Hello! So on this post, after a long while of disappearance on wordpress, I am back to talk about An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. This book has been published for a while now, but I just finished it yesterday so the feels are fresh and now I feel I’m on board this Ember train. And I’m ready to discuss it.
To be honest, I haven’t enjoyed this book as much as others have. And I think that’s because it’s my rebound book for Throne of Glass Series. And I feel like it would’ve worked between us if my friends were not constantly chatting me up about Queen of Shadows. So I’ll probably reread it someday, when I’m over the hype of QoS. Maybe…
An Ember in the Ashes is about a girl named Laia who loses her brother in the hands of the Empire and about a boy named Elias that is about to graduate from like a military school, only much worse. The point of views switch from Laia to Elias AAAAANNND. That’s it. You don’t want to know anymore. Trust me.
In the end, I give this book a solid 90%. Not a very hyped reaction from me but still a high rating. I would recommend this book to someone who doesn’t have a rebound issue and wants some serious adventure set in Rome slash Middle East. But… I still enjoyed this book. especially the latter half of it. My hand was just swiping page after page after page.
I wasn’t super hyped by this book because of the beginning, I think. They were just so much violence going on. It started on an escape scene. And escape scenes are always bloody. That moment when Nan and Pop made them escape, that’s when I knew that le grandparents would die immediately. I just don’t like it when old people die when they seem sweet. I wasn’t so attached to the characters yet that I didn’t find these deaths emotional rather, I found it just annoying. I mean, it’s freaking Chapter 1!
I liked that the government system was kind of Roman to some extent. The way that there were Scholars and Martials. But I got confused on the rankings and classification of people. Marinners and Tribesmen I know, but what is the difference between a Martial and an Empire? It was like the author was assuming that we know. Or maybe everyone really knows, i just overlooked the explanation. It was more on telling the ‘now’ story than the history of all these. Well, yeah sure there’s a few back stories here and there but I’d like to know more.
Well, except for those, I really did love other aspects of the story. I mean, the female kickassery in this book!!! WHOAH! HELENE, YOU GO GIRL! I love Helene! In my mind, she was Alexandra Daddario who is of course, Annabeth and this was set in a roman military setting so… it’s awesome! I don’t like Helene every time but she has her moments. And all those moments are so awesome. And I also can understand where she’s coming from on the Elias situation. I think the attraction thing was bound to happen.
And Laia, I feel like her character is very realistic because she’s scared and insecure through out the book. Her development is just so gradual, always so subtle that you don’t think she’s really changing but by the end of the book, you’ll realize how much this heroin has grown.
The resistance? It kind of reminds me of The Host resistance. Where they don’t really do much welcoming and stuff. But this one’s a lot worse. I could feel the wrongness of the whole shebang from the start. Even though Laia’s parents once handled the resistance,I honestly didn’t want to trust anyone in there, even Sana. Especially Mazen and Keenan. There was a traitor in there! And it was not traced! I’m thinking maybe it was Cook because she’s so secretive and stuff but we’ll don’t know. YET.
Let’s talk about the school. Despite of the Roman setting, for me it has a feel of kinda being middle-eastern what with all the scimitar and dessert stuff. To me it was kind of similar to the Red Dessert in Assassin’s blade. ONLY… It’s not. It’s a hell of a camp. It’s like school is merged to a Hunger Games arena. It was so violent. AND WHAT THE HELL WITH THE MASKS??? I mean, yeah it is a school for Masks but still. IT FREAKING CLINGS TO YOUR FACE? I remembered when Laia took off Elias’ mask and it was bloody. How can that ever be right? 10 chapters in, I gave up imagining people with masks, it creeps me out!
