ARC Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Title: An Ember in the Ashes
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Published: June 4th 2015
Page Number: 400
Rating: 4/5


What if you were the spark that could ignite a revolution?
For years Laia has lived in fear. Fear of the Empire, fear of the Martials, fear of truly living at all. Born as a Scholar, she’s never had much of a choice.

For Elias it’s the opposite. He has seen too much on his path to becoming a Mask, one of the Empire’s elite soldiers. With the Masks’ help the Empire has conquered a continent and enslaved thousands, all in the name of power.

When Laia’s brother is taken she must force herself to help the Resistance, the only people who have a chance of saving him. She must spy on the Commandant, ruthless overseer of Blackcliff Academy. Blackcliff is the training ground for Masks and the very place that Elias is planning to escape. If he succeeds, he will be named deserter. If found, the punishment will be death.

But once Laia and Elias meet, they will find that their destinies are intertwined and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

In the ashes of a broken world one person can make a difference. One voice in the dark can be heard. The price of freedom is always high and this time that price might demand everything, even life itself.  

I'm definitely not a fantasy reader, but with An Ember in the Ashes picking up incredible reviews describing it as a fantasy set in an ancient Rome like world, I knew I had to read it. And Sabaa Tahir did not disappoint.
Most fantasy books start off small, slow and drag on forever and ever, but not this. Literally from page 1 there was action that had me gripped. The descriptions had me picturing the scenes in my head, and I felt like I was watching the movie. Within 3 chapters my mind had been blown. The characters of Laia and Elias were great and very relatable, although Elias did sometimes get on my nerves, but I'll talk about that later. What I found so fresh about the book was that it was very intense and certainly memorable. I would not want the live in that world, trust me, no one would.
One thing Sabaa Tahir does extremely well is character development. In the beginning, Laia was very loyal to her family, but scared. She didn't know what was going to happen, she knew that she needed to help her brother even if one part of herself was reluctant. However, by the end of the novel the Laia we read about in the beginning was certainly not the same girl. Her character growth was so great to read. She went from being a girl to being a woman and took on everything she could to save her brother. And it was the same with Elias. Yes, he's grown up being this incredible, intelligent fighter, but he grew as a person. He accepted the differences, he became stronger, although I do have one major problem with him, and that was his underestimating of Helene. He often questioned her abilities and his sexism just got on my nerves. But it's part of that world.
The ending certainly left off on a cliff-hanger, but luckily for us, Sabaa recently announced she had signed another contract for a second book. And I am looking forward to it!
I was sent an ARC from the publishers for an honest review

1 comment

  1. This sounds fantastic! I definitely want to read it :)