AUTHOR: Sabaa Tahir

Genre: Fantasy, YA

Series: An Ember In The Ashes #1

Published:  Published February 9th 2016 by Razorbill (first published April 28th 2015)

Pages: 446

Summary and Review:



Let me tell you… This isn’t a unique, mind blowing and thrilling fantasy that you will ever get to read. Nah! But a few pages through the book will get you hooked as was the case with me. I just couldn’t put it down. This reminded me how one can just go to an other world through books.

Coming to the story—

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.

Laia lost her parents who were with the rebels fighting against The Empire and now she lives with her grandparents along with her brother.

One godforsaken night, Laia’s brother is arrested for treason and sadly she loses her grandparents as well. So she goes to The Resistance for help and in exchange, she agrees to spy for them from the Empire’s greatest military academy-BlackCliff

There, she meets Elias-Blackcliff commandant’s son and the school’s finest soldier – who secretly abhors the life he’s being trained for.

Elias, who has already planned a secret escape after his graduation, comes to a situation where he chooses to stay for an ultimate challenge (Not gonna reveal that you folks).

The rest of the story is about her life as a slave inside BlackCliff when she spies for the rebels to save her brother. And obviously, as you might’ve guessed, Laia’s and Elias’ paths cross again and again until they realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

Just so you know, the story is said from both Laia’s and Elias’ POV. This is how their first encounter went— (From Elias perspective)

I’m faced with a slave-girl looking up at me through impossibly long eyelashes. A heated, visceral shock flares through me at the clarity of her dark gold eyes. For a second, I forget my name. I’ve never seen her before, because if I had, I’d remember. Despite the heavy silver cuffs and high, painful-looking bun that mark all of Blackcliff’s drudges, nothing about her says slave. Her black dress fits her like a glove, sliding over every curve in a way that makes more than one head turn. Her full lips and fine, straight nose would be the envy of most girls, Scholar or not. I stare at her, realize I’m staring, tell myself to stop staring, and then keep staring. My breath falters, and my body, traitor that it is, tugs me forward until there are only inches between us.

“Asp-aspirant Veturius.”

It’s the way she says my name—like it’s something to fear—that brings me back to myself. Pull it together, Veturius. I step away, appalled at myself when I see the terror in her eyes.

So, it’s obvious that they’re the main characters. But you’ll hardly find them together in a scene in the beginning. Not that I cared, because I pretty much loved their own separate stories. YES! you read that right. There’s this guy  Keenan, a member of The Resistance, whom I’m secretly rooting for, and this girl Helene, a friend (or at least she’s introduced that way ) of Elias. So, yeah! everything is blurred… Honestly, I’m not much into Love triangles…Oh, who am I kidding? I really don’t like love triangles. Though this is not exactly a love triangle… But you can always make an exception right? *winks*  Let me make that clear for you without giving any spoilers away…

It goes something like this—

Half way through the book, Laia and Keenan sort of start liking each other.

It’ll become clear for us that Helene loves Elias and Elias is attracted to her (notice that I’m choosing my words carefully here).

But, when it comes to Laia and Elias, there’s definitely some spark going on…

Have I made it clear enough for you? *winks*

Nonetheless, I’m happy that the lines are a bit blurred. Yes! who wants an insta-love moment in such cruel world amidst those adverse situations? Definitely, NOT ME… I’m glad that the author has taken some time to initiate (though it was almost at the end) a relationship (or sort of) between Laia and Elais.

Coming to the other characters—

MAZEN – The leader of Resistance- I don’t know if I trust this person. Jury’s still out on that one.

BLACKCLIFF COMMANDANT- Elais’s mother. And I definitely HATE this lady. She’s cruel, evil and a complete sociopath. She treats Laia like sh*t and most importantly she doesn’t like Elais. If the last one isn’t enough for someone to hate her, I don’t know what else would.


AUGURS- A bunch of Hooded holy people in the Empire and they can read minds (Double sh*t). I sort of like them one moment and hate them in the next. But I guess their intentions are good. We’ll have to look into them later.

And there’s this guy called MARCUS, whom you’ll most definitely hate. And not to forget he, and Helene are also a part of that ultimate challenge. So, he plays an important role.


I loved that I fell in love with not just Laia and Elias but also Keenan and Helene…

I loved that I really hated some characters in the book…

I loved the pace of the book…

I loved the Trials of that challenge…

I loved that it gripped me till the end and I couldn’t put it down…

I loved that it is NOT A CLIFFHANGER but there is an other book following the story…

I loved the fact that this made my heart my race not just with happy excitement and buzz but also with trepidation…

I loved that there are many WOWWW, AWWW and CRAP! moments in the book… 

I loved the fight between Helene and Elias… 

The battle is a dance, one I know so well I barely have to think. And though the sweat floods off me and my muscles burn, desperate for rest, I feel alive, obscenely alive.

Needless to say, I pretty much loved the entire book…

Did I mention that I LOVE ELIAS? Yes, I most certainly did… and in case you missed it,

I LOVE ELIAS VETURIUS*Grins like an Idiot* He most certainly made it to my #BBF list.

“You are an ember in the ashes, Elias Veturius. You will spark and burn, ravage and destroy. You cannot change it. You cannot stop it.”


Life is made of so many moments that mean nothing. Then one day, a single moment comes along to define every second that comes after.


“Seeing the enemy as a human”—A general’s ultimate nightmare.

“Thoughts are complex. Messy. They are tangled as a jungle of vines, layered like the sediment in a canyon. We must weave through the vines, trace the sediment. We must translate and decipher.

I think it’s time for me to shut up and let you read the book… So, What are you waiting for? Go, get the book-if you haven’t already- and start reading it…

I’m gonna go read the second part,


And I’ll be back with its review… Happy Reading…



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