[ARC] Book Review: AN EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Pages: 464

Release date: April 2015

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Goodreads Summary:

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.

My Review:

Holy crap balls, you guys. There is no better way to open this review up than the image of me clutching the book in my hands, hair matted and snared from sleepless nights, and my mouth gaped open and then muttering “holy crap balls” as I close the book.

That is how it happened.

Right off the bat, I’m captivated by Tahir’s writing style. It’s so vivid and alluring without seeming like overkill. She has a way with her smilies and metaphors that I just really like them. They don’t feel forced or out of place, it all blends in to her writing style and the overall tone of the novel.

The pacing of this novel is so top notch. I mean we jump POVs between Laia and Elias which is freaking awesome because it gives me a much deeper understanding of not only the characters, but plot as well. But we are constantly going from action to action and I was always on my toes because of it.

Characters…. I love them. So, so much. My favorite thing about Laia is that she doesn’t start off as this strong figure, one who is fierce and brave. I think lately I’ve run into characters that act very brave and tough, where as Laia is the complete opposite. I was drawn in by that! She runs when she thinks she should have stayed and fought. She just has so much fear inside her. But as I read on, I saw her development and my god, I LOVE seeing character development! Laia is so awesome. I want to be her friend, you guys. I’d pick her second to last on my dodgeball team, that’s how serious our friendship would be. (Behind the sarcasm, that really says a lot……) As for Elias, I love his conflicts. His inner turmoil between wanting to be a Mask only to be with his family (really his Gramps) and his best friend, and yet he wants nothing more than to be free of the seemingly wrong and evil lifestyle in the Empire. And through it all, through the trials and seeing him interact with his peers (even Laia) I just started to fall for him. I was routing for him the entire time! And moving on to secondary characters, from Keenan to Helen, all wonderfully written. At times I found myself not liking Helen but I think that’s more because I didn’t like her with Elias (because Laia and Elias is OTP) but that aside, she is a very fiercely loyal person and she has her loyalties in her duty which is interesting to see play out.

Once we reach the end, omg do things get real. I was rushing to finish! This book is a real nail-biter, and I love that I was so engaged in the story that it felt like I was there going through these things with the main characters.

A wonderfully written debut novel. I cannot wait to read more by Tahir. **And it is important to note that this is a BIG contender for best book of 2015. I know it’s early in the year, but a good and quality novel such as this cannot be ignored.

Go read it!

MY RATING: 5/5 

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