Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir {2.5}


Title: An Ember in the Ashes
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Series: The Lady Janies #2
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: February 9th, 2016
Pages: 464
My Rating: 2.5 Stars

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.


I don’t always have the best of luck with hyped books, and this is another one where I am the black sheep. Going into this book, I didn’t really expect anything. I only skimmed the synopsis so as to lessen the expectation, but I still managed to get disappointed.

An Ember in the Ashes started off intense – like really intense, and I got excited for it. The following chapters died down, which is completely expected because I know I wouldn’t be able to keep up with a book that’s intense all throughout anyway. And then throughout the whole book I was just expecting to get the same thrill as I did in the first chapter again, but I guess it just didn’t happen until the ending?So yeah, I wasn’t really as immersed in the story as I had hoped to be.

Throughout the novel, I felt like the scope of the plot was too small.The whole story made me question the depth of the plot. Yes, there are so many things happening. Yes, the novel mentioned many interesting things. But it didn’t really delved on those too much, you know? It just touched the surface of all those very interesting things that held so much potential, but I just wish they were explored more to make this more interesting. I felt the book was lacking in excitement and basically just things that happen in the book, and the scope felt pretty narrow to me.

Another issue I had was how repetitive certain phrases/sentences were, or maybe even instances. At some point it just became a broken record. I got tired of hearing the same things over and over again. Connected to this, I also had an issue with the way the story was told. It was written in such a way where the happenings were told instead of shown. This makes the images in my head not really play out well, and that really put a strain to my enjoyment of the story.

Overall, I don’t think this book is for me. I did enjoy some parts, and I am curious about what happens, but if I have the option, I would just like to know about what happens without reading the next book. I’m still not sure if I will proceed with the next book, but if I do, I don’t think I’ll do it soon.

2.5 repetitive stars

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