An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir: Book Review

“There are two kinds of guilt. 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.”

☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆ Goodreads Synopsis: 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.

Commentary: An Ember In The Ashes had a lot of hype earlier this year. I was hesitant to read it just because it would not live up to the hype like Red Queen or A Court Of Thorns And Roses. After reading the book, it was certainly entertaining, but still did not live up to the hype for me. It’s not my favorite book of this year, but  I do love how the book is set in ancient times. The book was really boring in the beginning, I considered dropping it. Once the trials were announced, that’s when everything got exciting. All those trials were extremely harsh. If I had to pick a favorite one, it would be the one where the aspirants were fighting magical creatures. ⤴︎ ε=ε=(ง ˃̶͈̀ᗨ˂̶͈́)۶ ⤴︎

I actually enjoy the love square in this book. I really liked Elias and Laia together, but I hope their relationship develops more in the sequel. My favorite part had to be during the Moon festival, such a cute moment between those two. But, that’s not my favorite couple, I actually like Laia with Keenan more because it felt that they had more chemistry with each other. I loved the love-hate relationship they had. Though I have a feeling  my pairing might not be endgame. I also liked the Helene and Elias relationship, though it was super complex. I feel Helene balances out Elias more than Laia. I feel pity for Helene because Elias is her unrequited love, and its must be really tough for her to witness Elias falling for Laia. Helene tried to look after Elias, but Elias kept misunderstanding her actions and it was a bit frustrating. I still feel he has romantic feelings for Helene, still hoping that Elias-Helene are end game. (╥╯θ╰╥)

Helene was amazing. She was a badass with a magical singing ability that can heal people. My goodness, she was great. My favorite character from this book, I liked her more than the two protagonists. As much as I like Helene, I did feel she was too naive. She kept putting her trust in the Empire and the Augurs, instead of her own judgement. Helene’s mission during the trials was to ensure Elias wins. She was willing to be used as a pawn in order for Elias to prevent his death. As noble as Helene is, she is also too ignorant and not compassionate towards Scholars. Because of this, Elias and Helene’s friendship becomes complex than it was before. Another character that I felt was a bit similar to Helene, had to be Laia  because Laia put her trust in the Resistance movement to save her brother without any hesitation, even though Mazen was super shady. Laia took on the mission of becoming a spy in the most dangerous location in that world, Commandant’s house. Laia was used by Mazen, he was never going to free her brother, despite her mother being the Lioness, ex-leader of resistance movement. I really liked how by the end of the novel, Laia was able to become stronger. My second favorite character had to be Izzy. She was the friend that Laia needed, and I was glad that Laia was able to secure Izzy’s freedom from slavery. I hope to see more of Izzy in the sequel. Also, I wish there were more parts with Keenan. ლ(ಠ益ಠლ

I just knew that Mazen was a traitor. ༼ つ ͠° ͟ ͟ʖ ͡° ༽つ From the moment he was introduced, there was something about him that I did not trust. My intuition was right about him. Even when Laia learned that her own brother did not trust the Resistance, that confirmed my suspicions. I find the Commandant really interesting, and I want to know why she became heartless. I want to know her backstory. I really liked her as the villain. I really did not like her, and there was only one moment in the book where I did feel slight pity for her. After finishing the book, I was amazed by how much she knew. She ends up victorious because she uses the Resistance and she has an new Emperor who she can manipulate, this really makes me excited for A Torch Against The Night. ヽ( ★ω★)ノ

There are so many unanswered questions!  ( ؕؔʘ̥̥̥̥ ه ؔؕʘ̥̥̥̥ ) First of all, who is Elia’s father? Was the commandant raped by him or did he betray her? Then, there’s also the matter of Cook. Did she end up being the traitor in the resistance that sold out Laia’s parents? What did Laia’s mother do to her to make resent her so much? I have the feeling that Laia’s parents did not die, but are in hiding. Lastly, who is that female augur that was helpful to Laia? I just hope some of these questions will be answered in the next installment. I really hope there are more point of views in the sequel. Hopefully Helene has her own pov since she is now the current Blood Shrike. Would I recommend this series? Yes, even though it was boring in the beginning. Trust me, it gets better as you keep reading.

Book Trailer

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3.7) ☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆

9 thoughts on “An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir: Book Review

  1. Excellent review I didn’t read all of it though because I was afraid of spoilers, and I am really excited to read this one. I am a little put off by the ‘love square’; like a triangle isn’t frustrating enough..haha. Still this book sounds really good; and now I know to keep going to the trials, if I get bored with it! 🙂

    Thank you for the follow! Your blog is so pretty!

  2. Aww this is such an incredible blog post! I have had time to check out your blog and it’s awesome so keep it up! (:

  3. I agree with what you said about the hype! I have to say too that it didn’t fully live up to the hype for me either… but I love the quote that you used there! And those emoticons that you use are awesome too 🙂

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