BOOK REVIEW: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir


Oh-my-GOSH! Okay, so this book, huge as it is, was not enough! I could have read more... so much more and while I try not to be pushy and be that person who begs for a sequel, I am sending up prayers to the book gods that this book does not remain stand alone. Too many characters in this story earned the right to be fleshed out and oh the cliffhanger of an ending while certainly satisfactory lends itself to further plotting. Even Sabaa Tahir, the author agrees that she could and would love to write more. (x)


  • TITLE: An Ember in the Ashes
  • AUTHOR(S): Sabaa Tahir
  • SERIES: Stand Alone
  • PUB INFO: Penguin Razorbill for April 28, 2015
  • ACQUIRED HOW? Publisher sent ARC for honest review
  • BOOK RATING: Cherry Pie
So many times my childhood feels more like yesterday then the many years ago it really is. When beginning An Ember in the Ashes, the tone and feel of the narration reminded me of The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare. It was one of those books that affected my life for the better. It taught me how one could put aside hate and survive horrible things and forgive and fight without killing being a justifiable action. Violence does not solve societal wrongs and to remain human, to keep your soul intact, you must find a way get around the expectations of mankind's fight vs. flight response.

In An Ember in the Ashes, two souls collide and spark on different sides of the battle. Both long for freedom from their lot in life. Agency has been taken away from them in very different ways, and they both are slaves to societal demands and are broken, bruised but not without hope. They are alive!

Let me just say that Elias and Laia have reasons to run... run away towards freedom. Elias watches silently as he grows up surrounded by the blood of his brothers. Not brothers biologically but in training, warfare and the school that demands he take lives, hate his enemies and treat other humans as less than. Laia, watches her family die around her, her last remaining family -- her brother -- sent to the fiercest of all prisons in the empire. She gives up all chances of getting away from the empire which has ripped her family from this world, her life and goes right into the fray, the heart of conflict and without protection. She becomes a slave who is subjected to the whims of a cold-hearted, calculating, nearly soulless woman who has tied herself to a revengeful supernatural creature hellbent on destroying all scholars. Neither understand their part in the conflict but as they gravitate towards each other, their destines begin to overlap.

QUOTE ME: Tackling just these two lead characters could fill a book, however Sabaa created multi-faceted secondary characters who deserve just as much attention. Helene, Spiro, Izzi, Darin, Keenan, Cook and even the villains, Marcus, the Commandant, and the supernatural creatures long thought gone by the skeptics. With each new piece revealed of this complex story, the voice of a forgotten nation, a forgotten people comes to life -- they gain strength, courage and the fire to fight back against those who dare to suppress the hope and passion of a generation seeking change, willing to die for it. An interesting spin on the life or death and survival stories many YA series follow, An Ember in the Ashes sets a precedent with its character fighting against a birthright of violence, finding freedom in choosing death over taking life. Such a great story, great characters -- there's a vividness to every aspect of this novel that after finishing it, I immediately wanted to read it again. A definite must-read that doesn't fade quickly and becomes more savory on repeat readings. I am really desperate for more! These characters, their stories deserve more words.

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