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.
I started my read of An Ember In The Ashes and less than 48 hours later I was complete and online looking for a book two release date. April 26th 2016 – Thank you, Penguin.
I sped through each chapter not due to the length or simplicity of its writing, but rather because its entrancing words had my eyes locked on my Kindle. Sabaa Tahir has created a world vicious and cruel, and it is this world that had me captivated from the very first chapter.
I do not usually enjoy reading novels that use a changing POV, often finding myself skipping to the character I had enjoyed the most, however Sabaa invented two characters that I loved equally. Elias and Laia both walked paths of sadness and strength and it is when their stories intersect that we are swooped up in the brutality and truth of their tale.
Laia’s drive to save her brother may be the main plot path but I found it to be Elias’s desire to be more than was expected of him, to show heart and conviction rather than blind obedience to be a stronger arc to follow.
Sabba conjures descriptions that take root in your mind, living there long after you turn the last page making this a strong four star read. It only fell short in my opinion, by leaving the ending way too open. Not a standalone book, but the perfect beginning to what is sure to be a gripping series.
If you want only the hint of a love story surrounded by mythical evils, awesomely descriptive violence and two characters driven by devotion and determination to be better, An Ember In The Ashes is defiantly for you.
April 26th cannot come soon enough.
Winning a short story competition in the 3rd grade was just the beginning for Rebecca who continued to write stories and poetry through her school years. She started a family and settled into her home in a small town on the coast of NSW, continuing to feed her creativity in any way possible, creating custom cakes, original artworks and most certainly writing. Right now Rebecca is editing her new adult MS while shopping her completed childrens stories. “Believeing my characters need me to tell their story is why we do what we do.” Find her on twitter here.