Title: An Ember in the Ashes
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
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.
It’s been three days and I’m still speechless.
First of all, I was just going to casually read a couple chapters for the few spare minutes I had. But then I kept reading and reading because I couldn’t stop, because I didn’t want to stop. I had things to do, I had NaNoWriMo! But that all faded away once I started reading.
I actually didn’t have super high expectations about the plot. Sure, it sounded interesting but it seemed a little like the generic YA fantasy book. But oh, was I surprised. It was emotional, it had so many dimensions. My heart stopped at very page. It was phenomenal. You could never quite see exactly where the story was going and that made it all the more exciting.
The characters made the story. They were just—indescribable. I felt like I knew them as well as I knew myself. They were absolutely real, they had flaws, but they tried. And it made you love every piece of them.
Now the writing. THE WRITING. It didn’t just make you see the world, it made you feel it. Not one word was wasted.
As much as I loved this book, I am also very angry at. exCUSE ME you can’t just make me lose a whole day of NaNoWriMo like that. Also, I don’t know if I’ll last a second without the sequel. I very much desire it.
Just so we’re clear, I will read absolutely anything Sabaa Tahir writes. Absolutely anything. For heaven’s sake, I’ll even read her grocery lists!