Read An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir Online

An Ember in the Ashes

Alternative Cover Edition #1 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 an...

Title : An Ember in the Ashes
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Number of Pages : 446 pages
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An Ember in the Ashes Reviews

  • Ashley Nuckles

    Reread May 2018: 5 stars easily. SO much better the second time around omfg

    4.5 stars!!


    Even though it took me about 100 pages to actually start understanding and enjoying the book, I STILL LOVED IT!

    As I was reading I kept imagining Laia as the girl on that famous Nat Geo magazine with the bright eyes and IT MADE THE EXPERIENCE SO MUCH BETTER.

    I loved how both Laia and Elias developed in this book! (Though I did enjoy Elias' POV more at most parts, maybe just because it was m

  • Jesse (JesseTheReader)

    HOLY SMOKES THAT WAS GOOD. I'm sososo happy that there's going to be a sequel. I'D BE SO MAD IF THEY JUST LEFT ME HANING LIKE THAT. YOU CAN'T DO THAT. YAY FOR SEQUELS. *throws confetti*


    5 Bleeding, burning skies! ★'s

    “The field of battle is my temple. The sword point is my priest. The dance of death is my prayer. The killing blow is my release.”

    “Fear is only your enemy if you allow it to be. Too much fear and you're paralyzed. Too little fear and you're arrogant.”

    Buddy read with my VK/GR besttie Tania Parvin


    Wowww! I love 'An Ember in the Ashes'!! It was even better the second time around if that's even possible! Again... It captured me from the very first page and held

  • Mohammed Arabey

    Never expected a YA that mature..

    An 'Amber' in the Ashes..

    A fine crafted Novel..every element perfectly measured.

    Very well paced, exciting world..With deep, well developing characters..

    In a world with the magical atmosphere of Arabian Nights tales...even with hints of Game of Thrones, Hunger Games..even HP's Goblet of Fire,

    Yet emerges An original tale,An Ember in the Ashes.

    Complete with amazing epic kinds of Love and attractions, long life friendship and new ones.. courage and Honor..Izzat ;Whic


    a personal issue

    For me there's always something wrong with a YA novel..a tiresome pace, too much coincidences, silly love story, too young characters to do all this, unimaginable world set, too much unnecessary characters, RANT, lots and lots of rants in every topic.

    Sometimes I feel some authors only interested in the category only...only females under 21 allowed.

    Well, not in this case, as a male reader over 30 I can probably say I enjoyed this novel as I never had with a YA since 2013’s The Diviners..may be a little bit more-they're both totally different anyway.-

    And with the uniqueness of this one I can say it's one of my best reads ever along with Harry Potter, Game of Thrones is a solid 5 stars Novel..

    I'll try to review without too much rant about how perfect the writing is. And I won't give away more than 25% of how the story goes to avoid any spoilers.. It's a must read really.


    The World, the Setting


    In an Empire rules by the Martial who came from the north and invaded the Scholars’ Empire 500 years ago.

    Scholars now live as low class citizens, forbidden of knowledge, most specifically the art of making weapons..for the only army here are the Martials.

    The soldiers called Masks.. the graduates from the Blackcliff, a huge dimly black Academy with the toughest military training.

    And Of course there's a rebel somewhere in the Empire, some say they use the huge catacombs underground..

    It's a Medieval Dystopia after all.

    With a touch of..

    Supernatural, History and Myth

    There's a well measured use of paranormal beings here, jinn; ghosts, efrits, wraiths, and wights...they are mentioned ,maybe appear, whether they are real or not you'll learn as the story goes. Neatly and perfect.

    There is no magic people capable of, the only supernatural humans here are the Augurs, the holy religious undying 14 men and women.

    Fearful, holy and old as time..who can read the complex people's mind in a way.. who may predict the fate and the future.

    “The whites of the Augur’s eyes are demon-red, vivid against his jet irises.

    His skin stretches across the bones of his face like a tortured body on the rack. Other than his eyes, he has no more color to him than the translucent spiders that lurk in Serra’s catacombs.”

    The setting is one of the things that take my breath slowly, first the idea of a catacombs was haunting with the desert and the Arabian atmosphere.

