An Ember in the Ashes 📕Review

An Ember in Ashes

Author: Sabaa Tahir
Series: An Ember in the Ashes
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Razorbill
Published: April 28, 2015

Don’t be fooled by the Young Adult genre thingy that this book fits into… this world is absolutely brutal. Slavery, torture, rape, and barbaric executions are the norm in the heartless Martial Empire. And the author doesn’t shy away from the details, let me tell you.

The book starts off with sad murders and the story’s main shero, Laia, a member of the oppressed Scholar people, setting off on an undercover mission as a slave. Unfortunately for her, the mission requires her to be the property of the indescribably cruel Bitch of Blackcliff Academy (the Martial Empire’s military training centre for a elite group known as Masks). Let’s just say the Bitch of Blackcliff is so twisted, her last slave committed suicide.

Laia starts off the mission as an awkward mess who will almost certainly fail and die, but really grows into a stronger person as the story progresses. Anyone who can survive all the pain deserves a freaking medal. Also in attendance at Blackcliff is Elias, a Mask-in-training who isn’t nearly as hardhearted as his classmates. The author flips back and forth between Elias and Laia’s first person perspectives which I thought was very well done. I won’t ruin anything, but there are neat twists and the story ends with a cool boom.

What I didn’t like, at all, was the forced romance-y parts that I didn’t care about in the least (there are TWO freaking love triangles for crying out loud). I doubt the characters’ burning love for each other is all that important when they’re going through this hell, no? It just didn’t seem “real” to me. Elias and Laia seem designed for each other, with their respective runner up people just being there to advance the romance subplot I didn’t care about. Meh! That’s where the YA label comes from, I guess.

Overall, this was a great read in a nice writing style. The chilling cruelness of this world shook me quite a bit. The romance parts were completely unnecessary in my mind. But I have a very low tolerance for romance in any form of media. If I don’t feel the emotional connection between the characters, I’m gonna hate it. My guess is that most people will enjoy the love triangles and all that, so power to them!

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stack o’ Books Emojis – 📚📚📚📚⚉

Check it out on Goodreads if you’re interested in learning more.

Thanks for reading!

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"Lightning" Ellen

My name is Ellen, and I've been babbling on the interwebz about video games for over 15 years. Video games themselves have been a large part of my life since 5-year-old me first encountered a SNES in a children's hospital. Fun times... Video game escapism is still the #1 coping mechanism for adult me these days.

11 thoughts on “An Ember in the Ashes 📕Review”

  1. Romance seems to be one of those things that is often attempted, yet only occasionally truly done well. That’s probably why in a lot of cases, it isn’t the main draw. It can be great when written well, but otherwise, it can be distracting (lest we forget Star Wars Episode II).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think they actually force YA writers to throw in romance-y parts to boost sales and it’s annoying as hell. While I like Laia and Elias, I hated the whole triangle thing, but they do that for “teh dramaz!!” ugh. I’ll admit I’m a sucker for a good paranormal romance, writing and reading, but it should be organic and not just seem tacked on because it’s expected for the genre.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I generally try to stay away from YA for this reason. Teh dramaz is so annoying to me, haha. I’m okay with some romances. They key is that the seem real and that I can feel the connection between the characters.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If I ever read any non-triangle YA I’ll let you know! I…don’t think I’ve ever written a love triangle because I usually tailor my characters to mesh with each other, and it would honestly be too difficult to do a triangle without making it OBVIOUS whom the point of it should end up with. I could be evil and have them wind up with the “wrong” person, but I’d much rather write about burning rapists alive :p

        Liked by 1 person

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