An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

“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.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here, back with another review! This one took my a while to finish, and was probably a book better to be read almost all at once, but I still really liked it!

“I don’t need to believe in the supernatural, not when there’s worse that roams the night.”

Stars (Out of 10): 9/10

Overall Thoughts: This book lived up to the hype! I really enjoyed it, and while it’s not my favorite book or series (right now) by any means, I’m really really excited to see where it goes in the next book!

The Good: I really liked the plot, and how every chapter had something interesting happen! In addition, I loved the world building as well, and am super curious as to how that will later develop!

The Bad: While I liked the characters, I had trouble getting “attached” to them to be honest. I enjoyed the plot and the twists and everything, but I wasn’t fully “rooting” for the characters in these moments. Of course I wanted them to succeed, but I didn’t necessarily feel that attached to them either.


The Characters: As I said above, I had a hard time getting attached to the characters. I liked them though, and hopefully book 2 will be better in this aspect! I think it might’ve been not really knowing how I wished it would end, or a couple I wished to see become real. But I did really like seeing Laia get stronger, and more confident in herself, and I hope that trend continues in book 2!

The Plot: I really loved this part of the book. I especially liked the fact that the resistance was not necessarily filled with the good people, that yes, wanted to free their people from tyranny, but did not help every person they could in the mean time, and rather used them to further the cause when possible.

The World Building: I thought the world building in this book was really good, and loved learning about the Martials and Scholars (hopefully more in book 2), especially how weirdly the Martials chose their emperor! The world was so different, but then still had some similarities to other books I’ve read that I was able to picture the society in my mind better. I also loved the maps!

The Favorite Character: I don’t really have one at this moment!

Buy it, Borrow it, or Bin it: Buy it


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