Reaper at the Gates Campaign- Re-review of An Ember in the Ashes

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I am a long time fan of Sabaa Tahir’s series. An Ember in the Ashes and A Torch Against the Night are two of my very favorite books ever. Tahir’s writing is so incredibly powerful and the characters she has created are well round and so complex. I can’t wait to read Reaper at the Gates. I am so excited to be part of this campaign! I’ll be re-reviewing An Ember in the Ashes from my reread.

Review

36506218An Ember in the Ashes
By: Sabaa Tahir
Release Date: April 28, 2015
Publisher: Razorbill

Summary:
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.

My Thoughts:

An Ember in the Ashes is a marvel because it introduces the reader to this complex world without being an info dump. We, as the reader, are thrown into the story with Laia watching as loved ones are brutally murdered in front of her and then her fleeing for her life. Tahir never lets down on the action in these books. The reader always feels how high the stakes are and each page adds to the overall sense of ‘what will happen next’ Of course this keeps you riveted to the page.

This novel touched on enslavement, murder, duty and honor. This was the third time I’ve read this book and each time I’m so astonished with the depth of world building as well as how brutal things are. I think I mentally glossed over some things the first time I read. I was so eager to see what would happen next I didn’t pay as close attention to the smaller details.  I was impressed that Tahir was able to show so many aspects of her world with just two view points, Elias and Laia. The story alternates between the point of views every chapter giving the reader a look into both sides.

The characters really drove the story for me. I felt Laia’s pain and drive to save her brother from imprisonment- I have an older sister so the idea of her being held captive and not knowing if she was safe is terrifying. Because Laia left her brother and ran for safety at his bequest she is overwhelmed with guilt. The level of character growth she experienced over the course of the novel had me loving her even more and cheering for her.

Elias oh Elias. I love how complex of a character he was. I tend to enjoy his POV just a tiny bit over Laia’s. I find him a tiny bit more compelling because of his immense guilt and struggles with his duty vs. what his heart wants.  Though each time I read I do fall more and more in love with both characters. Laia is so brave and bold.  And honestly the mix of these two characters is incredible.

Helene, Elias’ oldest friend is a bit harder for me to love just because at times she allows duty to overshadow what is the right thing to do. I appreciate her dedication to Elias and each time I read I find more to appreciate about her and how well Tahir has written her character.

The world that Tahir has created was brutal and hard to read about in many sections. There are mentions of rape, abuse and all the ugly elements of what some humans are capable of. I found it disturbing, but for me, it didn’t detract from the story but helped to cement my hate for the Empire. Yep. I still felt the same- but boy some aspects are so hard to read.

Final Thoughts:

Now is the perfect time to pick up these books for the first time or again if you’ve read them! With the third book’s fast approaching pub date it is a great idea to reread and I have grown to really love the new covers. I was a bit iffy on them at first due to it being a change and change is hard. Having them on my shelves though I really love them (if only I could get them in hardcover!)

If you’ve read An Ember in the Ashes- who is your favorite character?

Campaign Schedule

AN EMBER IN THE ASHES

WEEK ONE

April 30 – PageTravels – Creative Bookstagram Picture

May 1My Friends are Fiction – Review

May 2YA Books Central – Graphic Pictures

May 3Star-crossed Book Blog – Review + Creative Instagram Picture

May 4ButterMyBooks – Review

May 5Icey Books – Creative Instagram Picture 

WEEK TWO

May 7PaperTrailYa – Reasons to Start Reading The Series

May 8The Book Feels – Review + Creative Cover Instagram

May 9A Perfection Called Books – Reasons to Start Reading The Series

May 10ABibliophilesbkm – Creative Instagram Picture + Observations Blog Post

May 11The Young Folks – Reasons to start reading the series with GIFS

May 12@DarkFaerieTales – Creative Instagram Picture

 

A TORCH AGAINST THE NIGHT

WEEK ONE

May 14PageTravels – Creative Bookstagram Picture

May 15My Friends are Fiction – Review

May 16YA Books Central – Graphic Pictures

May 17Star-crossed Book Blog – Favorite Moments In The Series + Hopes For Book 3

May 18ButterMyBooks – Helene Aesthetic

May 19Icey Books – Creative Instagram Picture 

WEEK TWO

May 21PaperTrailYa – Theories About Book Three

May 22The Book Feels – Review + Creative Cover Instagram

May 23A Perfection Called Books – Helene Appreciation Post 

May 24ABibliophilesbkm – The character’s choices, consequences, and expectations

May 25The Young Folks – Author Interview

May 26@DarkFaerieTales – Creative Instagram Picture 

WEEK THREE

May 28Fiction Fare – Reasons Why You Should Be Reading The Series

May 29Book Is Glee – Creative Instagram Post

May 30That’s Normal – Catch Up + Book Three Predictions + Fan Art

May 31Bibliophile Gathering – Favorite Moments From Book 2

June 1The Fandom – Fan Casting

June 2The Eater of Books! – 100 Thoughts I had While Reading Book Two 

 

A REAPER AT THE GATES

WEEK ONE

June 4PageTravels – Creative Bookstagram Picture

June 5My Friends are Fiction – Reasons to Read the Series

June 6YA Books Central – Graphic Pictures

June 7Star-crossed Book Blog – Elias Appreciation Post 

June 8ButterMyBooks – What to do after reading the book

June 9Icey Books – Creative Instagram Picture 

WEEK TWO

June 11PaperTrailYa – Theories About Book Three

June 12The Book Feels – Review + Creative Cover Instagram

June 13A Perfection Called Books – How our lives will never be the same

June 14ABibliophilesbkm – Creative Instagram Post + Character’s Playlist

June 15The Young Folks – What to read after you’ve finished REAPER AT THE GATES

June 16@DarkFaerieTales – Creative Instagram Picture

WEEK THREE

June 18Fiction Fare – Books To Tide You Over While You Wait For The Next Book

June 19Book Is Glee – Creative Instagram Post

June 20That’s Normal – Review + What To Read Next

June 21Bibliophile Gathering –  Favorite Character Appreciation Post

June 22The Fandom – 5 Most Important Moments in the series so far

June 23The Eater of Books! – Top Ten Reasons to Stan Laia