“There are two kinds of guilt. The kind that’s a burden and the kind that gives you purpose. Let your guilt be your fuel. Let it remind you of who you want to be. Draw a line in your mind. Never cross it again. You have a soul. It’s damaged but it’s there. Don’t let them take it from you.” ― Sabaa Tahir, An Ember in the Ashes
An Ember in the Ashes written by Sabaa Tahir
Published by Razorbill in April 2015
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.
My Take On It: This was recommended by a friend who works at our local library, it’s up for a Beehive award and they were looking for a few more reads on it. It grabbed me right away. I was hooked from the first chapter. In the beginning I felt for Laia as she discovers what she feels is a great weakness and inability to help the ones she loves. I admired the nature of Elias for his ability to look beyond the power he could wield and want to turn his back on it. I enjoyed watching both of them grow and come to understand themselves in ways they didn’t before. I love it when characters have self-realization in such a great way. I also like a book that keeps me guessing on who to trust. Please be aware that there is a lot of violence in this book, it may not be a good pick for you if you are sensative to such and maybe not a good recommendation for “younger young adults” if you know what I mean? As for me I REALLY liked it, can you tell? I felt like the story was quick paced and held my interest the entire time. I loved the Romanesque setting and underlying current of ancient Arab magic and myth. Can’t wait to get my hands on the next one!