Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Review An Ember in The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

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 Review & Thoughts:
Genre(s): Young Adult, Teen, Fantasy

"All the beauty of the stars means nothing when life here on earth is so ugly." - Laia

This was one of my anticipated reads for 2015, the build up was well rewarded! This is going to be an amazing series I can't wait to follow obsess over!

Laia brother is arrested after her grandparents are murdered right in front of her by the ruthless silver mask guards. Now on the run from the mask, Laia seeks the help of the resistance underground. They must help her...after all her parents were their past leaders before they were betrayed and murdered. Sent as a servant spy under the Commandment, Laia must return information in trade for her brother's planning escape. Not everything is as it seems and there might be a snake closer than she expects.
All Elias wants is to be of being a mask, free from his mother, grandfather...away from it all. He plans to run away after graduating from Blackcliff but plans are put on hold. Elias is put into trails, where he either fights for his life or death. Going through the obstacles, he does not count on meeting Laia and finding out the plots against him.

Within the first few pages, it had my full attention presenting a new order the Martial Empire that is ran by silver mask, lethal guards. There's many secrets, betrayals, and new information evolving throughout the book. Mixed with sinister leaders and vicious new order of power, it had a mixture of dark and disturbing scenarios. The story, setting, world build was refreshing and unique in the young adult genre. I have over 30 spots highlighted in the book I wanted to add to my review - don't want to overload and selected a few of my favorites!

Laia is one of those characters either you love or hate her. The beginning of the book I was the latter... she was annoying, naive, and weak. Fear not, she changes through out the story to a strong female lead who goes through more than can be imagined. Becoming the servant to the sadistic leader of Blackcliff Military Academy - she endures brutality, pain, and deceit.

"Other wounds have replaced them. Three lashes on my legs for a dust stain on my skirt. Four lashes on my wrists for not finishing her mending. A black eye from a Skull in a foul mood." 
- Laia

Elias had his own story to tell. He was as much of it, even at times more than Laia. Helena was a great addition to the plot and spinning the story around. She's the only other female mask - other than the Commandment.

"You an ember in the ashes Elias Venturius. You will spark and burn, ravage and destroy. You cannot change it. You cannot stop it." 

The story was not focus on the romance but more in building the character's of Elias and Laia. Their connection sparks throughout the book. It's over 400 pages but it breezed on by, the action and anticipation kept it moving. Highly Recommending this book for a summer (anytime) read!
Cliffhanger warning!!

Mini Excerpt
""You think I want to feel this way about you? I hate it, Elias. Watching you flirt with Illustrian girls and sleep with Scholar slaves and find the good in everyone-everyone- but me." A sob escapes her- the only time I've ever heard her cry. She chokes it back. "Loving you is the worst thing that has ever happened to me-worse than the Commnadant's whippings, worse than the Trails. It's torture Elias." She digs a shaking hand into her hair. "You don't know what it's like. You have no idea what I've given up for you, the deal I made-" "What do you mean?" I say. "What deal? With who? For What?" She doesn't answer. She's walking-running-away from me."

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