Laia and her family live under the rule of the Martial Empire. Her people live in poverty, often sold into slavery to the Martials. They don’t fight back. They’ve seen what happens when you do.
Elias is one of the best students at the greatest military academy in the Empire. He is bound to his duty and the law of the Martials, but all he wants is to be free from it.
When Laia’s brother is arrested, she makes a trade. She will spy for the rebels who want to take down the Empire, if they help her brother escape. Her mission brings her to the military academy.
This novel, Tahir’s debut, is one of the best novels I’ve read in the last few years. The world that she has built is so vivid that it draws you in and you feel as if you are there. The characters are complex. The heroes are flawed. The villains have a sense of humanity, though for some you have to squint to see it. The story moves at a pace that never leaves you waiting. It truly has everything I look for in a great book.
What I didn’t realize at the time I started reading is that this is not a stand-alone novel. There is a sequel due next April. I will most definitely be reading that one.
The book is marketed as Young Adult, and I would suggest that it be for 16 years and older. There are some adult themes, talk of rape and brutal violence, and some mild language.
But I can’t express just how much this novel pulled me in and made me apart of its world. Whenever I put the book down (a hard task, but necessary when you need sleep) it always took time for my mind to leave the story behind.
That’s the mark of a great novel.
1) Overall Plot = 5
2) Characters = 5
3) Flow/Pace of the story = 5
4) Is the story easy to follow? = 5
5) Overall Enjoyability = 5
Average of score 5 out of 5
3 thoughts on “An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir”
This novel was so tense and engaging I could hardly believe it was a debut! Fantastic review, glad to find another who loved the book 🙂