For years Laia has lived in fear. Fear of the Empire, fear of the Martials, fear of truly living at all. Born as a Scholar, she’s never had much of a choice.
For Elias it’s the opposite. He has seen too much on his path to becoming a Mask, one of the Empire’s elite soldiers. With the Masks’ help the Empire has conquered a continent and enslaved thousands, all in the name of power.
When Laia’s brother is taken she must force herself to help the Resistance, the only people who have a chance of saving him. She must spy on the Commandant, ruthless overseer of Blackcliff Academy. Blackcliff is the training ground for Masks and the very place that Elias is planning to escape. If he succeeds, he will be named deserter. If found, the punishment will be death.
But once Laia and Elias meet, they will find that their destinies are intertwined and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.
In the ashes of a broken world one person can make a difference. One voice in the dark can be heard. The price of freedom is always high and this time that price might demand everything, even life itself.
Title: An Ember in the Ashes
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Pub Date: 4th June 2015
Let me set the scene; imagine yourself at work – its lunchtime. You’ve grabbed a sandwich and picked up an incredible YA you’re reading. You should really be working through lunch but the prose is building to a climax and you need to know what happens next. You turn the pages, falling into the world of The Empire and boom – something heart-stopping happens. You squeal in a mix of horror, fear and terror. You look up to take a breath and realise that everyone is staring at you.
Yes folks. This is what happened to me whilst reading An Ember in the Ashes, it happened so often during that lunchtime that I had to describe the entire plot line to my colleagues. I also took an extra ten minutes to read what happened next – there was simply no way I would wait till the end of the day.
As fast-paced as The Hunger Games, this brilliant debut will get your heart-pounding. Laia’s and Elias’s alternating narratives are addictive and I ended up having to read ‘just two more chapters’ rather than the normal one.
As for the story itself, there’s not much to complain about. I loved that Laia wasn’t your typical badass heroine, but a more-realistic, scared girl doing her best to save her brother. I hated the Commandment with every bone in my body. I had a huge girl-crush on Helene and fell a little in love with Elias.
An Ember in the Ashes ticks all the boxes for an amazing read – it’s fast-paced, action-packed, dark yet hopeful, has just enough magic to delight and a love interest that will drive you crazy.
My only negative to this book is that the sequel doesn’t come out until next year. What will I do till then. Tahir, you better get writing soon – I need to know what happens NOW!