Book Review | An Ember In The Ashes
An Ember In The Ashes Series | Book 1 | By Sabah Tahir
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ 10/10
It has been a long time since I read a brand new series and was so blown away. Novels usually start well and try hard to catch your attention but they fail in one or the other aspect.
Here are a few technical points before I get into the story.
The over all structure has been fantastic of this novel. I can’t say this often, because a lot of writers fail at writing the perfect balance between the Character building and introducing us to the story in a good pace. But this novel has done it all perfectly. The World Building, even if we did not hear about a vast of it, was perfect. I could imagine every scene of the whole book when reading, a lot of detail has been put into writing this novel and it is very easy to see after only a few chapters.
The writing style is my cup a tea. It is smart, well phrased, scenes were not thrown for convinience. This is the type of a writer who has a perfect idea of what the novel will look like from start till finish and how the story will end before it is even properly put down on paper. Ms Tahir has done an outstanding job with the writing style. I loved it so much I got the next book right away! This will be a series I will be hooked to like Throne of Glass 😉
The characters were introduced and described in a great pace. Nothing was rushed. The perfect amounts were given away, we got to get to know these characters in a natural pace and learned things along with these heroes. My favourite chemistry was one between Helena and Elias, even though she is not my favourite person, I love how their 10+ year relationship has been revealed. It was so easy to see their friendship and the connection they had. Also for a change I liked how the girl Lia (who is a co main character with Elias) did not feel like a hero. Just a girl who was doing whatever she could to survive and save the ones she loves. She did not have a “save the world” persona, which was refreshing.
So over all the writing of the whole book was incredible. This book is worth a read just to admire the style.
No Spoilers here
Now about the story, it was structured so well. I got hooked after a few chapters ( although it took me a while to read as I have been busy). I got to reading the rest of this book in the lost peaceful place in Donegal in Ireland which defiantly put me in the mood for binge reading the ending.
This book was refreshing with Lias and Eliase’s point of view of their lives and how they see the cruel world they live in. Reading about Elias it is hard not to have a little-tincy crush on him. Especially since he is an interesting person. Lia however was also very captivating. With her selfish reasons for actions she took ( not selfish in a bad way) the acts to care about herself and her family not an over all worldly cause, was refreshing.
The story is enjoyable because you know it’s going to take some time to get into the deep of it. However the slow page is not boring because of the details we are given and the characters. There also seem to be a lot of Psychological issues in the Commander, she is a very complex person. And as cruel and evil she may seem, I enjoyed finding out more about her and I can’t wait to see her reasons for her actions.
Over all the story was amazing. I love the whole idea of Elias and Lia fighting their own battles in a cruel world. But of course the romance between the two and their connection is very interesting.
I would highly recommend this book, especially if you are looking for a more In depth read instead of lazy writing. I absolutely loved this story and can’t wait for the next book.
Spoilers past here!
I really enjoyed Lia’s side of the story. She is a fragile girl, someone who feels like she always needs someone to look after her, so when her world is turned upside down because her brother has been doing ‘illegal‘ activities, she is hopeless and can only think of how to come out of this alive. When she sees a Mask ( a ruthless killer for the Empire) kill her Grandparents and takes her brother, she runs even though she hates herself for it. Hopeless she runs towards the Resistance who she thinks her brother has been aiding. She asks for their help, in returns they place her as a house slave to the most ruthless woman on earth, the Commander of the academy who trains Masks. She hurts and taunts her slaves, and as cruel as she was I fund her character interesting. Due to a twist of fate Lia meets Elias, who finds her intriguing, they meet on more than one occasion especially since Elias’s mother is the Commander. Lia tries to push past her fears and attempts to spy on the Commander, she does her chores even if she is punished and hurt badly, all to save her brother. She considers herself a coward but the fact that she is allowing the Commander to do all these brutal things to her so she can help the Resistance who can then free her brother. That is what pulled me in, Lia was not a wonna be hero, she was a victim of war and trying to survive as a slave.
While reading I honestly could not wait for Elias’s chapters, simply because I needed to know what he would do. Elias was mean to leave the academy, sneak away and live a life far away where he would not have to kill for the Empire. He hated being a Mask and he was at constant war with himself about what is the right thing to do. He did not desert, because he was announced as a candidate to be the new Emperor, there were 4 of them and each would go through trials to prove being the most capable for the job.
The whole story surprised me, I tried to predict what would happen. That Lia would get the information needed and give it to the Resistance. That she would manage to free her brother and get away safe, or at least try. It did not happen, instead we saw a lot of betrayal, that the Resistance is not as good as everyone seems to think and that the Commander is dabbling in the most forbidden acts of unnatural power. What broke my heart was the Cook, who we find out, worked for the Resistance and they left here at the Commanders mercy for years to work and be miserable. The cause that Lia was trying to use to get her brother help, was more deceiving than she ever thought. While she got a little close to Elias and felt a connection, they got tangled up together when Elias had to kill Lia to prove his worth and loyalty to the Empire. When he refused he was sentenced to death for failing the trials.
One thing about the story that really drew me in was the fact that Lia and Elias did not have a sudden bond for reach other and only had eyes for one another. They each had other love interests, which you don’t see in books often. Elias’s relationship with Helena was amazing, their friendship one of a kind and when we find out she has been in love with him for a while not it is so interesting to see what Elias will do. He is conflicted, knowing going further can jeopardise their friendship and destroy that bond they had. He has to admit to himself he does not love her in that way, and Helena is hurt by that. But she is always loyal to her friend even though she knew she shouldn’t.
The ending I did not expect, although I predicted some aspects. I did not think Lia would save Elias simply because of how scared she usually seemed. But she took the stand against the Commander, against the Empire and helped him because he was the one man who could help her.
I loved the over all story and if I analysed the whole book I would be sitting at 10,000 words which no one wants to read! So here is a basic sum up. I will read this whole series, I already know. It is a book like no other and I can not wait to get at the second one.
If it has been sitting on your bookshelves and you have maybe thought about reading it, please do. It is worth the read and the story will drag you into this world and keep you until your satisfied with the finished novel!