An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1)
▶ Alternative Cover Edition #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.From the Hardcover edition.

An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1) Details

TitleAn Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 9th, 2016
PublisherRazorbill
Rating
GenreFantasy, Young Adult, Romance

An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1) Review

  • Emily May
    January 1, 1970
    “This life is not always what we think it will be,” Cain says. “You are an ember in the ashes, Elias Veturius. You will spark and burn, ravage and destroy. You cannot change it. You cannot stop it.” I think a lot of people will understand me when I say that the best kind of books are those that provoke strong emotions in you. My favourites are made up of books that filled me with happy excitement or, alternatively, books that ripped my heart out and made me cry. An Ember in the Ashes, however, “This life is not always what we think it will be,” Cain says. “You are an ember in the ashes, Elias Veturius. You will spark and burn, ravage and destroy. You cannot change it. You cannot stop it.” I think a lot of people will understand me when I say that the best kind of books are those that provoke strong emotions in you. My favourites are made up of books that filled me with happy excitement or, alternatively, books that ripped my heart out and made me cry. An Ember in the Ashes, however, made me angry. No, not angry - furious. I raged. I panicked. I hated. And damn, it was amazing.You know those rare books that just make your heart pound? Those that take you so far out of the real world that you have to remind yourself afterwards that it's all fiction, or else you won't be sleeping? For me, this was one of those books. Everything about it was gripping, from the godawful but mesmerizing setting to those two bloody love triangles (love square?). Yes, that's right. I don't even care that there were love triangles. That seems like too simplistic a term for this complex web of relationships, anyway. It isn't about choosing between hot dude #1 and hot dude #2, there's far bigger things at stake here and every character is so well-developed that you genuinely wonder and care what their fate will be.This fast-paced story is told from two perspectives. Laia is one of the Scholars - now ruled over by the Martial Empire - many of whom are poor, illiterate and even enslaved. When her brother is arrested and presumably tortured by the Masks (masked soldiers), she seeks out the Resistance for help. However, they will not help her for free and demand that in return she must enter Blackcliff Military Academy as a slave in order to spy on the Commandant. Elias - the son of the Commandant - makes up the other perspective in this book.Initially, I drew some comparisons between this and Legend, but though I liked the latter, I still don't think it's anywhere near as compelling, interesting, fast-paced or evil as this book. And despite the similar premise, this book branches off in many very different and exciting directions, including the arrival of creatures believed to only exist in myth.I mentioned my fury before and I'm going to elaborate a bit. This book is nasty. This world is nasty. The Commandant is an evil hellbitch and complete sociopath. There's torture, child abuse and the threat of rape (none of it is really graphic but it's effective just the same). But it works. The stakes are higher; it made me actually afraid for Laia when she was sneaking about and spying on the Commandant. It's hard to not grind your teeth at the unfairness and simultaneously feel powerless to stop it. It's been a while since I've read such an evocative novel.So, I enjoyed pretty much everything about this book. I liked the varied cast of characters and that Laia wasn't a typical badass heroine but a scared girl going against her every instinct to save her brother. I loved the use of prophecies and the way Elias has to try and understand what they mean in order to do the right thing. I loved the Augurs - a bunch of hooded holy men who claim to deliver prophecies. Such a great read and I can see people eating it up and being desperate for more.The book is rounded off well and is supposed to be a standalone, but there's room for more here and I'd love to see the author revisit this story and these characters. *** "Life is made of so many moments that mean nothing. Then one day, a single moment comes along to define every second that comes after." Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr*** May 22, 2015: A sequel is on the way!
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  • Sasha Alsberg
    January 1, 1970
    An Ember in the Ashes is truly a unique and captivating book that I recommends everybody reads! Cannot wait for the second book in this series =D
  • Jesse (JesseTheReader)
    January 1, 1970
    HOLY SMOKES THAT WAS GOOD. I'm sososo happy that there's going to be a sequel. I'D BE SO MAD IF THEY JUST LEFT ME HANING LIKE THAT. YOU CAN'T DO THAT. YAY FOR SEQUELS. *throws confetti*
  • Regan
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 This book is totally going to have a sequel.
  • Kiki
    January 1, 1970
    I will be rereading this series and writing a very, very, very scholarly review for it when I return from my holiday. I had been under the impression that my initial review explained my thoughts in enough depth, but apparently not; apparently my opinions on this book and why I did not like it were not clear enough for some people, who continue to feel obliged to enter the comments and explain to me as if I am a fucking idiot why this book was GREAT. You asked for it. You fucking asked. So in two I will be rereading this series and writing a very, very, very scholarly review for it when I return from my holiday. I had been under the impression that my initial review explained my thoughts in enough depth, but apparently not; apparently my opinions on this book and why I did not like it were not clear enough for some people, who continue to feel obliged to enter the comments and explain to me as if I am a fucking idiot why this book was GREAT. You asked for it. You fucking asked. So in two weeks there will be a new review of this book for all of you to enjoy and that will hopefully penetrate the senseless WALL of arrogance that that some of this series' stans have surrounded themselves with. My teeth and ambitions are bared. Be prepared.
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  • Christine Riccio
    January 1, 1970
    Really enjoyed this one!!! Flew through it - here's my booktalk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUzvC... =D
  • Lola
    January 1, 1970
    3 1/2 stars. The field of battle is my temple. The swordpoint is my priest. The dance of death is my prayer. The killing blow is my release. An Ember in the Ashes is THE book I was looking most forward to in 2015. I can’t say that I’m completely pleased with the way it turned out, because, being my most anticipated title, I naively envisioned this to be P-E-R-F-E-C-T-I-O-N or, at least, perfectly enjoyable. But, don’t worry, Sabaa Tahir clearly did a fine job at putting together an intensive ser 3 1/2 stars. The field of battle is my temple. The swordpoint is my priest. The dance of death is my prayer. The killing blow is my release. An Ember in the Ashes is THE book I was looking most forward to in 2015. I can’t say that I’m completely pleased with the way it turned out, because, being my most anticipated title, I naively envisioned this to be P-E-R-F-E-C-T-I-O-N or, at least, perfectly enjoyable. But, don’t worry, Sabaa Tahir clearly did a fine job at putting together an intensive series of events that superbly form a story. A story that will grip.We follow the path of two main characters: Laia and Elias. Laia is a Scholar in search of her brother. This latter has been imprisoned and Laia’s only goal is to free him. To do so, she aligns with the Resistance, believing they will free her brother if she helps them. Elias, on the other hand, is a Mask and the Commandant’s soon. He and a few other of his ‘‘rank,’’ need to show their skills in the trials and attempt to win them. Whoever wins will become the next emperor. ‘‘Don’t tell me you believe in myths of junn and efrits and wraiths that kidnap children in the night?’’‘‘No.’’ I think of the raid. Of the mark. My lightness melts away. ‘‘I don’t need to believe in the supernatural. Not when there’s worse that roams the night.’’ Not bad, don’t you think? I was wholly engrossed in the story. While it was slow-paced and the action not present throughout, I never felt the lack of it. A good balance was offered. Some characters were indeed shockingly pitiless or rudely villainous, some emotions so strongly raw that they had an impact on my state of mind, the atmosphere thick and oppressive… but everything was bearable and, instead of discomforting me, it made me want more. It made me want to kick some asses, to break that infectious system of theirs and hold tight to unlucky dear Laia.A love-triangle can be manageable and, under some circumstances, quite pleasurable but, two? … No, thank you. I tried to let it go. I tried to visualize it and tell myself that it’s alright, that it makes sense and it’s definitely justified, but I couldn’t come to be fond of it. The problem, I shall tell you, is that Laia didn’t make a choice. She let both guys pursue her heart. But then there’s the other love-triangle. That other one – two girls for a boy – could have been avoided. It wasn’t necessary to the plot. I believe a girl and a boy can truly and only be friends… sigh. I look up at the stars hanging low in a sky that makes me think I’m seeing the infinite. But beneath their cold gaze, I feel small. All the beauty of the stars means nothing when life here on earth is so ugly. The other thing is the ending. If this is a standalone set in stone really and unchangingly, it is probably the most infuriating I have ever read, because of the monumental amount of questions that remained inside my head. It would feel as if the story has been cut in two for unknown reasons. If this turns out to be the first in a new series though, it is one hell of a starter!
