Tuesday, September 6, 2016

An Ember in the Ashes

It's getting late in my apartment. I'm going to miss the summer when it's gone. I like the long days and that brilliant blue sky. I'll even miss the heat, though where I'm living now it's more like a hot, damp blanket draped around your shoulders. I'm pretty much part cat. I can handle heat, and can curl up with a book and end up falling asleep in the middle of the day if there's a warm breeze and sun on my shoulders. But in the winter I also enjoy sitting inside, wrapped in a blanket while rain pummels the windows. I don't know what made me think about that except I realized recently that I've lived in three states in less than a year. Crazy, huh? And my books have followed me everywhere. And with that horrible segue, here are my thoughts on An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir.

Retrieved from Goodreads
Laia is part of the conquered Scholars. Elias is a warrior of the Martial Empire that did the conquering. Laia's family was killed and she barely escaped with her life. Her brother was captured, and she now has one goal: free him with the help of the rebellion that lives in the tunnels beneath the city. To do so, she allows herself to be sold as a slave to the Martial academy, into the service of the most despicable warrior of all. She's to spy on a woman who has killed servants for looking at her without asking. Meanwhile, Elias wants to desert the Martial Empire. But his only way to freedom is through a contest to become the Emperor himself.

So, weird book, I'll give it that. There are some elements of fantasy that I enjoyed and I think will be good in the next book. I also appreciated how the book moved swiftly past the awkward "try to establish a family and setting when every reader knows it's going to get blown to hell in 20 pages" thing. No, readers don't care about Laia's brother. I cared about her obviously being a terrible spy and still letting herself become a slave in spite of that fact. I cared that she was missing the obvious fact that the rebellion wasn't being honest with her. I did not buy the romance between Laia and Elias. I would have rather heard more about Elias's best friend (once again, I'm so sorry, it's been a few weeks since I read the book, so I can't remember her name) who was the only girl in the academy. I also would like to have seen more of the background behind why everyone just accepted that these magic immortal guys said the emperor's line would fail and there's going to be a competition over a few weeks to determine who's going to become the new emperor. That seemed weird to me. Why would the current emperor allow for it? Why weren't there more people selected to compete? How did those competitions at all prepare people for being the emperor? I enjoyed this book, but I'm really hoping those elements get more fleshed out in the next installment.

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars (more like 3.5)
Up Next: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

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