“You are full of life Laia. Full of life and dark and strength and spirit. You are in our dreams. You will burn for you are an ember in the ashes. That is your destiny”
This month me and the lovely Anna Harte buddy read An Ember in The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. An Ember in The Ashes is an exciting YA fantasy book focusing on the characters of Laia and Elias. The world within this novel is inspired by Ancient Rome And has some Middle Eastern themes I.e. Jinns. The character of Laia has just witnessed the death of her grandparents at the hands of “The Empire” and to make matters worse her brother has been arrested. Thus, we follow her as she attempts to rescue the only family she has left. On the other hand, Elias is young soldier who wants to free himself from a path of tyranny and bloody violence. He is at odds with what is right and his duty as a legionnaire for the army.
One of my favourite things about the book was Elias. Seeing him struggle with his duty and what is right was very interesting and had me intrigued as to what would happen going forward. I also loved his friendship with fellow soldier Helene(my first book crush lol). Whenever both of them were together in the story it made things more exciting. I felt both were each other’s equal and some of the action set pieces they had together were amazing. Laia on the other hand pissed me off so much which disappointed me. She was clumsy and moany and it really annoyed me how she got in between Helene and Elias relationship. This is one thing I hate about “instalove”, like it’s not needed at all. Why couldn’t she just chill and focus on saving her brother!? Had to go and cock block Helene 🤦🏽♂️
Anyway rant over, in terms of world building I loved the combination of Ancient Rome and some Middle Eastern influences. The addition of Jinns, shadow assassins and efrits made some of the action set pieces amazing. The Trails both Helene and Elias had to go through were very intense and exciting. My favourite was most definitely Trial 2 which features some exciting fighting set pieces with Jinns and Efrits. The teamwork between Helene Elias reminded me of mine and Anna’s.
Moreover, in terms of the plot I agree with Anna that at the beginning of the novel starts off at a great pace but slows down towards the end. The author has however left many things open for the next book. For example the author shared the origins of the villain The Nightbringer who reminded me a little bit of Sauron from The Lord of The Rings. So Im looking forward to seeing how the character develops in the next book. Im also excited to learning more about Laia’s parents. Although we do learn they were part of “The Resistance” there’s still a lot that could be explained going forward. Moreover, the Augurs are also interesting characters. I’m hoping that we will get to learn more about them in the next book i.e. how they came to be so powerful.
In addition to this the main villains The Commandant And Marcus were solid villains. I felt Marcus was easy to hate as he was consistent with being a c**t. The Commandant was also pure and full of hate, you could feel the fear she made others feel.
When considering any negatives, one thing I will honestly say I did not like was the introduction of the love triangle towards the end. I think it did the character of Helene dirty by having Laia get in the middle of her and Elias. Like the sexual tension between Helene and Elias was amusing and fun. Why couldn’t the author just stick with it and leave Laia to grow more as a
Overall, it’s a fun and exciting YA book which I’m looking forward to continuing. I have the second book already and will start it as soon as possible. However, I do hope the character of Laia improves in the next book👌🏾