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  • karen
    January 1, 1970
    sometimes you read a book and you know instantly - this is going to be huge. whether it's the quality of the writing, the freshness of the premise, the way it piggybacks onto something already immensely popular, or just a case of right time/right zeitgeist - you just know. and this book is going to be a star. and it should be. this book is a perfect example of crossover YA. there is nothing juvenile about it, and it will have broad appeal to adults as well as teens. it has fantastic world-buildi sometimes you read a book and you know instantly - this is going to be huge. whether it's the quality of the writing, the freshness of the premise, the way it piggybacks onto something already immensely popular, or just a case of right time/right zeitgeist - you just know. and this book is going to be a star. and it should be. this book is a perfect example of crossover YA. there is nothing juvenile about it, and it will have broad appeal to adults as well as teens. it has fantastic world-building, complex characters, gripping action, it's frequently surprising, and it doesn't shy from the horrific. this book is full of hard choices and actions that can't be taken back. it is neither gentle nor pandering. from me, that is high praise - i get very fed up when books and movies resort to that lazy emotional/psychological manipulation where characters are on the brink of death but oh look! a savior! or - worse - "ta-daaaa - we can bring people back from the dead!" that is not to say there aren't close calls here, because there are. plenty of them. but there is always a cost to the reprieve, whether it be in corpses or sacrifices or heavy emotional baggage. the price of living is steep.this book is doing a lot of work - it's a fantasy novel, but it's also addressing very important themes of oppression, literacy as power, the dangers of history repeating itself, compassion, the distinction between loyalty and thinking for yourself, the double sidedness of power, and that "right" and "wrong" are subjective and can be a matter of perspective. it's huge, and it opens up a lot of moral dilemmas for discussion. but to backtrack before i get all bogged down in vague atmosphere, dancing around specifics - this is an incredibly strong debut historical fantasy novel. it's modeled on ancient rome, with many of the unsavory elements that entails in terms of slavery and casual rape. the rape is oft-referenced, threatened, and accepted as "how we do," but there's no specific scenes on-page, which is important to note. it's always there in the background, and tahir manages to make its potential threatening enough without resorting to any gratuitous scenes of sexual assault. however, there's a ton of nonsexual bloody violence, and it's gory, powerful stuff.the story is told from two sides - laia is seventeen years old, and comes from the scholars - a formerly flourishing people now ruled by the martial empire, stripped of their power and culture, living in poverty and illiteracy. laia's family has been destroyed by the martials, specifically the masks, which are like the enforcers of the martial empire - shiny metal-masked soldiers who keep her people down through raids and brutal fear tactics. when her brother darin is arrested for treason, laia approaches the scholars' secret underground movement known as the resistance to beg for help, capitalizing on her family's past connection to the group to convince them. they agree to help, on the condition that she do her part, going undercover as a slave to the commandant of the blackcliff military academy, where the martials are trained to fight. it is an incredibly dangerous mission, and laia is such a fearful and naive girl, it seems doomed to fail, but laia is determined to rescue her brother, so into the belly of the beast she goes.the second perspective is elias, whose mother is the brutal and feared commandant herself. elias has been trained in the elite special forces division of the martials - the masks. but he didn't gain this position through nepotism - his mother despises him and abandoned him as a baby, and he spent the first six years of his life among the tribesmen who raised him before he was restored to the martials. he is now twenty, and on the verge of graduating from the masks, but he is disgusted with the brutishness of life among the martials, and is planning to desert on the eve of graduation, leaving everything behind, including his best friend helena.unfortunately, fate intervenes and elias is visited by one of the augurs, a group of men and women who are these hooded, red-eyed mystics; the keepers of prophecies, operating at a completely different level behind the scenes, manipulating the present and the future while still maintaining a remove from the fray. in my mind they are a combination ofand and elias is made an offer he cannot refuse. he, along with helena and the twins zak and marcus, has been chosen as an aspirant - to battle for the position of emperor. his first impulse is to refuse and stick with his desertion-plan, but the augur shows him a vision of his future that convinces him he needs to fulfill his destiny if he ever wants to be free from the martials.the aspirants are put to a series of trials because what would a YA dystopia be without intricate battles and tests?? (or titles like "aspirants" for that matter) and they are grueling. and awesome, oh, and did i mention that it's a battle to the death, and only two of them are meant to live through it - one as emperor, and one as second-in-command "blood shrike?" yeah, it's like that.so, while laia is enduring the cruelty of the commandant and tentatively spying and reporting back to the resistance, elias is fighting for his life in a series of escalating trials and distracted by the strange new feelings complicating his relationship with helena. a lot happens. and it's completely engrossing.my enthusiasm for reading this book could overshadow my more critical faculties and i could say "this book is perfect!" because it was such a breath of fresh air and a true page turner filled with truly excellent characters and unprecedentedly badass situations, but for all the impressive parts, there were some things that clashed.the commandant is just pure evil. like EEEEEEVVVIIILLLL evil evil evil. and that kind of unalloyed sadism can work in some books, but considering this one's proficiency with character-nuance, it isn't satisfying here. marcus is also pretty bad - but he's young and he wants what he wants - he is still coming up in the world and trying to prove himself. and as bad as he is, even he is given a moment or two of humanity. the commandant is someone who has all the power she needs but still takes pleasure in mutilating the truly helpless. and that kind of flat-black character is just not interesting to read about. i love that she's a woman and i love that she's tiny because that's less common in these military-YA-dystopias, but it just reads like overcompensation with the "look how baaaad i am!" there are no surprises in her character. she is just obstacle. my other complaint is trickier and involves the romance bits. i am never much interested in the romantic elements of these YA books, and it's what always reminds me "this is for teenagers!" i hate love triangles as a rule, but this book almost made me understand their appeal. there are TWO love triangles here, and while they are definitely the least interesting aspect of the book for me, i think they are handled in a more reasonable and interesting way than is typical. usually, there will be a protagonist torn between two equally attractive love interests but one is good and noble and one is baaaad but misunderstood. or they are both utter perfection and selfless and oh what a lucky girl! (because it is usually a girl) with this book, the notions of choice and destiny come into play in various ways throughout the story, with an emphasis on the impact of choice upon one's character. and as an extension of that idea, the love triangles here are less about "which boy/girl is cuter?" and more about the actual personalities of the participants and how they complement or complete or mirror each other, and what path choosing one over the other would lead to. and it's about making these assessments, of choosing and prioritizing what matters: a past of shared experiences or an understanding of loss, of strength or idealism or loyalty or a strength to attach to a weakness.and i think with a teen audience, when you're just starting to figure out what matters to you and who you want to be and there's still a fluidity to your personality and your future, you are in this place where all the possibilities are attractive and that makes the love triangle plausible. so thank you, this book, for making the love triangle(s) make sense. which might not seem like a complaint, but it is in the sense that while i was reading this, i did a lot of eye-rolling and "oh, good, they are almost going to kiss again!" so it was still a part of the book that dragged down the sophistication level for me, but it made more sense, contextually, than in most books. my last complaint is a big one, and it really depends upon whether this is a standalone book or the first in a series. when i closed this book i thought to myself, "what a fine and stirring place to leave the reader before the action resumes in the next book."and then i learned that the author said:Right now, EMBER is a standalone. But I have my characters whole lives planned out, so I could write them forever.and that's unacceptable. it's not that the story feels unfinished, but it feels like a tease. there's too much that was set up here that was left unresolved. for example, throughout the book, we are given flashes of supernatural elements, and there is an expectation that these will evolve into something crucial to the plot. and they're not, not really. they are involved without being resolved. if this is all we are going to get from this world, then their inclusion is nothing but a pretty prop over in the corner, contributing little. i assumed that this would be something built up more in subsequent books, but if this is it, then i thumbs-down it as being unnecessary and distracting. and there are reunions i want to see and character arcs i require. i will not be satisfied with one story, so please - write them forever.i feel like i have blabbed on and on without saying anything, but that seems to be where i'm at right now. all i know is that i loved this book, i'm in love with helena, and if i don't get more from this world, i will be extremely unhappy.***********************************************************so i guess this one is hers now, too. i suppose i could go watch teevee...come to my blog!
