Review – An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

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July 10, 2015 by ceresbooksworld

M-An Ember in the Ashes




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.



In this world there is an emperor, a blood shrike (his second in command), The Martials are the army and they are stronger than other people. Scholars are the erudite but now they are mostly slave and in danger. And there is the Augur, they see everything and control who will be the next emperor or empress, they will organize a trial between four Martial who were trained to be mask and the winner will be the next emperor.

Laia is a young Scholars girl who lost her parents; she lives with her grandparents and her brother. One night her grandparents are murdered and her brother kidnapped by The Martial. Laia runs for her life and she goes straight to the resistance. They promise to rescue her brother if she spies for them inside the Martial School. Her life will change, at first she was afraid and she’s a coward, but she finally found the courage to fight for her brother and some others people. I liked seeing Laia evolving and finding the courage to fight. It is not a strong heroine at the beginning of the book and during the story she tries to redeem itself.

Elias is a Martial, his mother is the Commandant and doesn’t like him. He doesn’t like what he does, he has a big heart and don’t want to kill Scholars or anybody else. I liked him a lot, he has responsibilities but don’t want them, he will fight against the rules and try to save Laia.

Keenan is a young resistant, he will be the only man Laia will report. I liked him too, since the beginning of the book I knew what he thought.

Helene is Elias’s best friend; she is under the orders of the empire and respects it. She does not contradict the orders and respects the rules of the empire. She will fight against Elias because of her jealousy. I don’t like her, she won’t hesitate to kill slave and I don’t like that.

This story is really amazing, certain passages of the book are rather hard and poignant but I like very much the way of thinking of the characters and their reactions. It’s a book full of actions, courage, resistance and friendship.

The writing style is very good and the characters are well described and they seem so humans and real. It’s not a world where I’m dreaming to live but it’s an original world, with Ifrit, Ghuls and Jinn. I love this book and the cover is so gorgeous. There will be a book two and that’s really good news.




About the author



Sabaa Tahir grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s 18-room motel. There, she spent her time devouring fantasy  novels, raiding her brother’s comic book stash and playing guitar badly. She began writing An Ember in the Ashes while working  nights as a newspaper editor. She likes thunderous indie rock, garish socks and all things nerd. Sabaa currently lives in the San  Francisco Bay Area with her family.

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