And of course, through out the course of this book, I was never not terrified of The Commandant. She is ruthless and scary. Just imagine having her as a mother, I would’ve been broken by the age three. And when I grow up, I’m either in a mental institution or a sociopath because the phrase “serious mommy-issue” surely wouldn’t have covered the whole situation. Pretty sure about that. And the kind of mentality these students were taught, it is sickening!!! A TEN YEAR OLD ESCAPED AND THE PUNISHMENT WAS TO KILL HIM, REMIND ME NOT TO ENROLL MY KID THERE. I hate that this school honed Helene’s mind and that her loyalty to the Empire is much more than her loyalty to Elias or to her conscience. Cause I know that she didn’t just heal Laia for Elias, I FEEL LIKE SHE WAS WAKING TO HER SENSES ABOUT THE WRONGNESS OF THIS WHOLE THING.
Back to the commandant, Obviously, she has bigger story to tell than what was let on. I want to know who is Elias’s father. Maybe it was A REALLY REALLY BAD HEARTBREAK, maybe she fell in love with a slave or a scholar plus her daddy issues that really took all of the goodness in her. But I’m not saying I’m going to feel sorry for her 3 seconds after her backstory because SHE IS WAY TOO EVIL. Just look at Izzi and Cook, MY GOD. I cannot imagine how hard it is for Izzi to be living inside the school ever since forever! To have not known life without chains. The hardest part was that she was just used to hurt someone by this beyotch.
I love Izzi. She was a necessity to this whole story of Laia. She’s sweet even though she’s been scarred inside out. And that is what Laia needed for the time that she’s seeing this she-devil because she’s not that strong yet and she really needed friends. And in the end where Laia set Izzi free, I was just happy to make Izzi escape. If even inside Blackcliff she’s sweet, imagine her just blooming outside of it. And I don’t think that’s the last time we see her. She was to meet Keenan, so maybe something might grow in there. I hope.
Another character that I love was Elias’s grandpa. He was so supportive of Elias. I get it, he’s a disciplinarian and hard on Elias a lot of times but he’s not a heartless as****e. On the graduation, he was proud of Elias, he was cheering. On the 1st trial, where Elias and Helene barely finished, he supported him and when Elias told the Augurs about the cheating, he got his grandson’s back. He believes in Elias. When Elias was to be executed and stripped of title, he didn’t disown him, he was looking for a way to free Elias. And also, he’s powerful so we got a good man on our side. Maybe he’s sexist but so long as he’s with Elias and not stupid, I still like gramps.
Well, about time to talk about Le Ship and Romance. I like that the romance was part of this book and not the book it self because in this world we need less romantic drama. And also glad that instalove not an issue. Even with Helene and Elias. We saw how they were together first and how long have they been at each others backs so it was not an issue of instalove.
I really get Helene, you’ve been close to this guy ever since forever, it’s bound to happen, girl. And when you know this guy forever, there is just no stage where you just date and wait to fall in love, you know? You’re friends and BOOM, the feeling is there. And Elias gets the attraction too, he just doesn’t know how deep Helene’s feeling is but he definitely know that they’ve been friendzoning each other. Even though they’re BFF I don’t think this ship would leave the dock very far. They shared a lot of memories together, yes, but… in views in life, they are very different, maybe because of the upbringing. I think Helene could switch sides then, I still think so, but now she’s sworn allegiance to Marcus and it’s going to be tough as hell.
I think, Keenan’s not really into Laia. Well, she’s a doll, but what Keenan needs is a friend to talk to and share this negativity he is carrying around him. It just so happens that Laia could relate to him and he to her but that doesn’t mean its endgame. I really think, Keenan needs a sweet person to take care of and just bring a positive aura in his life. Namely Izzi xD
So… Laia and Elias. I think this is THE SHIP. Obviously, I believe it’s fate. COME ON, THE POV? It’s Laia and Elias and Laia and Elias. REMEMBER SOMETHING? ME TOO. YEAH RIGHT! LEGEND! And we saw how that turned out 😉 . At first, I wasn’t sold on their chemistry. But I think to myself, it has got to happen! I trust the author. And there it was, the Moon Festival and her being the 3rd Trial prize where they kissed but mostly chat about life. And IT WAS SOOOO KILIG. The only thing I can say about this duo, though, is that where we left off, they’re kind of selfish to their own issues. Laia about saving Darin, and Elias about his freedom. As of now, no one wants to fix this f’n world. But that’s alright, it has a second book and the characters have long way to go. I hope we see more bonding and chemistry between Laia and Elias because right now, aside from them always saving each others’ asses and few kilig moments, we have nothing much to hold on to. But I SHIP IT SO HARD. It’s not quite official yet, but second book, please Sabaa, Let’s get this ship sailin’.