    Then as I learn more about the Empires history with glimpses of the different other cultures there made me feel how rich it truly is. How deep and yet very easy written and calculated measured.

    Every bit of information about this World is smoothly produced, not interrupting the story nor fall into useless rant.

    -Now I rant right?, okay point is.


    The Story



    A seventeen years old Scholar Girl, her grandparents killed and her older brother “Darin”-and only family left- captured for his sketchbook with Weapons designs by the Martial Mask soliders.

    She escaped, knowing that her brother work for the resistance, she try to search for them underground to help her and free him.

    Unfortunately for her the leader “Mazen” gave her a mission in return for their help, to be sent as a Slave for the Commandant of the Blackcliff.

    To Spy on the fortified Blackcliff Military Academy.


    Elias, a 20 years old Martial, almost graduating as a Mask but thinking of breaking free of all this, all this brutal world of Blackcliff and the Martials Empire..

    But in the day of his graduation he’s hold back by an Augur.. the holy man, telling him that this year there's a Tournament for 4 of the year's top graduated students.

    It's for a Foretold Prophecy that the line of the Emperor whose house been Emperors since the invasion 500 years ago will fail.. and the winner of the Tournament will be the New Emperor, and the second to win will be his Blood Shrike, his right hand.

    And since the Augurs can read minds. The Augur promised him that if he won't escape he'll be free of Body and Soul..but if he desert his soul will be even worse than a Mask’s one.


    The Story is really convenience, hooked me from the beginning..

    No big coincidences or ridiculous ones. Even when I thought something went really easy, later I'd find out that's nothing easy as it seems.

    The story told as chapter by Laia followed by one by Elias.

    You won't get confused much since most of it in separated locations which make the chapters with dual narrating when they meet always fun and perfect, like in the Moon Festival scenes.

    Now let's review the characters -With no more rant about the story- and some of the relations.


    Laia and Elias Veturius


    I don't count it as a Love story...There's a great difference between falling in love and feeling an attraction towards the one who saves you…

    And this novel present it very well enough. The relation between them is really smoothly moving..again can't say love but surely an attraction.

    Laia's 17 and truly feel that she is just her age..not ridiculously seems older nor a silly love sick girl.

    Just a girl faces a tough times that can happen to anyone of her faction..but she must be live up for a certain past.

    So is he.. he never choose to be a Mask but his past forced him..I loved how they'd met.. the small similarities between them, he wants to be Free and she's never been, and to free her brother she must to be a Slave to his Commandant..his mother..

    The Commandant , Keris Veturius


    What a Dark, vicious character... how can she be the Mother of the brave kind soul of Elias is something thrillingly written.

    She's dark, holding too much of secrets and even a past encounter with Laia's family.

    Very powerful dark woman perfectly written and I really love this kind of characters and can't wait to know more about her.

    Is she totally soulless?

    There is a small scene I really loved from the past that will make you sure how people aren't totally beasts..

    Helene Aquilla and Elias


    What I said about Laia and Elias doesn't fit here... and I have to say the story of Helene and Elias is one of the most beautiful hard drama love story I've read..

    For fourteen years they've been friends, since they were 5, grown up together, trained and fight together.

    The training of Blackcliff is tough, by the Augurs rule it's only males and only one female every long time..

    Can A Long time Friendship turns to Love?

    Well, sure, but how to write it...describe how the feeling can happen THAT'S the challenge..

    Alas, unlike the similarities between Elias and Laia, Helene character is very different.. she's tougher, she believes in rules and have a strong faith in the Augurs way more than Elias'.

    She'd get mad if knew that Elias even have a tiny thought to escape his duties and leave Blackcliff.

    The bigger problem -which I rarely read it that way but I felt really close to my real life- that he doesn't feel he love her the way she does. She's a close friend, like a relative.. which really complicating everything.

    There are too many secret in their relation...too many surprises and Twists of events.

    I really enjoyed this character and this complicated relation with all its dark sides.

