There are two kinds of guilt…The kind that’s a burden and the kind that gives you purpose. Let your guilt be your fuel. Let it remind you of who you want to be. Draw a line in your mind. Never cross it again. You have a soul. It’s damaged, but it’s there. Don’t let them take it from you, Elias.
Have you ever come across a book that takes you out of a reading slump, or you think would be a good book to take someone out of a reading slump. This would be this gem of a novel here. An Ember in the Ashes wakes you with a jolt and is so enticing that you are unable to put it down. This book is going to be huge, and I’m happy I ended my 2015 year with this fantastic read!
The story is told in two perspectives. The first is from a girl named Laia born of the Scholars who are ruled over by the Martial Empire. The Scholars are deemed as illiterate, poor, and often times are enslaved by the Martials. However is there is a rising undercurrent of Scholars called the Resistance-a rebel group fighting against the Empire’s brutality of the Scholar population. When Laia’s home is raided by the Masks (masked soldiers) and her brother Darin is arrested for suspected conspiracy against the Empire, Laia seeks out help of the Resistance to free her brother. Her request comes with a price and bargain. She must be a slave and spy for the Resistance, and enter Blackcliff Military Academy and be a slave for the Commandant-the merciless and tyrannical leader of the army. Pools of blood spill underneath her rule.
The second perspective is told from the Commandant’s son, Elias. Blackcliff’s top soldier who is a Mask in training. However Elias hates everything about Blackcliff, the Martials, the Empire, and his mother. He struggles with the pledge he made for his country and his desire to be free of the heavy shackles the Empire holds on him. When faced with the choice to escape or fight, to live or to die, Elias must not only decide for himself but for the people surrounding him as well.
Everything about this book is just fantastic. It’s evil, fast paced, romantic, and the character development is on par. Tahir did such a wonderful job with the novel. I loved the dynamics of the characters and the setting. The creation of the world in which Elias and Laia exist is horrific and beautiful at the same time. Sabaa Tahir created a perfect fantasy world. This book is gritty and evil, and takes no prisoners. I really like how the novel was split with two perspectives, each chapter alternating between Elias and Laia. As I mentioned before, the character development is excellent. At first I thought the novel was going to be full of plot with flat characters and a typical love triangle. It is so more than that! A lot is at stake in the novel. Friendship, trust, loyalty, love is all tested and with many unexpected twists. I would definitely recommended this book to anyone who like epic fantasy novels. I have heard that this novel will have a follow up, and I can’t wait!
What are you thoughts on the novel? Happy reading!