Before I talk about my favorite moments, I need to talk about this. The Augurs and the magic. They creep me out. They have like red eyes and like a vampire with Edward Cullen skills but to me, they are silent brothers of this book and Silent Brothers, good or not, are creepy. In the end, I’m convinced that the Augurs are good though. They practically helped every good person in this book. I thought, they had really forsaken Elias but they have their way. And the magic, how does it exactly work? They say they don’t read minds but how do they do it?
Another thing… Helene has powers activated because of said encounter with these magical creatures. So most likely other characters have powers too. Of course our duo surely has powers, Laia can see ghuls, is that her power? ’cause I don’t think that’s much useful. Elias, I don’t have a clue yet but we’ll figure it out. I wonder if the commandant has one too. I hope not.
My Favorite moments, first off, are the trials. I personally hate the actual trial but the accomplishment of it is what I love. It was really close to Tri-wizard tournament in Harry Potter but no way in hell it’s this brutal. I was crying in the 3rd trial, we have no choice but to kill these people or else we die. The pathetic part is, I was crying for the characters I don’t even feel attached to. I just felt the weight Elias and Helene is carrying on that moment. They grew up with these people. They are friends with these people and they’re murdering them. I imagine my friends looking me in the eye and let me put a sword through them. It broke me. Even when Zak died, I cried because the twins may be bad but they’ve always had each other and Zak just wanted it to end so he let his brother and I was just bawling my eyes out!
Enough drama! on the other hand, I enjoyed the Elaia scenes. I loved it when Laia ran ito him when she saw some ghuls. And what I liked the best was the Moon Festival and what came after it. The looks that they were giving each other. IT. IS STICKY. YOU GUYS. STICKY. And right there, I saw the ship sail! When they danced, I’m like “GURL, THIS HAS GOT TO BE THE GUY, WE BOTH KNOW IT!” And they were both laughing and enjoying themselves. UGH. And then when she was the reward for the 3rd trial, and they kissed, she forgot Keenan. But then they talked and talked, got to know each other better, and there it was, our foundation for a steady sail! I honestly need more Elaia moments.
Considering the fact that Elias and Laia escaped together through that tunnel, I think the next book, aside from the other intents, will definitely build the relationship of Laia and Elias as a couple. The journey will be tough for them and since all they had was each other, they will learn to accept each others’ differences and just be a kick ass couple together in rescuing Darin.
Speaking of, I hope we get to rescue Darin in the next book. Because he holds so many answers to our questions and he needs to clear things out to Laia and to us. I know, there is Spiro Teluman but we need Darin to give us specific answers, you feel me? I hope he’s not dead cause Laia just got her courage, his death would crush her!!!
The ending was kind of similar to the ending of Red Queen but less traumatic. I mean both books ended on an escape scene and both didn’t resolve much conflict but I like this one better than Red Queen. So I hope we get to start solvin’ problems in book 2.
It was good that the ending was parallel to the beginning. It started on an escape scene and finished on an escape scene. The difference between the 2 is when we escaped the second time, we got the upper hand and boy it was fantastic! I would definitely be waiting for the second book to come and this time I’ll read it without the rebound feelings.
That’s it for my thoughts on An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir!
Goodbye and share the feels!! 🙂