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  • Katerina
    January 1, 1970
    “The field of battle is my temple. The swordpoint is my priest. The dance of death is my prayer. The killing blow is my release.” One word.E*X*P*L*O*S*I*V*E*Dear Book Gods,I beg you to forgive me for not reading this masterpiece sooner. I will graciously accept any punishment you deem appropriate. I would also like to thank you for bringing this book into my life. You guys rock!Sincerely, Sabaa Tahir's new stalker fan The story “You are full, Laia. Full of life and dark and strength and spi “The field of battle is my temple. The swordpoint is my priest. The dance of death is my prayer. The killing blow is my release.” One word.E*X*P*L*O*S*I*V*E*Dear Book Gods,I beg you to forgive me for not reading this masterpiece sooner. I will graciously accept any punishment you deem appropriate. I would also like to thank you for bringing this book into my life. You guys rock!Sincerely, Sabaa Tahir's new stalker fan The story “You are full, Laia. Full of life and dark and strength and spirit. You are in our dreams. You will burn, for you are an ember in the ashes.” The Scholars are enslaved by the Martial Empire and they live under horrible conditions. Laia and her family try not to stick out, until her brother is arrested for treason and the only way to make the Resistance set him free is to become their spy within Blackcliff, the infamous military academy that breeds human weapons, the Masks, whose only purpose is death and destruction. “You are an ember in the ashes, Elias Veturius. You will spark and burn, ravage and destroy. You cannot change it. You cannot stop it.” Even though he is the most promising Blackcliff student, Elias plans his escape from this living hell. Until he is informed that the only way to become truly free is to participate in the Trials that will determine the next Emperor, Trials so harsh and brutal that their cost might be too great. His soul. Thoughts Have you ever wished that you could forget a book only to experience reading it for the first time once more? An Ember in the Ashes is one of those books. It is special. While I turned the pages, while I inhaled Sabaa Tahir's words, everything around me ceased to exist. Everything was frozen and the only thing I could hear was my heart. Thump, thump, thump. Sometimes it beat incredibly fast. Sometimes it stopped. Some others it was flooded with a warmth that spread through my veins into every inch of my body. It was beautiful and ugly, sweet and brutal, heartbreaking and heartmending. “I look up at the stars hanging low in a sky that makes me think I'm seeing the infinite. But beneath their cold gaze, I feel small. All the beauty of the stars means nothing when life here on earth is so ugly.” There was no reprieve from action and suspense in An Ember in the Ashes. War, battles, trials, espionage, rebels, slaves, ruthless villains, ancient creatures of immense powers, ghouls and wraiths, unbreakable swords, all of them woven together resulted in a story that kept you on the edge, that made you hold your breath and pray that your heroes will be spared the agony and the pain that was about to come. But it wouldn't happen. They suffered, and you suffered with them. They hurt and you hurt. They were broken and you tried in vain to glue them back together. There was raw brutality that made you cringe, and strength and dedication and courage and harsh decisions that gave you goosebumps. There was hope in despair, light in darkness ,life in death. And I loved every single moment. The characters “Look at us”, he says. “Scholar slave and Mask, each trying to persuade the other that they're not evil.” Two enemies that were never meant to cross paths, let alone find a kindred spirit in each other, Elias and Laia were two rare characters. They were driven by their passion for freedom, they felt guilty for their actions, they blamed themselves for everything that was wrong in the world. Elias was a controlled chaos, lethal but noble, while Laia was weak and scared but she recognized her fear and she tried to tame it for the sake of the people she loved. You may have heard that there is a love square in this book, but things are a little more complicated. You see, Elias and Laia don't have many scenes together. Both of them have another love interest that makes them confused, but I strongly believe they are mere distactions, a way to show that Elias and Laia come from different worlds and there are people who are more suitable for them, but the attraction and connection between them is off the charts and simply, they belong together. Which is unfortunate for me because I have a huge I want to have your babies crush on Elias.If you were patient enough to read this review, then you understand you have to drop everything you're doing and grab An Ember in the Ashes as fast as you can. Pretty pretty please?
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  • Steph Sinclair
    January 1, 1970
    My original review for this book consisted of the following statement:Ugh. So boring.And for some reason those three words have kinda pissed peeps off and landed me in some hot water elsewhere. But no matter. I feel like enough time has passed for me to give my true feelings. So here they are:This book is mediocre. There's nothing special about it. Nothing groundbreaking is contained in its pages. In other words, it's average. And that's what a 2 star rating for me is. I'm one of those reviewers My original review for this book consisted of the following statement:Ugh. So boring.And for some reason those three words have kinda pissed peeps off and landed me in some hot water elsewhere. But no matter. I feel like enough time has passed for me to give my true feelings. So here they are:This book is mediocre. There's nothing special about it. Nothing groundbreaking is contained in its pages. In other words, it's average. And that's what a 2 star rating for me is. I'm one of those reviewers who actually goes by the Goodreads ratings. 2 stars means I liked it, but it wasn't awesome. It also means I can see why others liked it. What it doesn't mean is that the book has no redeemable qualities or that your love for it is misplaced. I also want to point out that I really like Sabaa Tahir and have had the wonderful opportunity to meet her in person. She's truly lovely and I'm happy her novel has done so well. So take several seats if you've come here to troll me. Good day, sir. So anyway, now that that's out of the way, back to An Ember in the Ashes. Sometimes the problem with being a book blogger is that I know too much. Publishers love getting bloggers involved in campaigns to help promote their books because it's a fantastic way to generate hype and buzz for a title. Unfortunately for me, this sometimes means books are overhyped BEFORE I even get an ARC, let alone a finished copy. So the expectations I had for An Ember in the Ashes were ridiculously high and probably impossible to meet. I think my primary issue with An Ember in the Ashes is that it bit off more than it could chew and, therefore, only began to scratch the surface. The halfway developed characters made for uninteresting, multi-POV narration. Even though I listened to the audio version, it only mildly helped the situation. And usually when I run into characters who aren't fleshed out completely, there's the plot to compensate, but not even that worked for me because everything moved at a snail's pace with no clear indication which direction the finish line lay. Laia's role as a rebel was probably my least favorite aspect of the novel. Not only was she absolutely dreadful at it, but the rebels seemed shocked to find Laia hurt on a number of occasions. Things like this was worthy of an eyebrow raise because Laia was attempting to spy on the most dangerous person in the story, The Commandant, knowing that their previous spies were tortured and killed. So why are Laia's bruises a surprise? Elias' POV was no better, to be honest. He spent most of his time mulling over his constant mommy issues and romantic feelings for his best friend. So basically, it was a lot of wangst that I could have done without. Also, he pulls a bit of a dick move that momentarily made me saw red. Not to mention Elias' character arc seems to revolve around a Prophecy and I'm just kinda over that in YA right now. Still, since this is a 2-star review, there are some things that I did like. - The commandant was a fantastic character. Deliciously evil and sadistic in all the right ways. She seemed to remain the most consistent and interesting throughout the book and I found myself enjoying scenes that she cameoed in. - Elias' best friend, Helena. Even though I didn't exactly care for the romance, I enjoy the tension it created and that it caused his best friend to have more page time. She was such a badass and I loved her. Also, I started seeing some forms of a love rhombus and oh god please don't. - The battle near the end was a surprise I did not expect. Tahir ended up killing off a few side characters I didn't realize I actually cared about. The audio narration was especially wonderful during that part. All in all, it's not terrible, but also not knock-your-socks-off-amazing either. I don't feel invested enough to read the sequel since I found this one to be such a chore to get through in the first place. However, if I start seeing whispers of a Laia and Helena ship starting to form in book two, I might just need to rethink everything I thought I knew.
