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.
I had heard nothing but amazing things about An Ember in the Ashes, so I knew that it was a book that I had to check out. I bought the book back when it had first been released, but it just sat on my shelf for ages until I finally picked it up.
The one thing I’d like to point out about this book is how slow it was. I don’t know if it’s just something I have against fantasy books or what, but I found this book to be so slow for at least almost 60% of the novel, which absolutely sucks. I am glad that I stuck it through, though. It really started to get better towards the end.
Now that I think about it, it may have been going slow because I knew that the two main characters were going to meet up at one point and I just expected that to happen way earlier than it actually did.
From the very beginning, I was a bigger fan of Elias than Laia. I just found his point of view to be way more interesting. Laia was really badass though, so she was a really respectable character, especially because she was going through a lot of tough stuff just to be back with her brother once again.
At the very end, there was a huge plot twist that I didn’t see coming regarding Elias. I don’t want to go into detail and ruin it for you, but honestly, I didn’t see it coming!
I was also really drawn to An Ember in the Ashes because I had heard that it was a duology. I’m a little upset to find that now it’s supposed to be a really long series. I don’t know if I’ll be able to stick it through all the way, especially if it continues being pretty slow.
I’m currently on the waitlist for the second book, so hopefully I get my hands on it soon!