Thursday, April 30, 2015

Review: An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

An Ember In The Ashes 

Genre: Young Adult - High Fantasy
Release Date: April 28th 2015 by Razorbill
Book: ARC, Won from Michelle Krys
Recommended for: Readers who adores High Fantasy! Also to readers that are not very fond of fantasy novels, you'll surely change your mind about fantasy novels once you read this.
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.

It's been a while since I've written a review but worry no more because I'm back! I won an ARC of this book from the wonderful Michelle Krys. I actually don't know much about this book (except that it was a debut + a fantasy novel) when I won this but I had a gut-feel that it was going to be amazing and I was damn right. IT WAS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING.

Reasons Why An Ember In The Ashes Is Amazing:
1. Because I said so.
2. Massive character development.
3. Flawed, genuine characters.
4. Two swoon-worthy guys, respectively Keenan and Elias.
5. The author has an absolutely brilliant writing style!
6. It's such a compulsive read.
An Ember In The Ashes is told from two point-of-views. From Laia, a Scholar girl, and Elias, a Martial/Mask. Both are very different persons considering their "label". Scholars and Martials are enemies because Martials invaded the Scholar lands and enslaved the Scholars. 

Before reading the book, I had quite a problem because the "bad government versus slaves/poor people" scheme is CLICHE and I wondered how Tahir will make this story much more amazing than other novels in the High Fantasy genre with the almost same storyline as her debut novel. And you know what? She made this story much more amazing from all the other High Fantasy novels with her brilliant, eloquent writing style and a well-constructed, convincing world-building.

Off to the story's characters; Laia seemed like a weak Scholar girl in the beginning of the story but I saw her transformed into a BAD-ASS HEROINE. The story started with Laia's house being raided by Martial soldiers (AKA Masks) and by the end of the chapter, her grandparents were killed and his brother, Darin, was held captive by the Masks which provoked her to seek help from the Scholar rebels known as the Resistance. She's hoping that the Resistance would help her in getting Darin out of jail because he is the only family she has left. When she found the Resistance, they made a deal. The Resistance will help Laia in freeing her brother from jail if Laia is willing to be the Resistance's spy at Blackcliff (the Empire's greatest Military academy) by being the Commandant's slave. The Commandant is the one who rules over Blackcliff where Martials are being trained to be soldiers/Masks.

Elias, on the other hand, is a Martial/Mask. He is Blackcliff's most finest soldier but he secretly hates being in Blackcliff and watching innocent people die. Martials are cruel, ruthless, and just purely evil but Elias is way different from most Martials because he has a HEART. Yes, he has a heart, people. He's compassionate, brave, wise, and smart. I adore him because he admits his mistakes -- that's what makes him so genuine. Both Elias and Laia are genuine, actually. I love them both! <3

But there's also another character that I loved and it's... Keenan! A Scholar rebel who eventually had feelings for Laia. Usually, I'm not okay with love-triangle but in this book, I adored it! I SHIP IT. I ship Keenan + Laia as much as I ship Elias + Laia. My heart goes to Elias and my mind goes to Keenan. WHY IS LIFE SO HARD?!?!
Another thing about this book, it left me torn between two HOLY OF ALL HOLY swoon-worthy guys, Keenan + Elias.

One of my problems in Fantasy novels are there are SO many characters but while reading this book, it felt like it's not a problem for me anymore. This novel proved that "the more, the merrier." And of course, THE ENDING. It was kind of a cliffhanger that wasn't a cliffhanger, you get what I mean? I'm fine with the ending but it can't just end there! LIKE, NO WAY! Give me more, give us more! I NEED MORE. There must be a sequel! Seriously. 

I must say, An Ember In The Ashes is a novel that should not be missed! A novel with amazing, strong characters, brilliant writing style and a brilliant world building. YOU. MUST. READ. THIS!

Troglodyte forever,


  1. Tiffany @ The Bookish ThoughtApril 30, 2015 at 10:05 AM

    Glad that you love this one! I really can't wait to have that book in my hand now, especially turns out there's 2 hot guys <33
    Anyway, great review, Kyla :)

  2. YAY! The more reviews for this one I read, the more excited I am and I just cannot WAIT till my preorder arrives so I can start reading it!! NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED!! *makes grabby hands*

  3. YOU'RE MAKING ME SO SO EXCITED!!! This review is so filled with enthusiasm and fangirling I feel like I should read this book now. Like, RIGHT NOW.

  4. I think this is actually the first review I have read for this book! And I don't even really know a lot about it, haha XD But from what you've mentioned here in your review, I think I might like this one :D

    I really do love fantasy novels, and since you mentioned on point world building, that means good things.

    But a love triangle? :/ I am so, so over love triangles because they never end well. "My" guy either ends up dead, or pawned off to a friend of the heroine's, which is always annoying. Hopefully this one turns out well for all of the characters!

    Cliffhangers are always so painful because it means the time in between is filled with questions! I hope the wait isn't too long!

    Lovely review, Kyla ^.^

    1. Thanks for the wonderful comment, Chiara! <3


We love getting comments from all of you, dear Trogs. :)