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  • Dana Kenedy (Dana and the Books)
    January 1, 1970
    This review can also be found on my blog, Dana and the Books.This book was amazing. Sabaa Tahir, I love you.An Ember in the Ashes has been hovering on my to-read list ever since it's release about a year ago.  It got a lot of praise, a lot of hype, and it's all totally warranted.  It even earned a spot on my 'favourites' list.Laia's grandparents are murdered and her brother taken prisoner; her only course of action is to join the resistance against the empire to save her brother.  Elias is a sol This review can also be found on my blog, Dana and the Books.This book was amazing. Sabaa Tahir, I love you.An Ember in the Ashes has been hovering on my to-read list ever since it's release about a year ago.  It got a lot of praise, a lot of hype, and it's all totally warranted.  It even earned a spot on my 'favourites' list.Laia's grandparents are murdered and her brother taken prisoner; her only course of action is to join the resistance against the empire to save her brother.  Elias is a soldier for the empire, but wants nothing more than to desert.  Here is a 100% accurate reenactment of my reading progression:At first, I was pretty into it.Then I was really into it.Then I couldn't stop readingAnd now it's over.Seriously, go read this. It's a fantastic fantasy story with great character development and it will keep you from sleeping because you can't imagine going to bed without finishing the story.  (Amazon US / Amazon CA / Book Depository)
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  • Warda
    January 1, 1970
    What a whirlwind! This book was just so damn exciting to read! I felt high constantly, because Sabaa Tahir was not letting her readers breath for even a moment. Well, she’ll give you a minute or two, then it’s back to chaos again, AND IT WAS AWESOME!I can’t believe this was actually intended to be a standalone at first. As if they were planning to leave us with that ending and so many plot lines left open. I did fear at first that the plot was taking centre stage and there wasn’t going to be any What a whirlwind! This book was just so damn exciting to read! I felt high constantly, because Sabaa Tahir was not letting her readers breath for even a moment. Well, she’ll give you a minute or two, then it’s back to chaos again, AND IT WAS AWESOME!I can’t believe this was actually intended to be a standalone at first. As if they were planning to leave us with that ending and so many plot lines left open. I did fear at first that the plot was taking centre stage and there wasn’t going to be any background given to the characters, but thankfully that wasn’t the case. I still want more, but this book has set up the world and the characters really well and I can’t wait to see how this will progress in further books. So far, Elias is my favourite character. His section was written really well, or his tone came across better. Laia’s POV came across slightly insecure, but I’m assuming that voice was intended. The multiple POV added a really amazing and fast paced dynamic to the story. The writing did an awesome some at bringing the tension and atmosphere to live. This book was just pure enjoyment. I loved that it was brutal and it wasn’t shied away from just because it’s YA. I’m hoping for more brutality in the next 2 books. (view spoiler)[ And some Elias and Laia action. I don’t know if my ship is set, but their chemistry, hottt damn! 😍 (hide spoiler)]———————————-The time has come for me to jump on the bandwagon. Seems like Sabaa Tahir is destroying her readers with her latest book and I want to be part of it.
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  • Maggie Stiefvater
    January 1, 1970
    This one will be popular.
  • Sara Raasch
    January 1, 1970
    This book will destroy you.(PS: Elias is mine shhhh no one understands him like I do)
  • jessica
    January 1, 1970
    okay. in 2019, some things are going to change. i am going to take the whole ‘new year, new me’ to heart, beginning with not waiting YEARS to read a book that everyone has told me to read. because i really havent been living my best life without this. this was the fantasy story ive been needing recently. i was very much impressed with the world building - this introduced a lot of different aspects, and whilst not everything immediately affected the plot of this particular book, i felt like there okay. in 2019, some things are going to change. i am going to take the whole ‘new year, new me’ to heart, beginning with not waiting YEARS to read a book that everyone has told me to read. because i really havent been living my best life without this. this was the fantasy story ive been needing recently. i was very much impressed with the world building - this introduced a lot of different aspects, and whilst not everything immediately affected the plot of this particular book, i felt like there was so much set-up for an amazing series to come. and even though the writing felt a bit plain and the characters were decent, i couldnt help but be so entertained by this. i was immediately hooked and drawn into the story. i think the whole ‘your destiny has been seen and foretold’ and how each of the characters comes to terms with that (not to mention how everything intertwines with each other) was the highlight for me. it was definitely the sort of plot that makes everything so engaging and i cant wait to see how everything plans out!!and i promised i have learned my lesson - when multiple people recommend a book, i will be so much happier if i just read it!! cant believe i have gone so long without this in my life! ↠ 4.5 stars
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  • Wendy Darling
    January 1, 1970
    Well, damn. There had better be a sequel for this book! Penguin, you can't just leave us hanging there!The first few chapters are absolutely riveting (you can read an excerpt here, btw: http://www.mtv.com/news/2051414/exclu...), and the cruel, merciless world these characters inhabit is well drawn. The feel of this book reminded me of the Legend trilogy, actually, though I think Ember is more complex in plot, characters, and setting. It's fantasy that feels a bit dystopian, which is pretty inter Well, damn. There had better be a sequel for this book! Penguin, you can't just leave us hanging there!The first few chapters are absolutely riveting (you can read an excerpt here, btw: http://www.mtv.com/news/2051414/exclu...), and the cruel, merciless world these characters inhabit is well drawn. The feel of this book reminded me of the Legend trilogy, actually, though I think Ember is more complex in plot, characters, and setting. It's fantasy that feels a bit dystopian, which is pretty interesting. I'm mulling over a couple of major points that I think could have made this book better (view spoiler)[one of which involves complicated romantic entanglements (hide spoiler)], but overall I enjoyed this very much. Review to come.
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  • Kainat 《HUFFLEPUFF & PROUD》
    January 1, 1970
    Buddy reread with my baby, Hayley! WOW is all i have to say right now.I'll edit my review later. ------------------------------------------ “Once, i'd have wanted someone to tell me what to do, to fix everything. Once, I'd have wanted to be saved." WOW! I really don't know what to say without spoiling everything. The beginning was a little slow but what came after was totally worth it!... Who said this is a stand-alone novel?? HELLO? Did you miss that heart wrenching ending? There is no way in Buddy reread with my baby, Hayley! WOW is all i have to say right now.I'll edit my review later. ------------------------------------------ “Once, i'd have wanted someone to tell me what to do, to fix everything. Once, I'd have wanted to be saved." WOW! I really don't know what to say without spoiling everything. The beginning was a little slow but what came after was totally worth it!... Who said this is a stand-alone novel?? HELLO? Did you miss that heart wrenching ending? There is no way in hell.Elias, Laia, Keenan, and Helena are are main characters. Even just these names give me goosebumps, they are just so unique! I won't be talking about the plot because i don't want anyone getting spoiled. “What you want doesn’t matter. Tomorrow you must make a choice. Between deserting and doing YOUR duty. If you desert, you will escape. You will leave the Empire. You will live. But you will find no solace in doing so. Your enemies will hunt you. Shadows will bloom in your heart, and you will become everything you hate—evil, merciless, cruel. You will be chained to the darkness within yourself as surely as if chained to the walls of a prison cell.” Elias Elias is a mask (a solder of the empire). First half of the book i couldn't stand him! He was lusting after his best friend Helena, he was running around whining and complaining. But he really grew on me!! Loved how he helped Laia when nobody was there for her. Laia Laia is the "Slave girl". Laia's story was really hard for me to read. Her parents are dead, her grandparents were slaughtered right in front of her, and her older brother (Darin) is captured by the solders. I loved Laia, she wasn't kick ass or sharp witted. She was scared but trying to be brave for her family! She was tortured, beaten, and lied to. But she didn't give up and at the end she kicked some serious ass! Couldn't be more happy! Helena Helena is Elais' best friend, the only girl mask. If Laia is too week for your taste then Helena is your girl! she is badass, strong, cold hearted, very loyal to the empire. I hated her through out the entire book. I wanted her outta the picture! I hated how she treated Laia just because she is a slave. Even though i didn't see it coming there was a reason behind everything she did. Her ending broke my heart into tiny little pieces!KeenanKeenan is with resistance, second in command! He is hands down my favorite of them all! I feel like we didn't get to see enough of him, but i liked whatever glimpse we got. I hope he is around more the in the second book. Laia and him just work for me. I just love him so much!!Final thoughts;
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  • Ashley Nuckles
    January 1, 1970
    Reread May 2018: 5 stars easily. SO much better the second time around omfg4.5 stars!! OHHHMYYYYGOOOOODDDD Even though it took me about 100 pages to actually start understanding and enjoying the book, I STILL LOVED IT! As I was reading I kept imagining Laia as the girl on that famous Nat Geo magazine with the bright eyes and IT MADE THE EXPERIENCE SO MUCH BETTER. I loved how both Laia and Elias developed in this book! (Though I did enjoy Elias' POV more at most parts, maybe just because it was m Reread May 2018: 5 stars easily. SO much better the second time around omfg4.5 stars!! OHHHMYYYYGOOOOODDDD Even though it took me about 100 pages to actually start understanding and enjoying the book, I STILL LOVED IT! As I was reading I kept imagining Laia as the girl on that famous Nat Geo magazine with the bright eyes and IT MADE THE EXPERIENCE SO MUCH BETTER. I loved how both Laia and Elias developed in this book! (Though I did enjoy Elias' POV more at most parts, maybe just because it was more action packed.) And the worldbuilding, AHHHH. I hope we get to see more of it in the next one! Overall I highly recommend. YEEESSS.
