An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir | Review

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An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir | ReviewAn Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Series: An Ember in the Ashes #1
Published by Razorbill on April 28, 2015
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 446
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon

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.

(Last Updated On: January 16, 2022)
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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.

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I’m currently on the waitlist for the second book, so hopefully, I get my hands on it soon!

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  1. I do agree on the slow parts!

    How did you feel about the double love-triangle and the kinda-rapy scenes?!

    I think I was one of the reviewers that wasn't really positive about this book…
    Hope the second one is better for me, but still glad you liked it, as well as a lot of others!

  2. I had the same thought about the two MC's meeting up! It seems like whenever you start out a book with more than one POV, those two (or more) characters are going to meet up at some point in the book and in most books, it happens in the first 10 chapters or so. It took so long for Elias and Laia to meet! I kept expecting it to happen and so while I was reading, I kept thinking things like 'and Laia is just going to come around the corner and bump into him' and it never happened! Lovely review, Krystianna!

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

  3. I read this way back when it first came out and I preordered the second one and haven't got around to reading it and I was a little annoyed to learn it's a long series, but just because I am so not good at waiting. I don't remember it being slow but I guess there is a lot of world building and set up for this going on at first. I got sucked in straight away so it didn't feel slow but it definitely builds towards the end when I just powered through reading.

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