19 May 2015


Book Review / An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

AN EMBER IN THE ASHES is a thought-provoking, heart-wrenching and pulse-pounding read. Set in a rich, high-fantasy world with echoes of ancient Rome, it tells the story of a slave fighting for her family and a young soldier fighting for his freedom.

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.

Published:     28th April 2015
Publisher:  Harper Collins
Author Website:  Click here
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher


My Review

What I loved about this story...
I did enjoy reading this book but it was an OK read for me.  What I liked was the world and the divide between the people in the masks, the slaves, the Scolars etc.  I would have to say that my favourite character is Laia although if was being completely honest I did find her slightly annoying at the beginning of the story where we see her reaction to her brother being arrested where she was a bit of a coward rather than standing up and helping her brother.  I got to like her more later on in the story where she gets to investigate more her new surroundings (won't say where as that would be a spoiler). 

What I did not like with this story...
I usually have a golden rule where I do not read a book that is the 'most hyped book' of the time.  This book is definitely being hyped up a lot at the moment and because I had received an Arc very kindly from a publisher for review I decided to pick it up.  As I should have predicted, I 'bigged' this story up to probably a place higher than what it is so I was a little disappointed at this story because of that.  I think that with this book I am going to keep it to one side and maybe re-read it again at some point in the future (maybe next year when the hype has died down) and see how I feel then. 

About the Author
(From Goodreads)

Sabaa Tahir grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s 18-room motel. 

There, she spent her time devouring fantasy novels, raiding her brother’s comic book stash and playing guitar badly. She began writing An Ember in the Ashes while working nights as a newspaper editor. 

She likes thunderous indie rock, garish socks and all things nerd. Sabaa currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.