Happy Monday! Today I’m going out on a limb and say that I read a dystopian/fantasy (I don’t even know the difference) YA-novel. YES really! I’ve seen An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir come by on Instagram a lot of times. When I saw it on my brother-in-law’s book shelf I couldn’t resist.

If I haven’t said it before – which I’m pretty sure I have – I usually only read contemporaries. Most of the time romantic and YA ones. I’ve read the first two Harry Potter books, but only watched the rest of the movies. It’s just not my kind of thing. So I was a bit apprehensive.

Before I go into the review, here’s a little synopsis: 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. 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.

Okay, that synopsis is not little, but necessary if you want to know what the book is about. Without further ado…

My thoughts on An Ember in The Ashes

The first thing I like was that the book had a map of the academy and the Empire. I flipped back to that a lot to make sure I had the right picture in my mind.

I must say that it was hard to get into. With the weird creatures, the different names for groups of people and the cities, I had a hard time keeping up.

One of the first scenes also made it very hard, since it was bloody and intense. Which made me even more apprehensive about the rest of the book. I must say that most of the rest wasn’t as bad as that scene.

Also read: Book review of Save the Date by Morgan Matson

The story itself was great. There was a big family theme in Laia’s side of the story and I liked that. The people from the ‘bad’ side weren’t as bad as they appeared, which was also a relief.

And that ending… I know that there are two more books and I think I read somewhere that there will be a fourth. And as much as I want to know how it continues because the ending was unsatisfying, I don’t think I could read two/three more books of this.

Final rating

The book was good enough, but not my cup of tea. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.