An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Laia is a young woman who was unfortunately born into a caste without rights. Anyone among the ruling class can do anything to her and her people without repercussions. She lives in the shadow of this fear and one day her nightmares become real. The Martial Empire comes to her home, slaughters her grandparents, and arrests her brother for treason. She manages to escape, but vows to rescue her brother regardless of the cost. Laia agrees to spy for the Resistance and in exchange they will free her brother. Her target is the Commandant, the master of a brutal military school named Blackcliff.
Elias is a young man living a life he never wanted. He's about to graduate from Blackliff and then he plans to escape forever. If he's caught he'll be brutally murdered.
An Ember In The Ashes was a good novel. I immediately found myself caring deeply for what was happening to Laia and Elias, two unfortunate souls living out their place in life. I also felt strongly for Helene and Izzi two young women who were forced to go through hardships with the point of view characters.
Sabaa Tahir really captured brutality in the Commandant, the trials, and life in general. I often felt sick because of the circumstances the characters faced and what they had to endure.
While I thought the novel was good there were a couple of parts I disliked. I really didn't like when Laia and Elias were together. They had an unbelievable connection through most of their encounters. The two of them together felt like forced instant connection which is particularly insane since Laia hated Masks and Martials in general. Elias risking as much as he did for her also didn't make any sense to me.
The other part I disliked was the ending. It felt like someone peed in my soup. It felt like I was a kid again, someone let go of my balloon full of helium, and I was forced to watch it float away. The book had so much buildup and intrigue, but it felt like it ran out of ideas at the end. There were major points that weren't touched on enough. Instead of leaving me intrigued or curious, they left me feeling annoyed.
In the end An Ember in the Ashes was a solid novel that unfortunately left me disappointed at the end.
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