An Ember in the Ashes – Buddy Read and Review

For the month of August my friend Kirstie and I decided to do a buddy read of An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. Each week of August we read 12-13 chapters of the book, and made a post on Instagram based on prompts we decided on before the buddy read started. The buddy read/challenge consisted of five posts, and I decided to include them all here as well as my final review of the book. If you want to check out Kirstie’s buddy read posts you can find them on her Instagram @ kittycornerwriter.  Now without any further ado let’s just jump right in.

 

Week One

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This week our buddy read challenge was to post a “Book Cover” picture along with our initial thoughts on the book. Being only 12 chapters in there really isn’t much I can say about the book so far. I’m definitely enjoying the two main characters, and the world that the book is set in is really interesting to me. The plot seems solid so far, but I’m really only in the beginning of the book it’s hard to really tell at this point. I’m enjoying the writing style, and I’m excited to read the next 12 chapters!

 

Week Two

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This week our buddy read challenge was to post an “Open Book” picture and to talk about our favorite characters so far. I absolutely love both of the main Characters. Laia is NOT your typical badass female main character, instead she’s (in my opinion) just a normal scared teenage girl trying to survive, and I honestly love that -it’s a refreshing change of pace from all the Katniss like characters out there. Elias is also great, and I love his POV -it’s so much fun to read. I also love Helene (Elias’ best friend), she’s the exact opposite of Laia and I adore her.

 

Week Three

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This week our buddy read challenge was to post a “Book and Beverage” picture and to talk about our least favorite aspect of the book so far. We’re almost finished the book at this point, and my only real complaint so far is the fact that there are two love triangles. I’m not a fan of love triangles to begin with, but I can usually deal with one. However two separate love triangles (that mix in some points and create a very awkward love hexagon at times) seem very unnecessary and not useful in advancing the plot or character growth.

Week Four

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This week our buddy read challenge was to post any picture we wanted and to list five book recommendations that people can read if they liked An Ember in the Ashes. So here are my book recommendations, if you liked An Ember in the Ashes then you’ll love these books too. All five of these books share something in common with Ember. This could be anything from oppression, to jinni magic, to epic fantasy, to a similar writing style, to similar character situations or plot.

1) The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski.

2) Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios.

3) Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo .

4) Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard.

5) And I Darken by Kiersten White.

 

Final Review

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An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir was absolutely gripping. There were so many things that I enjoyed about this book, Tahir really did a great job and I loved her writing style. Let’s start off by talking about the main characters. Laia, the female main character, as I mentioned earlier is definitely not the type of character that will kick ass and take names. She was just a (somewhat) normal teenage girl that was trying to survive. Laia was primarily a scholar, and she joins the resistance in order to free her brother –whom has been imprisoned.

I didn’t like Elias, the male main character, as much as I liked Laia. But he was still a good character. His POV was always interesting and fun to read. Elias’ plotline was centered on the trials he had to compete in –and the trials were one of my favorite parts of the book! There were quite a few of minor characters that I loved as well. Helene being one of them, as mentioned earlier. Another character I loved was Keenan, although from the other reviews I’ve read I know he wasn’t popular with a lot of readers.

One of my favorite things about Ember is that the world it is set in was modeled after Ancient Rome. The historical fantasy vibe, with some dystopian elements thrown in for good measure, definitely worked for me. I enjoyed the darker elements of this world, and how Tahir wasn’t afraid to “go there” so to speak. The setting and plot allowed for some great themes to come forward, such as literacy being power, the subjective nature of right and wrong, and power being a double edged sword. Ember is definitely a book that will make you think.

The plot was pretty solid. There were no glaring plot holes, and the plot stayed interesting and well written throughout the entire book. There was a good mix of action and slower moments, which I personally really enjoy. I have heard complaints that the first half of the book was slow, but it definitely didn’t feel that way to me. My only real complaint, as I mentioned earlier, was the fact that there were two love triangles. It was completely unnecessary to the plot, and in all honestly fairly annoying. Overall I absolutely loved this book, and I can’t wait to read the sequel! This one is a solid 4.5/5 stars for me -half a star being taken away because of the two love triangles.

 

Official Summary

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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.

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