Book Review: An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

An Ember In The Ashes CoverBook: An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Published April 2015 by Razorbill|366 pages

Where I Got It: borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: An Ember In The Ashes #1

Genre: YA Dystopic Fantasy

What It’s About: 

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.

What I Thought:

It seems like there’s been some buzz around An Ember In The Ashes, so I’m really glad that I read it not too long after it was published, because I have a tendency to not like books that have a lot of buzz surrounding them.

Anyway, I really liked An Ember In The Ashes!  It’s really different, and there is an Ancient Rome feel to it that I really liked. It was a lot darker than I expected, and this is a really cruel, harsh world that I wasn’t expecting. But it really worked, and made you hope that things would get better, and that Elias and Laia would change things.

I thought the dual narration worked really well in this book!  It’s something that’s hit or miss for me, but I really liked seeing two people who are against the Empire for different reasons, and you see how two very different people see the Empire.  I have to say, though, that I really liked seeing how much Elias changed, and his part of the story was infinitely more interesting to me than Laia’s.  Her story was interesting too, but it didn’t really get my attention the way that Elias’ did.

I found the world really fascinating, and there’s this…atmosphere that’s horrifying and creepy, and it’s a world I wouldn’t want to live it.  I could picture the Masks so well, and it’s the same with Blackcliff.  There’s so much more to this world than we see in the book, and it seems really intricate.

I’m definitely looking forward to reading the sequel, and I’m really glad there is one, because I want to be in this world more! Plus, with how the book ended, it’ll be nice to actually see where things go.  But if it were a stand-alone, I think I might be okay with that, because while it leaves things open enough for a sequel (again, I’m glad there is one), it would also be interesting to imagine where things would turn out.  I’m glad I don’t have to!

My Rating:

4 stars.  I really liked it!  It’s definitely a dark, cruel Ancient Rome-type world, but it’s such a great book!

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