An Ember in Ashes Series Review
Series: An Ember In Ashes
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Publisher: Penguin Random House
If you’ve been following my blog for a while you probably know by now that I tend not to read YA. Most of the time YA is just not gritty enough for me. However, every once in a while I will let myself be convinced by a fellow bookseller (who LOVES YA) to give a YA book a chance. I am happy to admit that I was not disappointed and thoroughly enjoyed these books. They were amazing reads (although I would have enjoyed a little more romance between the characters). I now cannot wait for the 4th book in this series. 2019 cannot come fast enough!!!
The world that Tahir creates is cut throat and raw. Death is an every day occurrence and slavery is a common sight. Tahir said she based her world off of the Roman Empire and I can see the correlation easily. The series has horrific deaths, torture, life and death situations, and the threat of living a life that would be worse than death- you know, all that good stuff. But what really drew me into this series were her characters. As a reader you are able to connect with Laia, Elias, and Helene effortless but for different reasons. All three characters resonate with you in some way or another. You feel the devotion to family and the overwhelming need Laia has to save her brother, you resonate with Elias and his struggle between what he believes is right and what is expected of him, and Helene’s dedication to the only life she has ever known reverberates with you. In every person is a mix of all three of these stunning characters.
Throughout these three books you feel their struggle, feel their pain, and feel their need to overcome their demons. These books are an epic, fast-paced fantasy that will keep you enchanted from start to finish. The emotion is so raw and profound there is no way you will not be able to take your eyes off the pages. It’s marvelous to watch Laia, Elias, and Helene start out their journey ignorant to parts of the real world around them and grow into these unstoppable forces fighting for their loved ones.
I absolutely recommend this series because of how dynamic it is. There are countless layers with an abundance of facets. And the fact that so many of the problems these characters deal with are problems that people face today really helps you become part of the story. Just like after I finished Children of Blood and Bone I couldn’t help but look at the world around myself and think of it differently, see it from all angles, and imagine yourself as someone else. I did it with three books as well. Novels like this are such an important part of society because they are able to simultaneously show you the worst and best parts of humanity. Books like these display the facts that no matter what happens, there will always be people who will fight injustice- fight for the helpless and the wronged. You just have to decided which side of the story you want to be on.
An Ember in Ashes Reading Order, Blurbs, Rating:
An Ember in Ashes: ★★★★★
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.
A Torch Against the Night: ★★★★★
Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.
Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.
But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.
Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.
A Reaper at the Gates: ★★★★★
Beyond the Empire and within it, the threat of war looms ever larger.
The Blood Shrike, Helene Aquilla, is assailed on all sides. Emperor Marcus, haunted by his past, grows increasingly unstable, while the Commandant capitalizes on his madness to bolster her own power. As Helene searches for a way to hold back the approaching darkness, her sister's life and the lives of all those in the Empire hang in the balance.
Far to the east, Laia of Serra knows the fate of the world lies not in the machinations of the Martial court, but in stopping the Nightbringer. But while hunting for a way to bring him down, Laia faces unexpected threats from those she hoped would aid her, and is drawn into a battle she never thought she'd have to fight.
And in the land between the living and the dead, Elias Veturius has given up his freedom to serve as Soul Catcher. But in doing so, he has vowed himself to an ancient power that will stop at nothing to ensure Elias's devotion--even at the cost of his humanity.