|Read from May 12 to 15, 2015|
Published: April 28, 2015
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin)
Page Count: 446 pages
Series: An Ember in the Ashes, #1
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.
CANNOT COMPUTE HOW FANTASTIC THIS WAS. I'm an absolute sucker for a good fantasy novel, but woah, this novel absolutely blew me away. Thrilling and un-put-down-able, An Ember in the Ashes is truly one of a kind. I've never read anything like this; it's been weeks since I've finished this and it's still on my mind. I absolutely loved this.
Whenever there is major hype surrounding a book, it's easy to have expectations and be disappointed when they're not met. However, I can fully say that An Ember in the Ashes lives up to and deserves all the hype and praise surrounding it. What I loved most about this novel was that every time I put it down, I always looked forward to picking it back up. I can't believe that this is Tahir's debut novel. Her writing was marvelous. She intertwined two completely different stories and characters to make it one incredible arc of a novel. I am completely blown away by An Ember in the Ashes. An absolute must-read!
The world-building was fantastic. From the slums of Laia's home to the vast, mysterious academy where Elias is, An Ember in the Ashes creates a world that is dark and imaginative, and I loved every second of it. I'm ecstatic to see more of this world in the sequel. Speaking of which, Thank. God. there is a sequel. And the action in this book! There's so many twists and turns throughout An Ember in the Ashes and I couldn't put it down.
Laia is such a wonderful heroine. She starts off as a weak, broken character in the beginning, but as the novel progresses, she morphs into a force to be reckoned with. I really loved seeing her character development; she definitely did a complete 180º, and I'm ecstatic to see where her story goes in the sequel. And Elias was such an awesome lead too. I thought that he would be the typical "perfect soldier" who changes his mind after meeting the female protagonist, but Tahir made him really unique and strayed away from the norm, and I really appreciate it. They were a fire duo; definitely one of my new favorite power couples in YA.
Overall, An Ember in the Ashes is a radiant read that grabs you from page one and doesn't let you go. One of my new favorite fantasies of all-time.
M Y R A T I N G