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  • Robin Hobb
    January 1, 1970
    An Ember in the Ashes is a deceptively simple read. The writing is as smooth as silk and keeps one reading long after the lights should have been out. Short chapters and the youthful viewpoints might put this book firmly in the Young Adult category. But the questions considered in this book are the very questions that must be considered as one moves into adulthood. How much should an individual be willing to suffer ‘for the greater good?’ Is it foolish to struggle if one can avoid extreme pain b An Ember in the Ashes is a deceptively simple read. The writing is as smooth as silk and keeps one reading long after the lights should have been out. Short chapters and the youthful viewpoints might put this book firmly in the Young Adult category. But the questions considered in this book are the very questions that must be considered as one moves into adulthood. How much should an individual be willing to suffer ‘for the greater good?’ Is it foolish to struggle if one can avoid extreme pain by accepting an oppressive system and clinging to whatever small comforts there can be in daily life? Is idealism and heroism glorious if it means sacrificing the safety of your children and loved ones?A compelling story, simply told, that considers both the cost of struggling for freedom and the price of maintaining supremacy . An Ember in the Ashes pits the false security of submission against the terrifying price of gaining choice. Set in an oppressive society, the two view point characters could not be more different in status, nor more alike in their subjugation. This tale recognizes that the ruthlessness required to retain power is as restrictive as the slave’s subjugation.
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  • Chelsea Humphrey
    January 1, 1970
    Maybe the hype train altered my expectations for this one or maybe I'm entering a dreaded slump, but I think I'm going to put this one down for now and try to come back to it when I'm not feeling so distracted.
  • Kai
    January 1, 1970
    Nope.I know Sabaa Tahir hardly received any criticism and absolutely everybody is amazed.Not me.I'm the opposite of amazed.For starters, the concept is ancient. Boy and Girl are actually enemies but fall for each other. There is a spark. There is a revolution. There is a trial where the competitors have to fight until only one survives.Much creative.Still, some authors are able to work out a thrilling story. Sabaa Tahir was not.Next thing, the characters are shallow. There is no character depth Nope.I know Sabaa Tahir hardly received any criticism and absolutely everybody is amazed.Not me.I'm the opposite of amazed.For starters, the concept is ancient. Boy and Girl are actually enemies but fall for each other. There is a spark. There is a revolution. There is a trial where the competitors have to fight until only one survives.Much creative.Still, some authors are able to work out a thrilling story. Sabaa Tahir was not.Next thing, the characters are shallow. There is no character depth in Laia, nor Elias, nor in anyone else. They were one-dimensional and their heavy guilt and sorrow bored me to death. Don't even get me started on predictability.Everything just felt absolutely unrealistic to me. The poor world building and the fast paced plot only made it worse. I couldn't get into it, but I really hate not finishing novels. I know this is a debut novel, but sadly it also reads like one.I don't understand this hype, this rating, this book. This is my most disappointing read of 2015.And I know it comes as a total shocker - I won't even touch the sequel.Find more of my books on Instagram
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  • Mohammed Arabey
    January 1, 1970
    Never expected a YA that mature..An 'Amber' in the Ashes..A fine crafted Novel..every element perfectly measured.Very well paced, exciting world..With deep, well developing characters..In a world with the magical atmosphere of Arabian Nights tales...even with hints of Game of Thrones, Hunger Games..even HP's Goblet of Fire,Yet emerges An original tale,An Ember in the Ashes.Complete with amazing epic kinds of Love and attractions, long life friendship and new ones.. courage and Honor..Izzat ;Whic Never expected a YA that mature..An 'Amber' in the Ashes..A fine crafted Novel..every element perfectly measured.Very well paced, exciting world..With deep, well developing characters..In a world with the magical atmosphere of Arabian Nights tales...even with hints of Game of Thrones, Hunger Games..even HP's Goblet of Fire,Yet emerges An original tale,An Ember in the Ashes.Complete with amazing epic kinds of Love and attractions, long life friendship and new ones.. courage and Honor..Izzat ;Which an Arabic word means proving yourself Honored, Loyal and Brave..~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~a personal issueFor me there's always something wrong with a YA novel..a tiresome pace, too much coincidences, silly love story, too young characters to do all this, unimaginable world set, too much unnecessary characters, RANT, lots and lots of rants in every topic.Sometimes I feel some authors only interested in the category only...only females under 21 allowed.Well, not in this case, as a male reader over 30 I can probably say I enjoyed this novel as I never had with a YA since 2013’s The Diviners..may be a little bit more-they're both totally different anyway.-And with the uniqueness of this one I can say it's one of my best reads ever along with Harry Potter, Game of Thrones series..here is a solid 5 stars Novel..I'll try to review without too much rant about how perfect the writing is. And I won't give away more than 25% of how the story goes to avoid any spoilers.. It's a must read really.***************The World, the Setting-----------------In an Empire rules by the Martial who came from the north and invaded the Scholars’ Empire 500 years ago.Scholars now live as low class citizens, forbidden of knowledge, most specifically the art of making weapons..for the only army here are the Martials.The soldiers called Masks.. the graduates from the Blackcliff, a huge dimly black Academy with the toughest military training.And Of course there's a rebel somewhere in the Empire, some say they use the huge catacombs underground..It's a Medieval Dystopia after all.With a touch of.. Supernatural, History and Myth There's a well measured use of paranormal beings here, jinn; ghosts, efrits, wraiths, and wights...they are mentioned ,maybe appear, whether they are real or not you'll learn as the story goes. Neatly and perfect.There is no magic people capable of, the only supernatural humans here are the Augurs, the holy religious undying 14 men and women.Fearful, holy and old as time..who can read the complex people's mind in a way.. who may predict the fate and the future. “The whites of the Augur’s eyes are demon-red, vivid against his jet irises. His skin stretches across the bones of his face like a tortured body on the rack. Other than his eyes, he has no more color to him than the translucent spiders that lurk in Serra’s catacombs.” The setting is one of the things that take my breath slowly, first the idea of a catacombs was haunting with the desert and the Arabian atmosphere.Then as I learn more about the Empires history with glimpses of the different other cultures there made me feel how rich it truly is. How deep and yet very easy written and calculated measured.Every bit of information about this World is smoothly produced, not interrupting the story nor fall into useless rant.-Now I rant right?, okay ..next point is.