[Review] An Ember in the Ashes

Release date: 28 Apr 2015

Name: An Ember in the Ashes
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Series: An Ember in the Ashes #1
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy
Pages: 457
Rating: ★★★★★

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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.

The Good

• Laia and her loyalty to her family is so admirable like I don’t even know how to breath at times

• Elias, dear sweet traumatized Elias, I would already give up my life to save you. You are a muffin and you will not be burned!

• Helene. I don’t know about you yet fam. I mean, I’ve seen some things so I’m holding out on forming an opinion. SUSPISH.

Bailey knows what’s up.


• I love that while I love a heavy romance, I was fine with the scraps we were given because the storyline and action and characters were just so beyond amazing that I hardly noticed I wasn’t getting as much goods as I’d normally like.

• Tahir has created this amazing world full of detail and beautiful imagery that I immediately fell in love. I love the concept of the different factions as well as the kind of dystopian-esque feeling of the Commandant and her whole business. It’s like Streets of Laredo meets a bit of Shatter Me. I know that’s a hot mess of comparison but I don’t even know what to liken it to. It’s a whole world of it’s own and I LOVE IT.

• I never got bored. Not once. I often judge my enjoyability of a book on how much I think about it when I’m not reading and if I think about when I will allot time to read it later on. I thought about this one a lot. I didn’t get to read it as quickly as I would have liked because of real life things but every chance I got I was reading it. I could not stop.

• Tahir does a fabulous job creating characters you absolutely loathe and ones you love unconditionally. Izzi is such a brave and beautiful friend and I have so much hope for her. Cook-I feel like we know her already and I’m suspish-is no nonsense but has a wealth of knowledge that we must have.

• Keenan. We are SUSPISH.

The Bad

• I mean, nothing really.

• I love slow burns. Honestly, I do. But like…we’ve only gotten a whiff and wasn’t it delightful! I just wanted a tiny taste to add to it. We are sads.

Final Thoughts

I’ve talked about this a few times on here and emphasized how I had been putting it off until it was completed because I heard the feels are just..right in the gut. I can only take so much of that and seeing as how I didn’t really discover it until book three was already out, I figured I could be patient.

So anyways, I’m so glad I waited and will be able to read it all in one fell swoop because I am hooked. I am SO anxious to see how Laia and Elias get through their pickle. I am so anxious to see how their relationship continues to grow and how they learn to trust in both themselves and each other. I honestly want to see the Commandant curb stomped. I feel like there is some trauma history with Marcus so I haven’t determined yet whether he deserves a curb stomp or not. The empire has just entered a whole clusterfuck of noise and I’m not even sure where to look first but I can’t wait to see where this goes!

Quality Quotables

“All the beauty of the stars means nothing when life here on earth is so ugly.

“I saw how you looked at her. That day when she brought us to the Commandant’s house before the Trial of Courage. Like she was water and you were just dying of thirst.”

“But there are two kinds of guilt, girl: the kind that drowns you until you’re useless, and the kind that fires your soul to purpose.”

“Maybe we don’t have to be Scholar slave and Mask.” I drop the dagger. “For tonight, maybe we can just be Laia and Elias.”

“There are two kinds of guilt,” I say softly. “The kind that’s a burden and the kind that gives you purpose. Let your guilt be your fuel. Let it remind you of who you want to be. Draw a line in your mind. Never cross it again. You have a soul. It’s damaged, but it’s there. Don’t let them take it from you, Elias.”

“Fear is only your enemy if you allow it to be.”

2 thoughts on “[Review] An Ember in the Ashes”

  1. OH MY GOSH YESS. I’m currently in the middle of reading A Sky Beyond the Storm and ahhhhh reading this review has made my obsession flare up all over again. Elias and Laia are both so precious and my love for Elias is probably unhealthy but I don’t even care at this point okay 😂😭 Brilliant review ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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