Wednesday, 15 April 2015

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

An Ember in the Ashes
Sabaa Tahir
Razorbill
[April 28, 2015]
ARC via publisher

Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told.

LAIA is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire’s greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution.

ELIAS is the academy’s finest soldier — and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias is considering deserting the military, but before he can, he’s ordered to participate in a ruthless contest to choose the next Martial emperor.

When Laia and Elias’s paths cross at the academy, they find that their destinies are more intertwined than either could have imagined and that their choices will change the future of the empire itself.

Man, did this one gut me. A lot of the times, really hyped books end up as a disappointment, because how can they possibly live up to what we want them to be? I read this one pretty damn early, but there was still a lot of hype. And it deserves every ounce of it.

Sabaa Tahir is a hypnotizing writer. She just has this way with words and weaving stories and going in and out of perspectives that drew me in completely and had me turning pages like crazy. It was spell bounding and beautiful and haunting because this is NOT a happy book. Which I think was part of the magic - Sabaa doesn't pull any punches. She's willing to go to George R.R. Martin levels of playing with your feels. 

I loved the characters. Laia and Elias had this really intense life style in an incredibly dangerous environment and you could feel it, but these characters managed remarkably well. They were easy to sympathize with and like and care for, despite everything else going on.

I also loved how unapologetically dark AN EMBER IN THE ASHES is. This isn't a light, fluffy, happy read. It's dark and it only gets darker and God the sequel will destroy me. Sometimes books try to pull back and give you lightness in the dark, but there wasn't much of that here. It was true to itself.

I don't really have a lot to say about this one. I just know it blew my mind and I'm keeping the ARC and getting a finished copy because it really was that special. I loved this book with all my heart even as it wrecked me. It's not a book for everyone and some of you may need to be cautious going in, but if you can read it, you absolutely should. The hype is legit.

--Julie

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