Book Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir


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.

arrows★★★★★(5 stars)

arrowsLaia has been a free person until one day, her brother is arrested for treason. Wanting to bring her brother back, she seeks aid with the Resistance. But everything comes with a price.

Elias was finest solder but the most unwilling. When his plan to escape Blackcliff on the night of his graduation falters, he must decide what is best in order to obtain his true freedom.

As the two of them meet, their destinies intertwined, the two must survive the cruelty of the world and change the empire forever.


  • The writing style is very direct to its point. It is not your typical fantasy dystopian novel where words are flowery and full of metaphor. It is straight to the point but still, very entertaining to read.

  • The characters are very relatable. From their back stories to their personalities, the leads are very realistic. They have flaws, yes, but despite those, the readers can see how progressive their character grows to the point where you can sympathize with them and understand their person more.
  • The unique perspective on the romantic side of the story. It is very rare for a novel to have an unclear view on who will end up with who. There is no fixed OTP that I ended up being happy on whoever the main leads will choose.

  • Ancient Rome as a backdrop. It is said that the setting of the story is inspired with the likes of ancient Rome. I am so intrigued and pleased when I saw the semblance in Blackcliff’s interior to the Roman Empire. I am so in love with the Greco-Roman architecture and its history that making it a part of the story is a very big bonus. I hope everyone will enjoy this part too. (smiles)

Thank you so much guys for visiting my blog. I hope you enjoyed reading my post.

Till my next review!

Hero smells like some kind of tree


4 thoughts on “Book Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

  1. Poulami @ Daydreaming Books says:

    I’m so glad you loved this one, I already have this book collecting dust on my shelf, I hope to pick this book up soon, especially after reading your review! Loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

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