for each other. And they are. They ARE. I ship them so hard. ELIAS AND LAIA FOREVER. ❤ This book was full of feels that I just welcomed to my body because Tahir wrote a story that held me in its grasps and just wouldn’t let go. She had my heart, my throat, my stomach in her hands and she did what she pleased. I was wrecked while in Elias’s head. He’s sweet, he’s cold. He’s brave, he’s not. He’s a fighter, he’s still a fighter. Just everything in general from the his relationships to his backstory to the plot twists. Elias, (along with Laia of course!) was the heart and soul of this novel.
There is a slight love triangle but I really don’t care because Helene is awesome as hell! It does get resolved (I think?). The next book just needs to be released sooner for me to find out!! I really hope A Torch Against The Night is written in Helene’s POV. There’s lots of opportunities to develop her character and I really want to get inside her head, especially after that damn ending. Helene will surprise you in many ways in An Ember in the Ashes and I love how she’s the only woman at Blackcliff and is just as badass and strong as the others.
THE ACTION IS TOP NOTCH. A-mazing. Tahir introduced us to The Trials which are these tests the candidates have to go through in order to see who is worthy to be the next Emperor. Elias gets chosen as one of the candidates of The Trials and also his best friend, Helene. This provides loads of action and kickass fighting and strategy. Adventure plus the pressure for Elias to pass plus romance plus oh-my-god-moments is my cup of tea! I was engaged, I was in awe and I was speechless. This fast-paced novel didn’t lack in the action department and I couldn’t have it any other way.
An Ember in the Ashes is a perfectly written novel with everything a book addict could hope for. There is action, there is romance, there are feel-good-moments, and there are moments where you just want to curl up in a ball and never want to see the outside world ever again. There are holy-shit moments that stay with you while you go about your life because those moments are like, OH. MY. GOD. NO. WHAT. THE. HECK. NO. This book leaves a scar on your heart because you love it that much.
One of my top 2016 novels right here, guys. Go read it and enjoy.
Keep calm and read on,