    On the other side there's

    Laia and Keenan


    Again it's brilliantly written, at first, not as falling in love rather as an attraction towards the saver…

    Keenan is a young member of the resistance.. I liked so much how through the whole story I get these mixed feelings about him. There's a mystery around the whole resistance, there's a traitor but noone know who..

    You will keep thinking is he and Mazen, the old leader, are trustworthy or not.

    Every character got its share of secrets you peel layer by layer..but there's some untold-at least till the end of Book One- past still to discover

    Such as;

    The Cook and Izzi, the Kitchen slaves


    Izzi is a young kitchen girl slave, the Commandant take one eye off her as a mean to make the older slave,The Cook, suffer, though the Cook herself had her share of torment for another mysterious past with the Commandant.

    Izzi become a friend to Laia and though she's younger but she is a real true loyal brave friend..she help Laia whatever that may cost her…which makes her a true example of Ezzat.

    While the Cook, though her brutal silence and disapproval of Izzi’s befriending with Laia.. she proves useful giving Laia doubts about the Resistance.

    I really can't wait to know more about her in later books maybe.

    There's some more characters simply presented, richly effective in the story and the feelings.

    The Brutal Marcus and his twin who has a change of heart.. the loyal Sana..the Smith Spiro Teluman with his dark secrets... The Holy Augurs and their unfathomable twisted play...

    A Nightbringer and his Horror...Afya Ara-Nur, from a far trip with mysterious role. And many many more..


    In the End


    History, Myth and other Fiction

    Silver Masks are mentioned in many real life wars, more specifically as the Baldwin IV..the Crusaders who invade Jerusalem...

    Did I told you there's an Arabian atmosphere in here?

    Also the religious story of People connecting with Jinn and Efrits -such as Babylon mythology or many other.. is here has a specific story-like towards the end when you learn more about the history of the amazingly world created by Sabaa..

    It's still a pure original Novel, no matter that at some points I felt that it may have hints from A Game of Thrones...More Arabian Nights or Hunger Games even the Triwizard Tournament of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire..

    As I wanted to say the characters facing a ‘Wizardry Tournament’ for ‘A Game of Thrones’ in a ‘Hunger Games’ world..

    But what's a Great fiction if not has hints inspired by preceding great ones..and by myths and History..

    A Game of Thrones is inspired by the Real War of the Roses, and with Shakespeare plays. Harry Potter is heavy with Greek myths and mythology stories..Hunger Games is inspired by 1984 which is inspired by real life suppression in Soviet government.

    The challenge here is to Emerge bigger...with own Soul, free, unique...flame of amazing tale..not just a ranting remake blending everything...but unique as a perfect crafted as an Ember..

    An Ember in the Ashes..

    Thank you Sabaa Tahir,

    Can't wait for Book Two..

    Mohammed Arabey

    From 7 May 2016

    To 14 May 2016

    PS: the photos of the Actors and Actresses are from an amazing Egyptian TV Show "El Ahad" written by Mohammed Amin Radi, aired June 2015.. though it's totally different story but the atmosphere even some of the characters description and even some turn of events... it's too inspired a bit by Arabian Nights.

    Sorry if the images may not fit well the description but again I used some imaginations.

    A real must read.


  • Kai


    I know Sabaa Tahir hardly received any criticism and absolutely everybody is amazed.

    Not me.

    I'm the opposite of amazed.

    For starters, the concept is ancient. Boy and Girl are actually enemies but fall for each other. There is a spark. There is a revolution. There is a trial where the competitors have to fight until only one survives.

    Much creative.

    Still, some authors are able to work out a thrilling story. Sabaa Tahir was not.

    Next thing, the characters are shallow. There is no character depth

  • Kiki

  • Katerina

    “The field of battle is my temple. The swordpoint is my priest. The dance of death is my prayer. The killing blow is my release.”

    One word.


    Dear Book Gods,

    I beg you to forgive me for not reading this masterpiece sooner. I will graciously accept any punishment you deem appropriate. I would also like to thank you for bringing this book into my life. You guys rock!

    Sincerely, Sabaa Tahir's new stalker fan

    The story

    “You are full, Laia. Full of life and dark and strength and spi

  • Regan


    This book is totally going to have a sequel.