Sunday, January 3, 2016

{Review} An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Published: April 28th, 2015 by Razorbill
Series: An Ember in the Ashes #1
Source: Library
Genre: YA, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 446

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.

When I heard all the amazing reviews for this book, coupled with the fact that it had been picked up to become a movie before it was even published, I thought that I was going to love this book, but I never fully fell in love with it.  I really feel like I am in the minority with my opinion with this book and I can’t really put my finger on why I never fully committed to this book. 

I thought that the writing for this book was very well articulated.  The chapters flowed seamlessly between alternating points of view.  I never found myself confused about which voice I was reading in.  I also thought that Tahir provided very detailed descriptions of the setting so that I was able to picture it in my head.

I also really liked the plot of this book.  I thought that is was very fast-paced and mysterious.  I liked that there was a lot of layers to the plot and they were slowely peeled away as you got further into the story.  I am not exactly sure how this book was written to be a standalone considering it left off on a huge cliffhanger.  I mean, I am all for open ended books, but this book just stopped mid action.  It would have been completely cruel for there not to be a second book.

I think where I had a problem with this book was my inability to fully connect with either of the characters.  I never found any of the characters annoying or irritating, I just could not fully invest in their well-being.  There were scenes were I should have been devastated, but I really could have cared less.  Without the connection to any characters, it also effected how I felt about the romance.  I never really felt any of the romances were genuine and heartfelt, I just kind of felt confused.  I usually like love triangles, but it was unusual having the main characters have a budding romance with each other and then both have something with someone else as well.

Overall, I think that a lot of people would love this book, but unfortunately, I was not one of them.  I am still thinking that I might read the second book, but I think I will wait until the movie is released and then see how I feel about the first book.  I would say that if this book seems interesting, then you should defiantly pick it up because you will more than likely enjoy it.


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