Summary: “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.” (Summary found on Goodreads).
I read this book at the beginning of January and I loved it. I was expecting to, and needless to say, it met my expectations. I was swept into the world, the plot, and the character’s lives. Sabaa Tahir had me hooked from the very first page and I so desperately want to read A Torch Against the Night now. Oh my gosh, An Ember in the Ashes was amazing.
First, you have a wonderful set of characters. I loved Laia and Elias both so much, though I’m not sure how I feel about Heline. Part of me likes her, but another part finds some of her opinions (especially those toward slaves) off-putting and narrow-minded. Not to mention, despite popular opinion, I don’t really see Laia and Elias together…I ship them with others…which brings me to my main complaint–there’s a love triangle. I honestly do not understand why authors insist upon including love triangles. I cannot get one guy to like me, let alone two. How do these girls do it? It just seems so unrealistic and it’s annoying how the main character will spend the next 7,000 years flitting between the two. MAKE UP YOUR MIND, GIRL.
Anyway, off of that rant…my only other slight complaint was that I foresaw some of the plot twists. Was I really supposed to be that surprised at that one “huge” thing towards the end, because I was not. I saw it a mile away. I mean, maybe we were supposed to? Though, I still loved loved loved this book and the majority of it kept me thinking non-stop.
I highly recommend you pick this book up. You’ve got an amazing cast of characters (also, somehow I haven’t expressed my GIGANTIC love for Keenan?), a fantastic and unique plot, and a world completely different from the usual fantasy/dystopian. Though, one question…what genre is this? Goodreads seems to be confused with the categorizing of it. It seems like fantasy, but at the same time has dystopian aspects…so…I dunno, man.
BUT ANYWAY, go pick this book up!