***************The Story-------LaiaA seventeen years old Scholar Girl, her grandparents killed and her older brother “Darin”-and only family left- captured for his sketchbook with Weapons designs by the Martial Mask soliders.She escaped, knowing that her brother work for the resistance, she try to search for them underground to help her and free him.Unfortunately for her the leader “Mazen” gave her a mission in return for their help, to be sent as a Slave for the Commandant of the Blackcliff.To Spy on her...in the fortified Blackcliff Military Academy. Elias Elias, a 20 years old Martial, almost graduating as a Mask but thinking of breaking free of all this, all this brutal world of Blackcliff and the Martials Empire..But in the day of his graduation he’s hold back by an Augur.. the holy man, telling him that this year there's a Tournament for 4 of the year's top graduated students.It's for a Foretold Prophecy that the line of the Emperor whose house been Emperors since the invasion 500 years ago will fail.. and the winner of the Tournament will be the New Emperor, and the second to win will be his Blood Shrike, his right hand.And since the Augurs can read minds. The Augur promised him that if he won't escape he'll be free of Body and Soul..but if he desert his soul will be even worse than a Mask’s one.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The Story is really convenience, hooked me from the beginning..No big coincidences or ridiculous ones. Even when I thought something went really easy, later I'd find out that's nothing easy as it seems.The story told as chapter by Laia followed by one by Elias.You won't get confused much since most of it in separated locations which make the chapters with dual narrating when they meet always fun and perfect, like in the Moon Festival scenes.Now let's review the characters -With no more rant about the story- and some of the relations.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Laia and Elias Veturius----------------I don't count it as a Love story...There's a great difference between falling in love and feeling an attraction towards the one who saves you…And this novel present it very well enough. The relation between them is really smoothly moving..again can't say love but surely an attraction.Laia's 17 and truly feel that she is just her age..not ridiculously seems older nor a silly love sick girl. Just a girl faces a tough times that can happen to anyone of her faction..but she must be brave..to live up for a certain past.So is he.. he never choose to be a Mask but his past forced him..I loved how they'd met.. the small similarities between them, he wants to be Free and she's never been, and to free her brother she must to be a Slave to his Commandant..his mother..The Commandant , Keris Veturius-------------------------What a Dark, vicious character... how can she be the Mother of the brave kind soul of Elias is something thrillingly written.She's dark, holding too much of secrets and even a past encounter with Laia's family.Very powerful dark woman perfectly written and I really love this kind of characters and can't wait to know more about her.Is she totally soulless?There is a small scene I really loved from the past that will make you sure how people aren't totally beasts.. Helene Aquilla and Elias-----------------What I said about Laia and Elias doesn't fit here... and I have to say the story of Helene and Elias is one of the most beautiful hard drama love story I've read..For fourteen years they've been friends, since they were 5, grown up together, trained and fight together.The training of Blackcliff is tough, by the Augurs rule it's only males and only one female every long time..Can A Long time Friendship turns to Love?Well, sure, but how to write it...describe how the feeling can happen THAT'S the challenge..Alas, unlike the similarities between Elias and Laia, Helene character is very different.. she's tougher, she believes in rules and have a strong faith in the Augurs way more than Elias'.She'd get mad if knew that Elias even have a tiny thought to escape his duties and leave Blackcliff.The bigger problem -which I rarely read it that way but I felt really close to my real life- that he doesn't feel he love her the way she does. She's a close friend, like a relative.. which really complicating everything.There are too many secret in their relation...too many surprises and Twists of events.I really enjoyed this character and this complicated relation with all its dark sides.On the other side there's Laia and Keenan-------------Again it's brilliantly written, at first, not as falling in love rather as an attraction towards the saver…Keenan is a young member of the resistance.. I liked so much how through the whole story I get these mixed feelings about him. There's a mystery around the whole resistance, there's a traitor but noone know who..You will keep thinking is he and Mazen, the old leader, are trustworthy or not.Every character got its share of secrets you peel layer by layer..but there's some untold-at least till the end of Book One- past still to discoverSuch as;The Cook and Izzi, the Kitchen slaves-----------------------------Izzi is a young kitchen girl slave, the Commandant take one eye off her as a mean to make the older slave,The Cook, suffer, though the Cook herself had her share of torment for another mysterious past with the Commandant.Izzi become a friend to Laia and though she's younger but she is a real true loyal brave friend..she help Laia whatever that may cost her…which makes her a true example of Ezzat.While the Cook, though her brutal silence and disapproval of Izzi’s befriending with Laia.. she proves useful giving Laia doubts about the Resistance.I really can't wait to know more about her in later books maybe.There's some more characters simply presented, richly effective in the story and the feelings.The Brutal Marcus and his twin who has a change of heart.. the loyal Sana..the Smith Spiro Teluman with his dark secrets... The Holy Augurs and their unfathomable twisted play...A Nightbringer and his Horror...Afya Ara-Nur, from a far trip with mysterious role. And many many more..~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~In the End--------History, Myth and other FictionSilver Masks are mentioned in many real life wars, more specifically as the Baldwin IV..the Crusaders who invade Jerusalem...Did I told you there's an Arabian atmosphere in here?Also the religious story of People connecting with Jinn and Efrits -such as Babylon mythology or many other.. is here has a specific story-like towards the end when you learn more about the history of the amazingly world created by Sabaa..It's still a pure original Novel, no matter that at some points I felt that it may have hints from A Game of Thrones...More Arabian Nights or Hunger Games even the Triwizard Tournament of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire..As I wanted to say the characters facing a ‘Wizardry Tournament’ for ‘A Game of Thrones’ in a ‘Hunger Games’ world..But what's a Great fiction if not has hints inspired by preceding great ones..and by myths and History..A Game of Thrones is inspired by the Real War of the Roses, and with Shakespeare plays. Harry Potter is heavy with Greek myths and mythology stories..Hunger Games is inspired by 1984 which is inspired by real life suppression in Soviet government.The challenge here is to Emerge bigger...with own Soul, free, unique...flame of amazing tale..not just a ranting remake blending everything...but unique as a perfect crafted Amber..hot as an Ember..An Ember in the Ashes..Thank you Sabaa Tahir,Can't wait for Book Two..Mohammed ArabeyFrom 7 May 2016To 14 May 2016PS: the photos of the Actors and Actresses are from an amazing Egyptian TV Show "El Ahad" written by Mohammed Amin Radi, aired June 2015.. though it's totally different story but the atmosphere even some of the characters description and even some turn of events... it's too inspired a bit by Arabian Nights.Sorry if the images may not fit well the description but again I used some imaginations.A real must read.
