An Ember in the Ashes – Book Review

Name : An Ember in the Ashes

Writer: Sabaa Tahir

Page: 443

I read it: On My Ipad

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. (From Goodreads Description) 

ember in the ashes

What really worked for me:

  • It is a page turner. It is indeed a page turner. I finished this almost 450 pages book in 2 days that also mid week, taking time out from my almost 10 hours work schedule.
  • It is a big deal to stand out in the dime a dozen dystopian jungle.
  • One of the lead character (Elias) is so real, with emotions, with the wrong choices he makes.
  • One of the “supporting” character Helena must be one of the beast female YA characters in ages. I loved her as much as I love Katniss.
  • The main villain (she) is totally awesome.

What Did Not Work

  • The second lead character Laia is so irritating, I had a mad urge to just skip the chapters from her point of view.
  • She reminds me of the god-awful girl from twilight, self pity and the ability to mess everything up are her biggest forte.
  • The casual mention of rape in every two pages is unacceptable. I understand it is a brutal world but with the utter nonchalance the writer mentions rape and disfiguration is pretty disturbing.
  • She mentioned that the plight of Kashmiri people(the majority) motivated her. Big fail. She will unintentionally remind everyone on the plight of displaced “Kashmiri Pundits” ( pundit literally means scholar ). I stay in the country and I know the politics. It is nothing you should write a YA book about.
  • The ending is so abrupt it seems like she decided to make it a series when she was writing the last chapter.
  • The romance angle was not needed at all.

My rating : 3/5 (Mostly because of the negative characters and the pace)


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