Title: An Ember in the Ashes
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
Series: An Ember in the Asher #1
Format: Published April 28th 2015 by Razorbill
Source: Own copy; bought in Fully Booked
“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 that.”
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 swordpoint is my priest. The dance of death is my prayer. The killing blow is my release.”
The rave of this book by nearly everyone whose read it is all I’ve ever seen since this was released. With intense raving comes high expectations so before I started reading this, I was scared. I didn’t want my expectations ruining my reading experience but then I read it. I’m very happy to say it deserved all the raves!!!!
“There are two kinds of guilt, girl: the kind that drowns you until you’re useless, and the kind that fires your soul to purpose.”
It is one of the most intense books I’ve ever read. The action just kept coming and my heart just kept raising until I felt it was about to be a full blown heart attack (good thing that didn’t happen or I would have died and with my death, I wouldn’t have been able to finish the book)
This book has alternating POV’s between Elias, a soldier, and Laia, a slave. Two totally opposite people/worlds so being able to read from both POV’s was amazing. It made me understand where they were both coming from. But the ironic thing about it is though they’re from two different worlds, they want one thing— to be free. It’s what bonds them. They both want to change the Empire and I believe that they are the change!
“I do not doubt. I do not hesitate. I am the Lioness’s daughter, and I have the Lioness’s strength.”
This book doesn’t just have a love triangle people but a love square! So Elias has Helena a fellow soldier. They are best friends and Helena seems to like him like him (I mean who wouldn’t?!) and Elias is kind of having those feelings too but he pushes them back because it might ruin their friendship. Honestly, I don’t get this. Isn’t it the best thing ever if your boyfriend/husband is also your best friend?! But I don’t mind for as long as my Elias and Laia ship will sail!
Then we have Keenan, who is kind of the “partner” of Laia. He is (of course) handsome as well. At first, he acts very jackassy but then changes. He’s so shy and sweet. He will make you go “Awwwww!” and I love him for that but as I said I’m Team Elias!
“I stare at her, realize I’m staring, tell myself to stop staring, and then keep staring.”
Laia is drop dead gorgeous. When she enters the room, all eyes are on her. That’s why she’s in danger being in the Empire, because men there are disgusting beings who just rape servants. Especially Marcus, who I swear when I get a chance to see him face to face I will crush his balls very slowly and I will enjoy doing it. Girls don’t deserve that kind of treatment.
This book gave me the Game of Thrones feels. Being that the house Veturius has a motto “Always victorious” and they are all fighting for a throne. Also, we have the Commandant. She is like a Ramsey and Joffrey rolled in one. If you guys haven’t watched GoT (you definitely should! but make sure you’re over 18 because of very explicit content) Ramsey and Joffrey are the most evil human beings (I believe that they’re not human beings more like the devil’s pawn) you’ll ever meet. Yup, be scared.
“Do what I tell you, when I tell you. Or you’re dead.”
The Commandant has no soul. She is evil. I want to rip her eyes (and everything that is rip-able and unrip-able) out and see how she likes it! SHE IS EVIIIIIIIL!
Since they are all fighting for one throne, they have these Trials to see who fits best to be Emperor. Believe me, you will be catching your breath during these Trials. Especially the third one… too intense for my life.
“He never seemed to focus on what could turn out wrong. He only ever thought about how things could turn out right.”
This book was originally meant to be a standalone but because of popular demand, Sabaa will make a second book! YEHEY!!! I absolutely can’t wait. Need more Laia and Elias. So if you love fantasy/ you want to give the fantasy genre a try. This book is for you!
PS: I asked Sabaa if GoT inspired her and she said that she watched the show after she wrote Ember! So I guess she has some George R.R. Martin fierceness in her!