by Sabaa Tahir
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format Read: Audiobook
Published by Listening Library on April 28th 2015
Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, "An Ember in the Ashes "is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It s a story that s literally burning to be told.
LAIA is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire s greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution.
ELIAS is the academy s finest soldier and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias is considering deserting the military, but before he can, he s ordered to participate in a ruthless contest to choose the next Martial emperor. When Laia and Elias s paths cross at the academy, they find that their destinies are more intertwined than either could have imagined and that their choices will change the future of the empire itself."
An Ember in the Ashes was such a pleasant surprise! I chose this audiobook for my recent train trips because I was in the mood for fantasy, and I soon found myself pulled into the story and wishing my trips were longer.
On the surface, Laia and Elias are characters that fantasy readers have probably encountered before. Laia is the poor girl from a conquered nation, placed in a situation where she must fend for herself and risk her life to save her brother’s. She joins the Resistance and agrees to go undercover in Blackcliff Military Academy in order to gain information to swap for help in freeing her brother. But the Resistance is not as honest or righteous as Laia wants to believe…and her dead parents seemed to play a part in this.
Elias is a soldier on the opposite side, training to be a Mask at Blackcliff Military Academy — one of the most deadly training schools where they basically knock the humanity out of you from a young age. He’s strong and a great fighter…but deep down, he doesn’t want to become a Mask, and as a result the mask he wears has yet to meld to his face properly.
While these characters may sound familiar, they are so much more. They are written well and I found them to be so realistic — I felt every emotion they felt, and rooted for them even when the going got tough. I was seriously so invested in both Laia and Elias.
The world they live in is cruel, and horrible. It’s built like ancient Rome, where it’s survival of the fittest really. Elias’s people, the Martials, have conquered the Scholars, a once thriving society that has been forced into slavery and has now become illiterate.
There are horrible people in the Martial Empire, and then there is the Commandant — who is on a whole new level of bitch. This book is filled with so many edge-of-your-seat moments that had me holding my breath one second, and grinding my teeth in hate the next. I became so invested in the characters, and a huge part of it was
This book is filled with so many edge-of-your-seat moments that had me holding my breath one second, and grinding my teeth in hate the next. I became so invested in the characters, and a huge part of it was because of the audiobook readers. They really encompassed their characters and brought them to life — seriously great job!
If you’re looking for your next fantasy read, give An Ember in the Ashesa go! I need book 2 now!!