An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

"You will spark and burn, ravage and destroy. You cannot change it. You cannot stop it." (65)

Title:  An Ember in the Ashes
Series: An Ember in the Ashes #1
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Publisher:  Penguin Teen
Release Date:  April 28, 2015
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy


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.

When my sister first told me, "You HAVE to read this book!" I didn't know what to take of An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, but I still went and bought a copy. After reading it, WOW! I mean I knew it would be good, because when my sister says it's good, it's good. But I did not expect it to be this good. Rich in depth and story, An Ember in the Ashes is cinematic with high definition visuals through words.  What we have is the intensity of Hunger Games meet the abundance in plot and grit of Ben Hur, plus the emotions of Gone with the Wind. How does those three even come together, you might ask? Well, it does, right in An Ember in the Ashes.

The dual points of view from Laia and Elias gives readers the inside knowledge, you might say of both sides of the coin. From the rebels point of view and the "Masks", knowing that those two may forever be in opposition, yet, their thoughts and their hopes and dreams are not so different. In a world of fantasy, Sabaa created one with imagined history, vocal and complex characters and the questions to define and figure out what it is all about, while keeping you in suspense. I'm hooked, engrossed in the story, captivated by the characters and immersed in the budding emotions between Laia and Elias. Yes, totally hooked, and can't begin to imagine the long wait for the second installment, let alone the third! At least we have a date for the second, A Torch Against the Night. Are you ready to jump onto the An Ember in the Ashes' bandwagon? You'll be hooked too!

PS/ Might I add, after reading it, I did a little stalking on the book news, and found out this series have already been optioned for a movie! Totally see it happening! It's that visual.





Please note, even though this is YA, due to the subject matter, there's a little (not over the top) violence with some minor sexual innuendos (but clean). 


Sabaa Tahir grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s eighteen-room motel. There, she spent her time devouring fantasy novels, raiding her brother’s comic book stash, and playing guitar badly. She began writingAn Ember in the Ashes while working nights as a newspaper editor. She likes thunderous indie rock, garish socks, and all things nerd. Sabaa currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.

TO CONNECT WITH SABAA:  website,  facebook,  twitter,  pinterest,  goodreads




  1. I've had my eye on this book - your review bumps it up for me even further!

  2. Awww Carrie! You are the sweetest. I just love this story!!

  3. Definitely curious about this one. I did pick up a copy back when it released, but alas, I've yet to read it. Someday. Great review! :)

  4. I'm like you RISSI. I had this for some time, and when I finally had a break, I read it and now, I'm hooked!


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