Blog Tour- A Reaper at the Gates- Reasons to Read the Ember Series


As you know I am a huge fan of Sabaa Tahir and the Ember series in general! I haven’t read A Reaper at the Gates yet but I can give you reasons why you don’t want to miss this series!

  1. Elias- Yes, I said it. This character is one of my all time favorites! He is so conflicted and bold I love him. Tahir has created such an incredible character with so much depth and feeling.
  2. The strong women! The women in this book are strong as hell! They are tough as nails especially Helene. Her story has developed so much over An Ember in the Ashes and A Torch Against the Night.
  3. The Feels- Sabaa Tahir isn’t afraid to make her readers suffer. Yes, this can be painful but it also is one element of a great story. You want to feel emotions for the characters and story and you so do with these books.
  4. The Covers- aren’t they gorgeous? I love the old ones (and UK versions) so it gives you a lot to collect. You can literally have a Sabaa Tahir shelf. I love that!
  5. Each book improves upon the last. Ok, so I haven’t read the latest book yet but I just KNOW it will be an even stronger book than the prior two.

There you have it folks! Have you read any of these yet?

 

Blog Tour Re-Review for A Torch Against the Night

A Torch Against the Night
By: Sabaa Tahir
Release Date: August 30th 2016
Publisher: Razorbill
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher

Summary:
Elias and Laia are running for their lives.
After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.
Laia is determined to break into Kauf – the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison – to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.
But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene – Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.
Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own – one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape… and kill them both.

My Thoughts:
It is rare indeed when a sequel is capable of being even better than the first book- and A Torch Against the Night actually succeeded in this.

This time we join Laia and Elias as they run to escape the fall-out from the last book. We get a much broader look at the world, the Empire, and how things are for people living in this land. Laia was determined as ever to do whatever it took to save her brother from his fate in Kauf Prison. This book had a lot of traveling (which if done poorly can be dreadfully dull) but it was done so beautifully with a very even pacing and just the right amount of description to give the reader a vivid vision but never veering on too much.

One of my favorite aspects of Torch was that we got a point of view from Helene- I think we all grew to love her in the first book and I loved being able to see from her view point as well as learn more of her inner thoughts and motives. She was such a complex character, pulled in so many directions I couldn’t help but have my heart break for her. To have her tasked to find the now traitor Elias and be responsible for his demise- just AHHH. What a cruel twist.

Elias was by far, once again, my favorite character. I am so intrigued with his backstory and really everything about him. His chemistry with Laia was perfect though I could always use more scenes with the two of them together (I’m a greedy reader).

All of these characters are so well developed, and all straddle what’s good and what’s not. I love that I never exactly know who to trust-this adds a level of connection to Laia since I am learning as she does. I’m as unsure as she was about who to trust, what other’s motivations are and this adds so much to the tension. Even slower paced scenes were enveloped in tension which to me, made the entire book an incredibly fast read since I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next.

I was so happy also that we get to learn more about the fate of Laia’s brother. He was such a pivotal character for her story arc it was wonderful to learn a bit more about who he was as well as what happened to him after he was taken. And, I’ve not even mentioned yet how unpredictable the story-line was for me and how there were twists, turns and reveals that sort of blew my mind

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

The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green- Blog Tour Review

thesmokethievesThe Smoke Thieves
By: Sally Green
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Publisher: Viking

My Rating:
star

Summary:
A princess, a traitor, a hunter and a thief. Four teenagers with the fate of the world in their hands. Four nations destined for conflict.

In Brigant, Princess Catherine prepares for a loveless political marriage arranged by her brutal and ambitious father. In Calidor, downtrodden servant March seeks revenge on the prince who betrayed his people. In Pitoria, feckless Edyon steals cheap baubles for cheaper thrills as he drifts from town to town. And in the barren northern territories, thirteen-year-old Tash is running for her life as she plays bait for the gruff demon hunter Gravell.

As alliances shift and shatter, and old certainties are overturned, our four heroes find their past lives transformed and their futures inextricably linked by the unpredictable tides of magic and war. Who will rise and who will fall? And who will claim the ultimate prize?

My Thoughts:
I have been so excited about Sally Green’s newest book, The Smoke Thieves. That summary! The cover! I just knew I had to read it as soon as I could. I am so excited to be part of the blog tour and share my thoughts about this book with you.

