An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Expected Publication : April 28, 2015
An Ember In The Ashes is about a boy named Elias and a girl named Laia. Elias is the best student in the academy where they train to be soldiers, and Laia is a scholar girl who’s world is turned upside down then a raid of her grandparent’s home ends up with her as a slave to the Commandant of the academy, her brother taken to the prisons, and her only other living relatives dead. But Laia isn’t just a slave, she’s also a spy for the resistance group who’s promised her brother’s escape based on information she feeds them.
Elias on the other hand is a soldier in the academy, but one who plans on deserting the Martial’s upon graduating, but his plans get pushed back when a prophecy tells of the Emporor’s demise and a new Emperor must be crowned, and Elias gets chosen as a contender in the trials to weed out who will be the next emperor.
Clearly his and Laia’s paths cross they find themselves pulled into one another’s lives.
So, this book I thought was good but not as great as everyone thought it to be. I found myself fighting the first 150 pages to keep going. Mainly because I found Laia to be extremely annoying and thought the book would be 1000 times stronger from Elias’ perspective. I loved Elias, I thought his character was more interesting than Laia but I did enjoy the insight she gave into who the commandant was when the Masks didn’t really get a full view of that and it was a nice addition to the book.
I like Tahir’s writing, it was nice and a good paced book from about half way to the end. I found myself loving the book more towards the end rather than anywhere else. I finished wanting more which is always nice but it was kind of a let down that I didn’t always want more from the very beginning. I enjoyed a lot of the lore Cook gave towards the end about the jinn and the efrit’s and the Augurs. I LOVED when Elias gave his back story but it all ended up being spilled out in the end, and I wish it was more sporadic throughout the book just to keep me engaged.
I wished that Tahir wrote Laia as a stronger woman, I think that if she wasn’t so whiney and upset from the beginning it’d be more enjoyable from her perspective because the whole time I read her perspective I only read faster to get it over with. All the time it was all about how she had to be strong to save Darin and how this was all for him and how she needed to be as strong as her mother once was, and it was overly repetitive to the point where I thought I was just getting hit in the head with a two by four with her same thoughts written on that two by four.
I feel like maybe the hype of the book got the best of me. Which is why I’m slightly disappointed in it. I thought it was going to be a great Roman Empire-esque world where the struggle of a strong female spy, trying to keep herself undercover and the inner fight of a soldier to do the right thing and fighting with where his morals and loyalties lie would’ve been wonderful, I think Laia just needed to be a better developed character in my eyes. Also, the kind of weird dual love interest with both characters where they’re interested in multiple people kind of threw me off the wrong way. But all in all, this book wasn’t so bad, but it also wasn’t what I was really expecting.
I know many people who loved this book though, so I guess I just have to put mine in there for a little bit of a mix review on An Ember In The Ashes