Book Review: An Ember In The Ashes - Sabaa Tahir
VOW YOUR BLOOD AND BODY TO THE EMPIRE. KEEP YOUR HEART FOR YOURSELF.
Side note: I'm going to try my absolute hardest not to fangirl about this book during this review. Wish me luck.
An Ember In The Ashes follows two characters who live very different lives, yet are somehow united by their similar minds and hopes. Elias is a Mask, one of the best at Blackcliff Academy, where he is taught to be ruthless and violent, yet he wants none of the life destined for him. Laia is a Scholar, whose people are discriminated, oppressed and routinely slaughtered or sold into slavery.
I didn't have high expectations when I started this book, thinking it would just be another load of dystopian young adult crap. I was pleasantly surprised to be absolutely enthralled in this book for days on end. It's thought provoking, anger stirring and 100% worth your Sunday night when you have a few hours to spare.
One of the things I really liked about An Ember In The Ashes was how well constructed the plot was. Although a little cliche at points, the actual storyline and how well it all fitted together at the end indicated that Sabaa Tahir spent a long time working it all out before writing it. The character development was a tad hit and miss, as although Laia grew through the book, I felt like some characters - such as Keenan - really could have used a little work. Helene was written perfectly in my opinion; I couldn't get enough of her character. She was not quite as one-dimensional as I would have thought she would be. Even though I liked Laia, her quick trusting of the Resistance despite the multiple warnings and dodgy atmosphere was much too predictable.
Speaking of predictable, were the love triangles really that necessary? The trend of having a love triangle every ten pages in modern YA books is quickly becoming very overdone. Sure we all love some cheeky snog scenes, but if you're going to include them, do it right.
All in all, this book was a fabulous start to a series, with the second book, A Torch Against The Night, being scheduled for release sometime in August 2016 after its original date of April being pushed back for five months. In addition, Paramount Pictures have bought the screen rights, with big names such as Mark Johnson (Breaking Bad producer) seemingly being attached to this project. Keep an eye out in the cinemas!
Rating: 4½ stars out of 5 (****½)
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