Saturday, May 2, 2015

An Ember in the Ashes

An Ember in the Ashes: Sabaa Tahir 

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.


I was so nervous about this book. It seemed to me that lately the extremely hyped books were very anticlimactic. Not that they are bad, just that I can think of books that come out that same month that were better and deserve the hype more. Regardless, An Ember in the Ashes deserves the hype. It is clearly obvious why this book was already optioned for a movie. I just have to wonder how they are going to translate so much book awesomeness into the usual two hour movie time frame. 

The world-building was fantastic. The world is amazingly believable and totally awful. Even though it's setting is ancient Rome,  I don't see some of the things that happened as a far exaggeration - it's definitely scary. I feel like some of the things may hit too close to home or may be sensitive for some people. There is a lot of violence and talk of sexual assault, but all great books come with controversy. 

So, one thing I'm seeing around the Internet is how many people are Team Helene and how little people are Team Laia. I had the complete opposite reaction. For half the book, I thought Helene was a pretentious snob. I definitely think she grew as a character eventually, but honestly not enough that I'd be #TeamHelene. Given, there were times I understood her and could empathize with her. There was never a time I liked her more than Laia. I do understand that she was super badass, though. The argument I saw people give was "Laia just kind of moped around". My reaction to that is - did we read the same book? I thought Laia tried to fight every chance she got! At first I thought I was going to favor Elias's point of view over Laia's, but I found myself loving both of them equally. Laia had her entire life turned upside down and she never managed to be sulky or annoying. Anyway, I definitely liked Laia enjoyed Laia much more than I originally thought I was going to. 



"There are two kinds of guilt, girl: the kind that drowns you until you're useless, 
and the kind that fires your soul to purpose "

ELIAS VETURIUS. Swoons. all. over. Talk about the definition of a perfect guy! He has so many internal struggles going on inside of him that he just wants to be a good person but everyone around him is doing wrong things and he doesn't know how to stop them. His mom is the commandant who rules over Blackcliff Military Academy and she's a sadist bitch. That's also who Laia ends up being slave to since the commandant's slave killed herself a week prior. Elias seemed to go along with what his comrades wanted in the beginning of the story, but when he met Laia it really seemed like he was risking everything to keep her safe. 


"You are an ember in the ashes, Elias Veturius. You will spark and burn, ravage and destroy.
You cannot change it. You cannot stop it."

The only thing I wasn't 100% sold on was the fantasy portion. I thought it would have been great without it, and there wasn't enough of it in the book to hold it's own as far as that goes. I wonder if Sabaa has something in mind about the fantasy portion for another book, which I'm sure will definitely bring things together more as far as that goes. But as a standalone, I don't think it was cleared up enough. Besides that, the book was entirely fantastic and I'm hoping there's a sequel! Did you read An Ember in the Ashes yet? If so, what did you think? 


10 comments:

  1. OOOh nice review! Seeing lots of positive feedback on this one! I am so glad I won a copy! Now I just have to sit by my mailbox and wait for it to arrive! LOL! Great review! Glad to hear that this one was so enjoyable!

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    1. haha YAY! I hope you love it! I won a finished copy too! I am tempted to buy it though also because I want a sequel so bad lol. You'll have to tell me what you think!

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  2. I begged my mom to go to barnes and noble to get it for me. I just received it and this review has made me so excited to read it. I was also nervous to read it bec it was so hyped up and we all know what happens to books that get extremely hyped up. Now I'm just waiting on A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas haha.

    Alex @ The Book's Buzz

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    1. I know I was nervous as well! Lately I haven't been liking the really hyped books but I loved this! I'm also waiting on A Court of Thorns and Roses! I was going to preorder but I always get preorders a few days late and I have a B&N right by my College so I'm just gonna go on Tuesday!

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  3. Lovely review, having been dying to read this book, happiest of reading!

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    1. Thank you, & I hope you get a chance to read it soon!

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  4. I've been seeing this book EVERYWHERE! And it sounds really interesting! Maybe I'll give it a shot... :)

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    1. You should certainly give it a shot! I think you'll really like it!

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  5. So many people love this! I just can't wait to read it. I like your review :)

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    1. Thank you! I hope you like it when you read it!

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