An Ember In The Ashes

Title: An Ember in the Ashes
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Released:  April 28th 2015
Pages: 446
Rating: 4/5 ★


“What if you were the spark that could ignite a revolution?

For years Laia has lived in fear. Fear of the Empire, fear of the Martials, fear of truly living at all. Born as a Scholar, she’s never had much of a choice.
For Elias it’s the opposite. He has seen too much on his path to becoming a Mask, one of the Empire’s elite soldiers. With the Masks’ help the Empire has conquered a continent and enslaved thousands, all in the name of power.
When Laia’s brother is taken she must force herself to help the Resistance, the only people who have a chance of saving him. She must spy on the Commandant, ruthless overseer of Blackcliff Academy. Blackcliff is the training ground for Masks and the very place that Elias is planning to escape.

If he succeeds, he will be named deserter. If found, the punishment will be death.
But once Laia and Elias meet, they will find that their destinies are intertwined and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.
In the ashes of a broken world one person can make a difference. One voice in the dark can be heard. The price of freedom is always high and this time that price might demand everything, even life itself.”

from Goodreads.


Phuuu, this book was something! It started out as confusing as it ended but I liked it.
Firstly, the way of writing is pretty good, you get a sense of all the brutality and violence surrounding the main characters Laia and the Mask Elias.

It reminded me very strongly of “The Young Elites” just with more violence and a significant part missing: Hope. I searched for it but everything the characters do or survive or live through seems to be … meaningless. There is just more blood, more desperation waiting for them (Okay, except the last ten pages).

This is the reason why I’ll take one star away from my rating – Hope should be worked into the story as an underlining common thread. Yes, clearly, I’ve enjoyed the read (to stay awake until 2am to finish this book is an obvious indication), but I’ve never seen the hope Elias and Laia are definitely having (everyone has hopes, right?) until the very end.

Never mind this disappointing flaw – everything else was superb. The brutality, the violence and the creepy ruler ship of that “Empire” scared the crap out of me (Even though I didn’t fully understand this political system…).
… and I loved that delicate romance going on between those very fascinating characters of Elias, Hel, Laia and that red-haired Resistance-boy (I forgot the name. He wasn’t that interesting I suppose).

Also, Laia really learned so much in that “short” time. At the beginning she was a coward but she managed to survive a brutal master and much more brutal treatment. I like strong characters that start out weak. It’s realistic that you’re scared and have to learn to become brave. So, thumbs up for this one!

Gif from here.

All good things must end: Ruin and Rising (The Grisha Book #3) – Leigh Bardugo

It’s over. So sad. One of the books I want to continue reading until … until I’m nothing but dust. Okay, now I’m definitively exaggerating! But still, I’m so glad that I’ve read this trilogy. Let’s get to the review, shall we?

 There will be no summary this time because I think if you’ve read Shadow and Bone and the sequel Siege and Storm, there is no need for a summary. This book is the last one and a brilliant conclusion of the series.

I was really afraid how the author will entangle all these hints and I am relieved to admit, that Leigh Bardugo solved it perfectly.
Alina is more and more struggling with her power, with the burden on her shoulders and the dark thoughts that’ll come every night. They still need to find the third amplifier to defeat the Darkling, but while the story gets darker and darker and their path is covered with more and more loss, they don’t give up. Mal is the centre of this undaunted hope. There was a quote in the story, I can’t really piece it together but it was something like “hope is like water, it always sneaks through”. This describes perfectly their situation.
You get to like the characters even more, even Zoya, that spoiled powerful beast, who can be quite helpful when she wants to be.
The showdown is … I can’t say, that I’ve expected more because I didn’t really know, what I was expecting, but it was adequate. I won’t spoil the ending but I’m glad it ended this way.
His writing is as terrific as in all the books before. I know, I haven’t really mentioned his writing or the concept of his story because I was so distracted by the storyline. I’m sorry. But all I can say is that he knows how to touch the readers heart with his characters (I’ll admit that there was an incident when I wanted to flush the book down the toilet because I thought something really, really bad has happened. Anyway. He made up for it. Fortunately.) and make them as human as possible without losing their essential traits to make the story come alive. (And all the characters still manage to be funny. Kind of. Fascinating.)