Title: An Ember in the Ashes
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Release Date: April 28th, 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.
My Review: An Ember in the Ashes is a book that I am going to have a very hard time summarizing. A friend of mine read it and highly recommended it, but I looked at the 446 page count and was not quite sure I wanted to take that on, but I am so glad that I did. Those pages flew by and I never once looked to see how many pages I had left or felt for one moment that anything was dragging.
The book switches between Laia and Elias’ perspectives which gives you are really good understanding of everything that is involved in this world and the people within it. It takes place in almost a Roman like society and is very brutal. The author did not pull her punches emotionally in this book and I was brought to tears a couple of times. It was harsh, cruel and probably very realistic of what a society in this world would look like.
I loved both of the characters, and the way they slowly worked their way to each other. There are small little snippets of romance, but the main plot focuses on the two characters finding their own definition of freedom.
It was heartbreaking, fantastic, non-stop plot and a book that has stayed with me long after I read the last page. I cannot wait to get started on the sequel and will definitely be keeping an eye on this author in the future.