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  • Candace
    January 1, 1970
    If you're looking for a fantastic story full of action and adventure, 'An Ember in the Ashes' is a great place to start. There was never a dull moment in this book. Some sort of danger was always brewing and I never knew what was going to happen next.The story centers on Laia, a young lady who lives under the terrifying rule of the Martial Empire. Subjected to the tyrannical rule of the Emperor, Laia's people live in constant fear. Those who don't submit are hunted, tortured and killed. Few dare If you're looking for a fantastic story full of action and adventure, 'An Ember in the Ashes' is a great place to start. There was never a dull moment in this book. Some sort of danger was always brewing and I never knew what was going to happen next.The story centers on Laia, a young lady who lives under the terrifying rule of the Martial Empire. Subjected to the tyrannical rule of the Emperor, Laia's people live in constant fear. Those who don't submit are hunted, tortured and killed. Few dare to resist.Among the most feared of the emperor's forces are the specially trained soldiers known collectively as the "Masks". Highly trained fighters, they are known for their skill and loyalty to the empire. They are what nightmares are made of for the oppressed scholars.When Laia's home is raided by the Masks, her grandparents are killed. Her older brother is taken as a prisoner, accused of espionage. Laia manages to escape, but lives with unbearable guilt for being such a coward.Determined to rescue her brother and make up for abandoning him at the time of his arrest, Laia sets out to find the Resistance. Whispered about, but never seen, the Resistance fighters are the only ones that can help her. After all, Laia believes that it was her brother's involvement with this group of rebels that made him a target in the first place.Once she makes contact with the Resistance leaders, she finds them reluctant to help. Finally, agreeing to place herself in the midst of the danger as a slave in exchange for breaking her brother out of prison, they reach a deal. Laia has no idea of what she's agreed to.As the new, pretty slave, Laia quickly attracts some unwanted attention. However, Elias Veturius, the son of the feared Commandant, seems to constantly come to her rescue. The two form a tenuous friendship.Elias is one of the most skilled Masks, but questions his future within the empire. He resists the loss of his soul and the bonding with his mask. Despite the darkness of the life he leads, he still has some goodness. He recognizes the evil of the empire and wants nothing more than to escape this life that he was forced into.Battles, betrayals and danger abound. I was never bored while listening to this audiobook. It kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish.Although there is some romance and sweet moments, the love story is subdued. Don't expect any type of sordid love affair with this one. It just doesn't happen. However, this was still a highly entertaining and captivating story with beautiful imagery. I lost myself completely in this world and the plight of Laia and Elias. It was wonderful! I dived into the second book immediately.Check out more of my reviews at www.bookaddicthaven.com
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  • Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)
    January 1, 1970
    HOLY SHIT
  • ♥ℂĦℝΪՖƬΪℕÅ
    January 1, 1970
    5 Bleeding, burning skies! ★'s “The field of battle is my temple. The sword point is my priest. The dance of death is my prayer. The killing blow is my release.”“Fear is only your enemy if you allow it to be. Too much fear and you're paralyzed. Too little fear and you're arrogant.”Buddy read with my VK/GR besttie Tania Parvin*Reread*Wowww! I love 'An Ember in the Ashes'!! It was even better the second time around if that's even possible! Again... It captured me from the very first page and held 5 Bleeding, burning skies! ★'s “The field of battle is my temple. The sword point is my priest. The dance of death is my prayer. The killing blow is my release.”“Fear is only your enemy if you allow it to be. Too much fear and you're paralyzed. Too little fear and you're arrogant.”Buddy read with my VK/GR besttie Tania Parvin*Reread*Wowww! I love 'An Ember in the Ashes'!! It was even better the second time around if that's even possible! Again... It captured me from the very first page and held my attention the whole way through. An Ember in the Ashes is a real page-turner and it will leave you gasping for more! It was so hard putting this book down during the buddy read because I could have easily read this in one sitting :) Yeahhhh, It was that kinda good. The word "good" though, is such a small word to describe what this was. So here are a few better-fitted words to drive my point across- Amazing, alluring, addictive, awestruck, captivating, fantastic, powerful, wonderful, etc... Sabaa Tahir has created something really special here. The plot, the writing style, the world and the characters are EVERYTHING that makes a story incredible!!! The Martial Empire is a brutal dark world, a place where any form of defiance is punishable by the Commandant and usually those who are stupid enough, find themselves DEAD! Slaves are lower than dirt and are disposable. You can do whatever you like to a slave... NOTHING, I mean NOTHING is off limits! In this book, you are introduced to a world that was overtaken years ago by the Empire. It's a horrifyingly terrible place, that is run by fear and death. A world of loyalties, lines crossed, futures foretold, treachery and of course the Resistance. The heroine is Laia, she comes across as cowardice at first but eventually, she finds her inner Lioness. She is a very likable person and easy to sympathize with. The hero is Elias, and he's a mask. Masks are to be feared but Elias is different from the rest. He hates the life that was chosen for him. More than anything he just wants to be free from it all. Elias is strong and courageous. I LOVE him so so so much ;) An Ember in the Ashes surpasses all the hype and I highly recommend this book/series to everyone looking for something dark and that will draw you in completely. *This cover is beautifully done and with that title, I really had no choice but to read it!*“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.”
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  • Sana
    January 1, 1970
    Buddy read with Jahanzaib who i ditched lmaoAlso, spoilers. Some won't be marked.So, this review is not 100000 years late, I don't know why y'all starin' at me like that, okay. The first 40% of this book was unbearable and I was going to dnf if it weren't for this buddy read. However, I am so glad I pushed through the beginning of this book because boy did this get so much better.There's this shitload of info dump and slow, boring plot towards the beginning that made me want to shoot myself in t Buddy read with Jahanzaib who i ditched lmaoAlso, spoilers. Some won't be marked.So, this review is not 100000 years late, I don't know why y'all starin' at me like that, okay. The first 40% of this book was unbearable and I was going to dnf if it weren't for this buddy read. However, I am so glad I pushed through the beginning of this book because boy did this get so much better.There's this shitload of info dump and slow, boring plot towards the beginning that made me want to shoot myself in the head because fuck, man, I don't need so much info dump and boredom right at the beginning!!! The writing and character's were extremely uninteresting and dull and I simply could not care and found myself skimming through the shit that was the first 200(??) pages of this book. Though the brutal scenes were enjoyable (hehehe) it was still boring. But when Laia starts spying in the Commandments home, things get so much more interesting.The character who I enjoyed reading most about was Laia. I know that people say her character was boring, uninteresting and underdeveloped and though it's true, I still liked her character the most. There's just something about danger and spying that I love. Personally, the thrill of almost getting caught, trying not to get caught, and learning about the brutality of the Empire and the Commandment is just so exciting.(view spoiler)[The one scene about whipping the ten year old to death was just too cruel though. (hide spoiler)]Though Laia is not so special, I still liked her much more than Helene and the other characters. Elias is my second favorite. His POV for the first 50% of this book was also uninteresting and boring. I honestly couldn't find a fuck to give about his whining about the Empire and him fucking around with Helene's feelings (not cool). He was so bland??? This kid needs some salt. The romance is shit. There is literally no chemistry. It is ridiculous insta love. It is absolutely pointless, but I loved it lmao.Overall, this book is brutal and unlike any dystopian I've ever read before. I'm surprised by how much I enjoyed it, despite the slow beginning!!Blog: here
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  • Adam Silvera
    January 1, 1970
    THIS REREAD WAS EVEN MORE EPIC THAN THE FIRST READ IN 2014. Love this book and the audiobook was AMAZING. My first audiobook ever. Off to go read/listen to A TORCH AGAINST THE NIGHT for the first time!
