I was given a sneak peak to An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir and that sneak peak quickly turned in to me borrowing the full book from my library. Tahir does a fantastic job creating and building a world that readers are eager to explore. An Ember in the Ashes centers around two characters, Laia and Elias whose lives in the Empire have been irrevocably altered by the emperors unforgiving rule.
Elias is the boy raised outside the Empire who is called home to attend the daunting Blackcliff Academy, an area where strength and fortitude is tested to the point of death, those that can survive those grueling 14 years become Masks, executors of the emperors will. Elias, due to being raised outside the empire never feels as if he belongs and balks at the cruel savagery he must display in order to progress in his training. In fact, he plans to run off and desert even knowing that the penalty for such a crime is death. Unfortunately for Elias, fate quite literally intervenes and he finds himself in trials to become the newest emperor.
Laia meanwhile is a girl who has watched her entire life crumble in an evening after her brother was taken away and her grandparents killed. Orphaned and desperate to save her brother, she heads to the sewers and encounters the resistance. Unfortunately for Laia, the resistance does not turn out to be quite as glamorous as it seems. Laia must first be willing to serve the resistance in order to gain their assistance. To do this, Laia must infiltrate Blackcliff and serve as slave to the brutal Commandant, who also happens to be Elias’ mother.
With time running down and destiny seeming to interfere with their lives at every step, the adventure of Laia and Elias is one that will surely capture readers that enjoy a dystopian bedouin style Empire that possess a fair bit of magic and mystique. I am already getting ready to get the second book in this series. If you enjoy adventure and good fantasy dystopian fiction, this is the book for you. I am giving it 4/5 stars for a great adventure that has me itching to read the sequel.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher that allowed me a sneak peak at An Ember in the Ashes. I look forward to reading the second and third books of this trilogy.