Review: “An Ember in the Ashes” by Sabaa Tahir

GUYS. Why did I wait so long to read this book? I should really stop doing that. This was one of those hyped books that I kept seeing. I bought it a few months ago but I never read. SHAME. ON. ME.


Because this book is fan-freakin’-tastic. I loved it. Every single page. I couldn’t get enough. Look, I’m an old lady when it comes to sleeping but THIS BOOK KEPT ME UP. I had to tear my eyes away from the page to sleep. But now I’m almost glad I waited a bit because A Torch Against the Night comes out next week! I can’t wait!

an ember in the ashes

Title: An Ember in the Ashes
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Publisher: Razorbill
Release date: April 28, 2015
Length: 446 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Young adult, fantasy, romance
Synopsis: (from Goodreads) “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.”


Me, every time Elias and Laia are together (especially after that one Trial):

omg gif2

What a fantastic debut for Tahir. Forbidden romance is my favorite type of trope in literature, and this has it written all over it. I was dying almost all the time.

There’s nothing I hate about this book. Nothing. The characters are fantastic, reaching both ends of the spectrum.

You have fierce, strong Laia, who lives with her older brother, Darin, and grandparents until the Martials barge into their home, taking Darin and leaving her grandparents for dead. Laia manages to escape and find a group known as the Resistance, rebels who want to break the Empire’s oppression over the Scholars. They place her into a seemingly impossible position: spy at the Empire’s greatest military academy. I admire her strong will even after everything that’s happened to her and all that she knows, her one goal is to get her brother out of prison and she’ll go through this crappy situation just to find out some information.

“You are an ember in the ashes, Elias Venturius. You spark and burn, ravage and destroy. You cannot change it. You cannot stop it.” 

Then you have Elias. Sweet, soft-hearted Elias. Serious book boyfriend here. He’s the school’s best soldier but his deepest desire to escape Blackcliff and be free. Little does he know he’s about to embark on a set of trails that will make him question, even more, the Empire in which he lives.


AND I AM DEAD. For all eternity.

emotion gif

I know Tahir announced books 3 & 4 a few days ago, but if this doesn’t end well, I will not be happy. I’d like to think Elias will eventually be Emperor, free the Scholars, marry Laia and then live HAPPILY EVER AFTER. But…I’m probably being very unrealistic.

Anyways, then you have the Commandant. Good God, what happened to her to make her hate basically everything? Her past is so interesting. I wouldn’t necessarily consider her a villain but she’s sadistic for sure.

I don’t really mind the Augurs as well. I wasn’t sure about them at first but it’s obvious they have some knowledge no one else knows about, and they’re using it for…good? For better? But not before some bad stuff goes down.

I like Helene, too. She has a complicated relationship with Elias. There’s not an obvious love triangle going on, and that’s fine with me. I know that’s an overused trope, especially in YA literature. (We can’t help it, okay?) I LOVED what we discovered about her and I’m incredibly intrigued to see how the rest of it will play out.

I am even more excited because Sabaa announced her book tour for A Torch Against the Night and she’s coming to my state! My city! When I found out, I shrieked at my husband and he just looked at me weird. Regardless, me:


God, why is September so close yet so far?

4 thoughts on “Review: “An Ember in the Ashes” by Sabaa Tahir

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s