**WARNING: Minor Spoilers**
Title: An Ember in the Ashes
Author: Sabaa Thair
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin)
“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.”
So I will admit, I didn’t think I was going to like this. I had heard from that it wasn’t that good, and when I looked at the sample pages, I will admit I was not excited to see alternating points of view (POV).
But HOT DAMN!
I started reading this on a cold weekend when I was in the mood to just sit in bed, under heating blankets, and read. And I DEVOURED it. I could not stop! I legit texted my mom that I wasn’t going to the gym, she was like “the book will still be there if I went to the gym”, and I was like “nope, too good to stop.”
I love the complexity of both Laia and Elias. Laia is a character I can relate to you from the first page. She is not Katniss or Hermonine. She shows a healthy dose of fear when trained killers come for her family. But then she spends the rest of the novel trying to atone for her cowardice (or as I see it, as reasonably healthy dose of self-preservation).
Elias is awesome! One of my favorite childhood books is Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith. Elias reminds me of one of the characters in that series (I am not telling which one just so you can go and read the books and then guess who he reminds me of).
I could go on and on about this book. But seriously, this was a book I didn’t think I would love and then it was so beautiful, I couldn’t NOT love it.
Would I have tried to acquire? YES, I would have tried my hardest.