This book was written with multiple point of views which really helped to get a great look at the cast of characters. We follow several characters on their journeys- I believe my favorite was Princess Catherine. I enjoyed seeing the world from her view. Her father was overbearing and thought very little of her. She was a pawn for him to use to strengthen his own reign. It was hard reading about how she was treated by him and even her brother. Her one bright spot was her relationship with her hand maids and Ambrose, her body guard. Like her, I clung to these little moments she could find of happiness. As the story progressed she really grew and found her voice. I am so excited to see where her character goes in the next book.

Tash was such a fun character- she was essentially demon bait. She helped lure demons into a trap where they are killed and their essence was captured. When they die they release a smoke that if captured and then inhaled by humans has drug-like effects. Her scenes had a lot of action and she was very mature for her age. I got the impression she was very young but her rough life had her dealing with far more than her age  group should be dealing with. Her dialog with her boss as well as her scenes were some of the most fun in the book- though I did feel that she was a tad less developed as some of the others. I’m hoping we get a lot more from her in the next book.

March was a hard one for me to really connect to. He was out for revenge after his people were virtually wiped out. I felt that his people as well as himself were a bit less delved into. I want to know much much more. I did like seeing him have to grapple with his feelings versus the goals he had set for himself.

With comparisons to Game of Thrones you will  expect a sweeping fantasy with a lot of characters, lands and motives. Don’t expect the level of violence you’d find in Game of Thrones but there was a lot going on and I imagine as the series continues the stakes will be raised and there will be a lot more political intrigue.

Final Thoughts:
The Smoke Thieves will give fantasy readers characters they will love and a world they’ll want to know more about. I loved that Green added demons into the mix- not often do we get them in books. I hope eventually we’ll learn more about why the demons are around and if they have thoughts, feelings and plans.

Blog Tour Review for Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

ashprincessAsh Princess
By: Laura Sebastian
Release Date: April 24, 2018
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Summary:
Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Queen of Flame and Fury, was murdered before her eyes. Ten years later, Theo has learned to survive under the relentless abuse of the Kaiser and his court as the ridiculed “Ash Princess.” Pretending to be empty-headed and naive when she’s not enduring brutal whippings, she pushes down all other thoughts but one: Keep the Kaiser happy and he will keep you safe.

When the Kaiser forces her to execute her last hope of rescue, Theo can’t keep her feelings and memories pushed down any longer. She vows revenge, throwing herself into a plot to seduce and murder the Kaiser’s warrior son with the help of a group of magically gifted and volatile rebels. But Theo doesn’t expect to develop feelings for the Prinz. Or for her rebel allies to challenge her friendship with the one person who’s been kind to her throughout the last hopeless decade: her heart’s sister, Cress.

Cornered into impossible choices and unable to trust even those who are on her side, Theo will have to decide how far she’s willing to go to save her people and how much of herself she’s willing to sacrifice to become queen.

My Thoughts:
There are some books that just resonate so well with me and this is one of them. From the start Ash Princess hit me just right. I loved the world, characters and writing. I especially loved how dark this book was. I didn’t expect such an emotional read with beautifully executed scenes that are just so raw and really moved me.

I can’t imagine what Theo has had to go through- her country was invaded and she had to witness her family murdered. Then she was kept captive and forced to live among her enemies. Every time the Kaiser had reason to be angry with her people he publicly raged at Theo. She was forced to bear the brunt of his anger and also be his public demonstration of hate for her people. Every major gathering she was forced to wear a crown made of ashes. These scenes were so, so vivid and just wow. So powerful. I can’t imagine how angry and lonely she would be. I loved this aspect because instead of crumbling she had a spark of hope and fight within her. I loved watching that spark grow and seeing her form relationships even with those she should hate.

I felt all the characters were beautifully complex. The relationships were my favorite aspect. Since Theo has been raised with her enemies she can’t help but have made friends with the daughter of one of her captors. It is such a complex situation Theo finds herself in. I couldn’t help but wonder what I would do in her situation.

Be aware- since Theo lives with her family’s murders there are some brutal whippings and she withstands a lot of abuse at the hand of the Kaiser. It isn’t pleasant to read but I felt it was done very well. This book deals with a lot of heavy themes but I didn’t have trouble reading it and in fact I felt it was a very compulsive read and I couldn’t’ stop reading. I had to know what would happen next.

Final Thoughts:
I loved Ash Princess and I am desperate to read more of Theo’s story. I was so impressed with Sebastian’s writing and the inner struggles of her characters. This book wasn’t a happy read but it was beautifully done and very emotional.