Book Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

emberintheashes_jkt_5-1Manipulative, Stunning, Heart-Breaking and Threatening. This book completely exceeded my expectations. I’ve never thought that I will be consumed by this novel in less than forty-eight hours and leaving me of wanting more. The story is destructive as its characters, you could sense the helplessness and the selflessness of the characters. I couldn’t fathom whether Sabaa Tahir is an evil sadist for inflicting pain towards her readers and loves to make her reader’s heart cry or just someone who is great with her work.

I was compelled and awestruck by the author’s magnificent and beautiful writing style that made me yearn for a character’s hurtful thoughts. At first, I was too confused what was happening, then pieces by pieces, through the story you would appreciate when they interconnected – it was swift, carefully written and gruesome plan for a story. I hate the Empire on the story, I hate the resistance — what’s left for me to love? The broken soldiers of the empire produce? Or the victims of a vast tragedy that their soul was bound to serve the nobility? It was too painful. I couldn’t fathom how did Sabaa Tahir write this book, I couldn’t understand why would she write something horrible and yet beautiful at the same time.

“This life is not always what we think it will be.” Cain says. “You are an ember in the ashes, Elias Veturius. You will spark, burn, ravage and destroy. You cannot change it. You cannot stop it.”

I underestimated this book. I was so caught up with the story that I was emotionally unstable whether I should be rooting for Laia to find her purpose and to fix her mind or to Elias, to find his freedom and fight for the higher position of the Empire, or to Keenan, who keeps bugging me, that he only wanted what was best but given a limited options, he can’t comply with what he want but for what he needs, or to Helene, who only wanted was happiness, mixed feelings course through her, and completely betray her heart for someone she loves.

“Loving you is the worst thing that has ever happened to me — worst than the Commandant’s whippings, worse than the Trials. It’s torture, Elias.”

Why do authors need to write this kind of book? It was too broken, too fragile for the readers to take – it felt that the winds become storms in front of you without giving you a second thought, struck by a lightning and setting your flesh into a fire. It was terrifying, I could feel the characters into my minds, I could see myself as themselves, I could understand their misery, longing, and sorrows. I know. It feels like I’m writing a eulogy for a character but it does feel, at least, for me.

“Fear is only your enemy if you allow it to be.”

I’ve felt a little joy, I would say that there are some butterfly scenes but those are just least, It was not the focus of the author, which is I’m so grateful for. It looks like she tries to focus more on the story and the myths of the story. How everything was manipulated by one another and how actions by the peers affect the outcome of the events. It was simply aprraisal, I couldn’t imagine what was running on Sabaa Tahir’s mind when she was writing this book. It was fast-paced and you could easy fall in love with the characters – which is I’m warning you right now, that, that would be the mistake you could have done when reading this book.

My ratings: 5 stars!

Book Depository

About the Author


7770873.jpgSabaa Tahir grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s 18-room motel. There, she spent her time devouring fantasy novels, raiding her brother’s comic book stash and playing guitar badly. She began writing An Ember in the Ashes while working nights as a newspaper editor. She likes thunderous indie rock, garish socks and all things nerd. Sabaa currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.

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