Belinda’s Book Nook Book Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir


Title: An Ember in the Ashes
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Copyright: April 28, 2015
Genre:  fantasy, fiction
Format: book  Pages: 464

I remember last year when the hype from this book was so over the top. It had a big display at our local Barnes and Noble and some sort of survey thing going on and I kind of got turned off. So although I was curious, I didn’t buy into they hype.  Since then, I have heard only great things about this book and recently it was selected as a book club read. So I started looking for it on Overdrive because forking over $19 wasn’t in my plans.

Much to my surprise, while on a girl’s weekend a few weeks ago, I stopped into a used bookstore and scored a hardcover, new copy of the book for a dollar!! Yes, the book goddess was blessing me for sure. I couldn’t believe it.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

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.

My Thoughts:

Wow. I loved it. I was drawn in from the start. Which has been hard lately so it was a pleasant surprise. Let me start by saying I love ancient feeling movies set in exotic places where the cast have elaborate costumes with Roman Legions like the movie Rome or fantasy films like Thor.  So this book was filled with rich detailed settings that captured my attention to the vary last page. I could see this book easily turned into a film and one of my bookclub friends told me the rights have already been bought so it won’t be long.

I think this debut author did a fantastic job of character development. I liked how strong Laia, the main character was throughout the story.  Of course there was a love triangle but it didn’t overpower the story with sappiness. It was woven in nicely.  I think I’m definitely a team Elias.

I am really happy that I didn’t read this book when it was first released in April of 2015 because I would have a long wait for book #2 (A Torch Against the Night) which is slated to be released in August of 2016 so I don’t have too long to wait.

I enjoyed this book so much I even recommended it to Leao to read after I finished it. Highly recommend it but must warn you there is some violence in the book. You can get it from Amazon in paperback now for less than $7!

I gave this book 5 butterflies!

Happy reading!




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