  • Natalie Monroe
    January 1, 1970
    Nice Natalie: Let's start this civil. After you.Cynical Natalie: Don't mind if I do. An Ember In The Ashes is cliche tripe—Nice Natalie: But we enjoyed it!Cynical Natalie: Pipe down and wait your turn. As I was saying, it's your generic dystopian fantasy. Evil government+class divide+forbidden romance. Its only saving grace is that it's mildly better than Red Queen, which is like saying being dipped in acid is less painful than being burnt at stake.Nice Natalie: Are you done?Cynical Natalie: No. Nice Natalie: Let's start this civil. After you.Cynical Natalie: Don't mind if I do. An Ember In The Ashes is cliche tripe—Nice Natalie: But we enjoyed it!Cynical Natalie: Pipe down and wait your turn. As I was saying, it's your generic dystopian fantasy. Evil government+class divide+forbidden romance. Its only saving grace is that it's mildly better than Red Queen, which is like saying being dipped in acid is less painful than being burnt at stake.Nice Natalie: Are you done?Cynical Natalie: No. What the fuck is with the rape shit?Nice Natalie: I liked it! It adds a realist element. Slaves get raped all the time, so it's refreshing to see it's an actual threat.Cynical Natalie: It's an actual threat in Game of Thrones. Here, it's all posturing and no action. Accepting your premise that slaves are often raped, which I agree with, why is Laia the only one who's constantly threatened with rape? What about Izzi or Cook? What about the other female slaves? What haven't we seen concrete evidence of rape except in the case of Laia? That makes it a plot device. Elias swoops in and rescues her from Marcus, for fuck's sake.Nice Natalie: But she doesn't fall in love with him because of that.Cynical Natalie: You're right. She falls for him, and vice versa, because they both won the genetic lottery. "Instead, I'm faced with a slave-girl looking up at me through impossibly long eyelashes. A heated, visceral shock flares through me at the clarity of her dark gold eyes. For a second, I forget my name....Her black dress fits her like a glove, sliding over every curve in a way that makes more than one head turn. Her full lips and fine, straight nose would be the envy of most girls." I'm not even going near this one: "Many of the young men around me sneak glances at her. She doesn't seem to notice, which, of course, makes her all the more intriguing." Nice Natalie: Other rapes are mentioned. Remember (view spoiler)[the Commandant? (hide spoiler)]Cynical Natalie: We don't have concrete proof. I have my own problems with her. (view spoiler)[We're led to believe the Commandant is sadistic and cruel because she suffered rape. It's the Maleficent problem. It hints rape is the worst thing that can happen to a woman, which brings up a lot of sticky gender issues. (hide spoiler)]Nice Natalie: An Ember In The Ashes is a male-dominated world. She has to be extra tough.Cynical Natalie: You mean to the point where she twirls her mustache? Nice Natalie: Not all villains are horrible. Marcus is pretty fleshed out.Cynical Natalie: At the expense of world-building. Society is divided between Martials and Scholar slaves and... what, a bunch of trees and ocean?Laia's brother hardly has any personality at all. It's a cheap dystopian trope. Take out the sibling to create angst, rage against the system, and get the plot ball moving. Forgive me if I don't shed a tear for a character I knew for twenty pages.Nice Natalie: Uh-uh. Remember the last trial? We were devastated when Elias (view spoiler)[had to kill his best friends. (hide spoiler)]Cynical Natalie: Devastated is a very strong word. What about Helene? She should've died, too. It was a total cop-out.Nice Natalie: It was a clever loophole.Cynical Natalie: No, it was to preserve the love triangle. Love triangles. What's the point? We all know Elias and Laia will live happily ever after and produce physically perfect kids for the Empire's version of Vogue. Oh, wait, that's too much world-building.Nice Natalie: Maybe the author will expand the map in the sequel, like in Prodigy. You don't know that.Cynical Natalie: I do know the writing leans towards impersonal third-person rather the first-person it's written in. Thoughts are usually in italics and the characters constantly talk to themselves, like "Don't be stupid, Laia" or something. It's annoying and a disgrace to the style you've chosen. Nice Natalie: You can complain all you want. You can't deny we enjoyed it. Cynical Natalie: In the moment. Give it a couple months. I guarantee you won't remember anyone's names.Nice Natalie: I cordially accept your challenge.Cynical Natalie: Other Nice Natalie/Cynical Natalie brawls reviews:The Fault In Our StarsA Girl Like YouIf I StayDreams of Gods & MonstersThe MartianMe and Earl and the Dying GirlCatching FireAll The RageHarry Potter & the Cursed ChildThe Hammer of ThorThe Ship of the DeadCaravalWarcross
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  • Zainab
    January 1, 1970
    I've been throwing four and five stars here and there recently but it's not my fault that every other book I read turns out to be a gem. All these (good) books came out during the time when even the word 'fantasy' would make me cringe but I've grown to like the genre so I'm lucky in this way that I have so many books to read now.Anyway, this book is thrilling. The story is very different from other books in it's genre. The characters are so loveable (and some equally hateable. I'm looking at you I've been throwing four and five stars here and there recently but it's not my fault that every other book I read turns out to be a gem. All these (good) books came out during the time when even the word 'fantasy' would make me cringe but I've grown to like the genre so I'm lucky in this way that I have so many books to read now.Anyway, this book is thrilling. The story is very different from other books in it's genre. The characters are so loveable (and some equally hateable. I'm looking at you Commandant & Marcus) you have our very strong protagonist Laia, Helene with her big big heart, Izzy who is so friking cute and of course sweet sweet Elias. The guy is so friking sweet, man. I love him.The book is adventurous, it's amusing, it's thrilling and I'm not doing it the least bit of justice with this review but trust me, it's amazing!
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  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    "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."Spoiler Free Review.I'm in utter bliss after reading this!ALL OF THE STARS, every single one! I am unashamedly in LOVE with this and everything about it. I can't believe it has taken me this long to actually read it! An Ember in the Ashes has "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."Spoiler Free Review.I'm in utter bliss after reading this!ALL OF THE STARS, every single one! I am unashamedly in LOVE with this and everything about it. I can't believe it has taken me this long to actually read it! An Ember in the Ashes has been on my bookshelf for the longest time, and I got a message from Fathima being like, we should Buddy Read this, and me being the utter fool I am was HESITANT! However this was so unexpected and now it's one of my new favourites and I could cry with happiness, because of how much I loved this, but I'll stop rambling and try and write a review, even though in my head I'm thinking I need A Torch Against the Night right now. Also I'm just throwing it out there this is the BEST Buddy Read I've done with Fathima this year, we finished it pretty much at the exact same time! It's a miracle! I'm just going to throw it out there, by the first chapter I was already drawn in. It was so intense and so much seemed to be happening! I found the book so easy to follow, and things were fast paced, but didn't seem to miss anything. The character building was done so well and it keeps you second guessing things (which is always a plus). Whenever I picked up the book my heart would not stop going, like I was worried for my characters here! It's one of those books where you're saying to yourself Just one more chapter... 10 chapters later and your mind is blown! There was always something happening, building or relationships, The Trials, secrecy, cunning characters, wicked characters, mystical things that shouldn't be there. I was just so blown away by everything."Fear can be good, Laia. It can keep you alive. But don't let it control you. Don't let it show doubts within you. When the fear takes over, use the only thing more powerful, more indestructible, to fight it: your spirit. Your heart."Characters This is going to be a hot mess...Firstly we have Laia in the first few chapters we see her whole world turn upside down, I initially didn't know what to actually think of her, however as the story progressed I actually enjoyed her character so much more than what I thought! We see her go from someone who seems quite timid, go to great lengths to do what she believes is right. I like how strong willed she is, that she tries to defend herself, we see her open up and question things she knows is wrong. Something that I really really really enjoyed was her friendship with Izzi (and also Cook kind of?!) it was see them both come together and see what they can do to help each other out.Here is where it may become me just raving on and on about my new book love Elias... oh my. I think I have come to the point where I can hold my hands up and say I am in a new set of crazy with how much I love Elias! We see him challenge things he knows are wrong. Everything that he's supposed to be, he detests, even with his friends he asks questions and wants them to know that what they do is wrong. I loved the idea of his Mask and how it doesn't set on his face like the others, his struggles he goes through and that he stands up for what is right. At times I felt like he was my knight in shining armour... I know, I know. I can't help but swoon right now. My poor little heart couldn't take those last few chapters!Teeny tiny shout out to Helene I have no idea what to think right now... all the way hrough I was asking myself do I actually like her (I still don't know the answer to this) but I know why she is like she is, and I'm so intrigued by many many things! I'm looking forward to reading about her in the next book!What I liked?- I have a soft spot for Izzi and Cook, and I need to know EVERYTHING, back stories included.- TRIALS! Those trials were so good! The third one, I was like fuuuuuuuuuck! Then in the 4th one I was doing the same!- CHAPTER 41 STOLE MY HEART, I don't care, I loved it!- Cooks story for Laia- Elias... you know I have heart eyes for you.- All of the unanswered questions!- The fact that I had no clue who would win the Trials.- The bad characters are sooooooo evil and I just love it!- When it was the moon party, there was such freedom and joy, my heart was just so happy.I honestly didn't dislike anythingOverall, this is clearly a new favourite of mine. I can't wait to Buddy Read A Torch Against The Night, if my ship doesn't sail I'm coming for you Sabaa Tahir. But seriously I have no clue what's going to happen, I feel so happy that I read this and I need answers!I thought I'd listen to the audiobook seen as though A Reaper at the Gates is out in just over a month, even though I read this literally 4 months ago... yep I did that. So some thoughts I picked up this time around:- I actually liked Helene a lot more, I think it was easier to see her thought process a second time around and I didn't give her enough credit, my eyes were focused elsewhere.- There's some very subtle things I hadn't noticed before-Keenan still annoyed me- The commandant is just so evil, and I like itttt!- Kind of wanting to know more about the Auras- ELIAS IS STILL SO PRECIOUS AND I LOVE HIM- Ship needs to sail.- It's just as good re-reading as when I first read it.I love this series.An Ember in the Ashes - 5 Stars!A Torch Against The Night - 5 StarsA Reaper at the Gates - 5 Stars
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