I am always hesitant to read books that have been hyped up. Usually it ends with me wondering why did I just waste 8h of my life on this awful book! With An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir this was not the case. I picked it up on a whim when I noticed it floating around. It took me about 6 months to actually remove it from my leaning tower of to read books and I flew through it in about 3 days (it would’ve been 1 day but work was in there somewhere you know). Check out the Goodreads synopsis below before the review.
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.
This book was so gripping! I was obsessed with it. I sent Alex giant texts about it throughout the day. I’m pretty sure he was living the tale with me.
Laia was not as whiny as I thought she’d be. That is my biggest pet peeve in YA, whiny protagonists. No, she was quite the opposite. Laia’s emotions were so in tune with the storyline that it was hard to think of her as weak and in need of saving. She is definitely one of my favourite female characters in any YA book I’ve read.
Elias was so well crafted. His mind was so complex but very well written. I felt all of Elias’ pain while reading, I was so engrossed!
The Commandant was the character to hate. I always have a soft spot for villains however and found her story to be quite complicated. I wanted more of a back story to her than what was given in the book but we will see what book 2 brings.
Helene, oh Helene boy did I feel for her. I think she was actually my favourite character. I loved her strength and so many other things but if I even mention them it’ll spoil things!
Fast paced from start to end. There was not a moment of boredom or a moment of “maybe i’ll just put this down for a bit and come back”. No way I was clenching that massive paperback and turned into a speed reading demon!
The one thing that was lacking for me, this is usually the case with fantasy, was there was not enough world building. I wanted more history! I wanted more details on the Augers and the past. More more more! Book 2 is in my possession however (immediately went out and grabbed it when I finished this one) and we will see what greatness it holds.
It’s funny I was talking to a few friends the other day about rarely giving books 4 or 5 stars because they just don’t hit all my requirements and what do you know the next day I start AEITA and I am hooked all the way to 4.5 stars!
Page Count – 446 pages
Rating – 4.5 stars