Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, AN EMBER IN THE ASHES is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told.
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.
I give it - 5/5
My review - This has now became my new favourite fantasy story.
We follow Laia who is a scholar and her brother was kidnapped so she is trying to find him and save him. She finds the resistance that her parents where the founders of before they died to get them to help her save her brother. So they get her to go undercover as a slave at Blackcliff.
We also follow Elias, who is a student at Blackcliff. His mother is the commandant and he hates it there. He has almost finished his time there when he and 3 other students have to go through some trials for one of them to become an emperor. Elias has grown to hate Blackcliff as they are trained from age 6 how to fight and kill and if you disobey or try and run away they will kill you. No matter your age.
I really liked that each chapter was either from Laia or Elias POV as we get to know more about the scholars and Martials.
I also loved the character development in this book! Laia starts off as a very scared young girl, whose family where strong and fought for what they believed in and throughout the book she slowly but surely becomes stronger and is able to overcome her weakness.
I really enjoyed this story as all the characters where enjoyable and it was great to read about all the different characters and their backgrounds. Even the commandant, who is a an evil woman who gave up Elias when he was born, reading about why she did that and she is just a very cold woman who will do what she can to get her way.
There has to be another book after this! The way it ended was brilliant and the whole story was fantastic.
I really loved Sabaa's style of writing as I was gripped from the very beginning and didn't put it down once. She is just brilliant.
Thank you to HarperVoyager who sent me a review copy of this.