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.
An Ember in the Ashes
By: Sabaa Tahir
Release Date: April 28, 2015
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.
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.
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?
AN EMBER IN THE ASHES
April 30 – PageTravels – Creative Bookstagram Picture
May 1 – My Friends are Fiction – Review
May 2 – YA Books Central – Graphic Pictures
May 3 – Star-crossed Book Blog – Review + Creative Instagram Picture
May 4 – ButterMyBooks – Review
May 5 – Icey Books – Creative Instagram Picture
May 7 – PaperTrailYa – Reasons to Start Reading The Series
May 8 – The Book Feels – Review + Creative Cover Instagram
May 9 – A Perfection Called Books – Reasons to Start Reading The Series
May 10 – ABibliophilesbkm – Creative Instagram Picture + Observations Blog Post
May 11 – The Young Folks – Reasons to start reading the series with GIFS
May 12 – @DarkFaerieTales – Creative Instagram Picture
A TORCH AGAINST THE NIGHT
May 14 – PageTravels – Creative Bookstagram Picture
May 15 – My Friends are Fiction – Review
May 16 – YA Books Central – Graphic Pictures
May 17 – Star-crossed Book Blog – Favorite Moments In The Series + Hopes For Book 3
May 18 – ButterMyBooks – Helene Aesthetic
May 19 – Icey Books – Creative Instagram Picture
May 21 – PaperTrailYa – Theories About Book Three
May 22 – The Book Feels – Review + Creative Cover Instagram
May 23 – A Perfection Called Books – Helene Appreciation Post
May 24 – ABibliophilesbkm – The character’s choices, consequences, and expectations
May 25 – The Young Folks – Author Interview
May 26 – @DarkFaerieTales – Creative Instagram Picture
May 28 – Fiction Fare – Reasons Why You Should Be Reading The Series
May 29 – Book Is Glee – Creative Instagram Post
May 30 – That’s Normal – Catch Up + Book Three Predictions + Fan Art
May 31 – Bibliophile Gathering – Favorite Moments From Book 2
June 1 – The Fandom – Fan Casting
June 2 – The Eater of Books! – 100 Thoughts I had While Reading Book Two
A REAPER AT THE GATES
June 4 – PageTravels – Creative Bookstagram Picture
June 5 – My Friends are Fiction – Reasons to Read the Series
June 6 – YA Books Central – Graphic Pictures
June 7 – Star-crossed Book Blog – Elias Appreciation Post
June 8 – ButterMyBooks – What to do after reading the book
June 9 – Icey Books – Creative Instagram Picture
June 11 – PaperTrailYa – Theories About Book Three
June 12 – The Book Feels – Review + Creative Cover Instagram
June 13 – A Perfection Called Books – How our lives will never be the same
June 14 – ABibliophilesbkm – Creative Instagram Post + Character’s Playlist
June 15 – The Young Folks – What to read after you’ve finished REAPER AT THE GATES
June 16 – @DarkFaerieTales – Creative Instagram Picture
June 18 – Fiction Fare – Books To Tide You Over While You Wait For The Next Book
June 19 – Book Is Glee – Creative Instagram Post
June 20 – That’s Normal – Review + What To Read Next
June 21 – Bibliophile Gathering – Favorite Character Appreciation Post
June 22 – The Fandom – 5 Most Important Moments in the series so far
June 23 – The Eater of Books! – Top Ten Reasons to Stan Laia