Friday, October 2, 2015

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

                Happy Friday everyone!  I'm posting this before I head off to a book event, Ransom Riggs whoohoo.  Still I didn't want to miss my post for today since I have an awesome review lined up for sure.  I'll be discussing An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir.  Let's get down to business…and defeat the Huns (sorry Disney moment took over).

Rating: 5 Stars

                AnEmber in the Ashes takes place under the Martial Empire which is hard core strict.  It's like old Rome with a twist.  It's a brutal life for both the elite and the impoverished.  We follow Laia and Elias, two different characters,  Laia lives with her grandparents and brother until one day her brother is arrested for treason and she is forced to flee.  She must then seek out the resistance/rebels and ask for help.  She's willing to do anything to save him even risk her own life becoming a spy inside the military academy.  While there she meets Elias, the schools finest solider which his own secrets, mostly that he doesn't wish to be there and plans to escape this horrible life of blood and cruelty.  Soon though they realize that their destinies are intertwined and what they do will change the fate of the Empire.

                First I should point out this is in no way a stand-alone.    I went in thinking it was, I don’t know why but I swear at some point someone said it was a stand-alone.  I think it was first put forth that way but then it was picked up as a series, which I'm happy about but was shocked when I discovered it at the end.  So you're warned there.  We see the story and the world from two very different POV's of Laia and Elias.  Both have much in common with mysterious parents/parentage and feelings about things happening in their world, and trapped.  Still they are opposites outside.  He is an elite training to become a Mash, she is a scholar, what used to be a great race now pushed down and treated no better than slaves.  It was interesting seeing the perspective of both sides, from inside the lions den raised in it and maneuvering in it for years over someone thrust into it from the outside and forced to find her way.  I really liked both our lead characters, even if like always there were times I wanted to strangle them for one thing or another.  Overall I really liked them and I was excited to swap back and forth and see where they were at. 
One of 2 maps in the book!
                 We also have a vast selection of other characters to love or hate.  The Commandant, Snake & Toad (brothers), Helena, Cook, Keenan, Izzy, Nola, and Cain, just to name a few.  There is some serious stuff happening.  Not just the normal dangerous of the world itself the characters face, but the political aspirations, betrayal and back stabbing is in full force.  People are vicious.  You never know who to trust.  The world itself is so well done, I loved and hated it at the same time.  I loved how well it was done but wow would I hate to live there.  Never okay when slaves cane just be beaten or raped just because they caught the fancy of someone else like their lives mean nothing.  Ummm…nope for picking that world for where I'd like to be lol.  Because of this cruel world you are worried about your characters from the very start.  You find an instant connection with some and at every turn you wonder what will happen to them.  It will keep the heart racing for sure. 

                On top of the world being bad enough on its own we also have magic and such.  Yep.  I don't know which part was creepiest, it was all pretty serious but those masks take it for me.  These masks that form and bind into your skin so much so they are like your own face and you never take it off.  Nope.  The militia is for sure the worst training school ever.  Everyone no matter how good you are ends up beat and mutilated in one form or fashion.  Adding magic and demons and such on top just amp up an already fully charged book.  And those trials.  Wow they mean serious business. 

                I also found myself when no worrying for the safety of my favorites also trying to decide if I trusted half the people.  I was never quite sure if some people, a particular someone who likes to talk in vague answers and riddles, was to be trusted or not.  Same for the romance.  There wasn't a ton of it in the book, it was more focused on the plot and what was happening.  Given the severity of the world it was nice, still there was attraction and connections made and little pockets of levity in the story to give our hearts a poor break from the worry.

                Overall I really liked this book.  I loved it really and I am so so ready for book 2 which as I waited a while to read it has a title:  A Torch Against the Night.  So that is where I leave you today, I have to finish getting ready and head out for my drive.  Please share in the comments below what you thought about An Ember in the Ashes I'd love to discuss it with you.  Also my friend and fellow blogger Bogdana reviewed the book as well at Bogdana The Booknerd and our full thoughts can be found in our discussion thread for our read along group on goodreads (you can find it on the side bar) it was our first read.  It was rather fun and I hope you will join us in future weeks.

                Until next time…

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