An Ember in the Ashes - Sabaa Tahir


An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1) by Sabaa Tahir

This story about prisoners of an unjust world is extremely well written, and is populated by characters who aren’t unsympathetic, but are kinda unlikable.

The short is that I didn’t really like Elias much. He didn’t get a chance to grow much in this book, not nearly as much as Laia, or, I suspect, Helene did. I really would have loved a perspective on Helene. I know she gets some headline time in the next book, or at least I suspect as much from the preview, but I think she was sidelined in this when she shouldn’t have been.

Really the writing was the best thing about this book, the descriptions were tight, the way Sabaa Tahir opened the book pulled me in right away, and the supporting cast is really great. The legends are wonderfully built up, the world intrigues greatly. How did such forces come to be? I loved Teluman and even Mazen, for all we saw of them.

Yeah, Elias wasn’t really likable. He was… too male, if that’s fair to say. He spends a small part of his introductory paragraphs being somewhat mild, so when he comes back with a vengeance as ‘masculine’ and ‘definitely masculine’ I was somewhat turned off. I get why a girl would fall for him, but I don’t really get the whole ‘book boyfriends’ thing anyway. I like romantic interests to be more vulnerable (which I guess he kind of was the night before his final trial) but he seemed to be the strong, compelling and dominating type, which would probably be appealing in the real world, but in the book kind of makes for a one-dimensional character.

I don’t know if that’s fair to say, as I said before, I think he just grew less than I would have liked. He spent more time in the trials than he did learning about himself, and I guess that makes sense, but the crown was like a MacGuffin. Man, I don’t know if I’m really not into it or just being hard. I liked Laia and Helene a lot and would totally love to hear more from them, as they grow. Even the Commandant was unrepentantly and enjoyably evil. The boys need to gird their loins, things are not gonna get easier.

Really my only complaint is the amount of rape threats (and attempts? that's a confusing point, you'll see if you read it) which really get tiresome, man!

THEORY: (Spoilers?) I was hoping to find out my suspicion, that Cook is actually the Lionness, that she is Laia’s mother, but instead we learned about the fate of the Djinn and that the man in black that the Commandant met with was the former king who turned evil, I already forgot his name.

I’m just really glad this has a sequel and is getting a book 3 and hopefully a book 4?! I think if someone had sold this book to me as a stand alone, I would have had a lot more bad things to say.

Pages: 446
Year: April 28, 2015
Publisher: Penguin Teen

Read: 29 December 2016 to 5 February 2017
Stars: 4 (I really liked it.)