An ancient style Romesets the background for Sabaa Tahir’s world, where an austere life and a harsh regime take their tole. The king orders death as retribution for any sign of rebellion.
From the ashes of this civilization a girl, desperate to protect her brother, risks everything. By spying on a military commandant, she hopes to gain the information needed to save his life.
Sabaa Tahir writes An Ember in the Ashes from two protagonist’s point-of-view. Laia lives an impoverished life, while Elias claims the position as the leading student warrior.
Through Elias’s intellect and ability, he rises through theranks of his school, consequently becoming a threat to Laia and the rebells. Although Elias shines as a leader and becomes the apparent ruler for the next dynasty, he doubts his desire to serve the brutal regime.
Romance plays a secondary role to the plot, but romantic tensions entangle Laia and Elias. As with many romances, when they become reluctant alleys, they can’t deny their attraction.
Sabaa Tahir engaged me from the start
Tahir clearly lays out the dynamics of her plot and characters early. In the first scenes we meet Laia’s family including worries, worships and warts. The empire enforces its rules harshly, intimidating its citizens with their all-mighty military. They quickly retaliate in response to the actions of Laia’s brother, which puts Laia between them. Laia’s struggles demand our empathy, and the focus of family creates a tension we all relate to.
This story of friendship has it all including: loyalty, wickedness, romance, jealousy, revenge, betrayal, fear, family, cruelty and hope. Enjoy the ride.An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1) by Sabaa Tahir
Published by Razorbill on February 9th 2016
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
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.
From the Hardcover edition.