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An Ember in the Ashes (2015)

af Sabaa Tahir

Andre forfattere: Jonathan Roberts (Cartographer)

Andre forfattere: Se andre forfattere sektionen.

Serier: An Ember in the Ashes (1)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
5,0912152,145 (4.05)73
"Laia is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire's greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution"--… (mere)
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Engelsk (208)  Hollandsk (1)  Italiensk (1)  Tysk (1)  Alle sprog (211)
Viser 1-5 af 211 (næste | vis alle)
So I thought a good way to start out 2016 would be to start reviewing books I really loved, not just ones I hated. For whatever reason I find it easier reviewing things that I hate rather than things I love. Go figure. Let's change that.

I’ll admit: what primarily drew me to read An Ember in the Ashes was all the hype that’s surrounding it right now. A key thing that struck me which people were saying about the book, was its similarity to A Game of Thrones. Now that I’ve read it… I’d say that description is not totally accurate. There are similarities, but An Ember in the Ashes ends up being its own thing, in a good way. What I didn’t realize before I read it, was that it’s actually a young adult novel. But it also stands apart from most books in that category as well.

Like A Game of Thrones, An Ember in the Ashes is set in a mostly-realistic medieval world, with some magic and supernatural aspects thrown in (but not taking the forefront of) the story. Other than that, they feel very different from each other. The world of An Ember in the Ashes has a feel that reminded me distinctly of ancient Rome. The story takes place in a city which used to be ruled by the “Scholars” – a people who focused their lives on the pursuit of knowledge. Many years ago, the Scholars were overrun by the Empire, a militant people who dedicate their lives to war and conquest. The action takes place many years after the Empire conquered the Scholars. The Empire has subjugated the Scholar people, to the point where many of them are now illiterate and uneducated; by reading or learning to write, the Scholars will be committing a crime. Moreover, the Empire uses many of the Scholars as their slaves. Two different perspectives tell the story: Laia, a young Scholar girl who has experienced the Empire’s cruelty her entire life; and Elias, a young man who is in training to become part of the Empire’s most skilled set of warriors. Tragedy strikes in Laia’s life, and slowly her path converges with Elias’s, and each find themselves dramatically changing the other’s destiny.

There were many things about the novel which I really liked. For instance, despite being a young adult novel, Sabaa Tahir manages to touch on a lot of dark subjects without being overtly graphic. Such subjects include slavery, rape, torture, sacrifice for those one loves, hope in the face of despair, and, (to a lesser extent), racism and sexism. Tahir builds in the reader an incredible feeling of suspense and fear for the outcome of the characters. In certain parts of the books, I had genuine feelings of distress for my favorite characters, as well as genuine anger towards some of the book’s more evil characters.

Tahir is also great at character development. If there’s any other way to compare her to GRRM, that would be it. She makes you care for the good characters, and really hate the bad ones. But at the same time, her characters are not two-dimensional: the ones that are supposed to be good have deep flaws, while the ones who are bad have layers to them that make you question how much you should hate them. Laia especially struck me a unique example of a young adult heroine. She is by no means a perfect heroine. Throughout the story, she struggles with the idea that she is a coward because she could not stand up against the assassins who killed her family and imprisoned her brother, Darin. It takes most of the novel for Laia to discover that she can be brave, that she can be a hero. Which, to me, seems more realistic than an inexperienced teenage girl starting out the novel as a complete badass, or immediately being able to catch on to the skills she needs to accomplish something, or save someone (I’m looking at you Tris… Katniss…). Moreover, Laia really has to struggle to survive, there is no easy path for her to accomplish what she needs. Most of the novel is her trying to survive, while at the end things finally pull together in a way that made me want to cheer.
In addition to good character development, Tahir also manages to steer the romantic aspect away from the obvious; there wasn’t the overt love triangle that is so present in many young adult novels. While Elias and Laia do fall for each other towards the end of the story, they both have separate people in their life who they find themselves attracted to. Laia finds herself torn between Elias and Keenan – a member of the Scholar resistance. Like Laia, Elias, is diverging from the path that his destiny seems to dictate. However, Keenan has intimate knowledge of the suffering and loss that Laia experiences, because he too has experienced it. As for Elias, it’s between Laia and Helene. He’s attracted to the freedom he sees in Laia, but also to Helene, who knows him and understands him because of the friendship they’ve had for life.

Another big thing that I want to just generally note about An Ember in the Ashes, is that Sabaa Tahir is a really, really excellent writer. She is very eloquent and descriptive. Not only can she set a mood, but she can really make you feel present in the setting – she describes sounds, smells, the way the light looks in the scene. I think she would be easily able to transition to writing novels with more "adult" themes, and do extremely well. Tahir ends An Ember in the Ashes with a pretty big bang, but also a pretty huge cliffhanger… which makes me extremely glad that the sequel is set to come out pretty soon. The book sets itself out as a unique beginning to a fantasy series. I (obviously) haven’t read the sequel yet, but it seems like a series worth sticking with. ( )
  escapinginpaper | May 18, 2024 |
Excellent start to a series. Will read the next book ( )
  corliss12000 | Mar 16, 2024 |
I could not get into this book. It was good, and very much like everything else I like, but for some reason it wasn't gripping and I didn't have a strong drive to finish it. It picked up near the end and I'll probably still finish the series, but it wasn't a must-read. ( )
  Linyarai | Mar 6, 2024 |
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
  rachelprice14 | Dec 16, 2023 |
Not really a review but more so some rambling thoughts

-Easy to read. I breezed through pages like it was nothing. I looked up and half the book was already read.

-The different people, the scholars, martials, masks, and so… the racial makeup was hard to get a grasp on. I think scholars are pale, lighter-skinned and martials are generally darker, whether in skin or hair color. But some people are blonde, redhead, dark-haired and so on. Maybe it’s more of a cultural thing than a general look because every character’s looks ran the gamut.

-Marcus was horrid. Like a hyena laughing at brutality, grossness, and violence. I don’t think he had any redeeming value. It’s unfortunate placement the first line about him refers to his darker skin, then him being called ugly.

-I’m not sure why only one girl is allowed each year, and in a school of boys raised to be brutish and barbaric.

-Things are cruel at the academy for everyone, the students and, especially, the enslaved. The threat of being raped is a very real, ever-present thing here for the female characters and slaves. In addition, the carnage rises high and children are not spared. There’s a constant sense of peril, which runs throughout the story.

-I’m ambivalent about the Helene-Elias stuff. I didn’t really care for the romance aspect in general, but the strain it put on their friendship was interesting to watch. I wonder why Helene is SO loyal to him. She’s is staking life decisions on one dude.

- I loved the Cook, the real MVP! Also, Laia has some good character development.

- hormones are all powerful. Characters close to death and being actively tortured in ENSLAVEMENT, but got time for their hearts to go doki doki. Well, okay, even during tragedy, people fall in love.

- I'm ready for the Commandment to get rocked.

I guess the real friends we made were the sexism and battle weaponry we met along the way.

In all seriousness, I’ll read book two. I want to see where this goes.
( )
  DestDest | Nov 26, 2023 |
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» Tilføj andre forfattere (2 mulige)

Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
Sabaa Tahirprimær forfatteralle udgaverberegnet
Roberts, JonathanCartographermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Art MachineOmslagsfotograf/tegner/...medforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Hani, MohamadFotografmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Hardingham, FionaFortællermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Osborne, EmilyOmslagsdesignermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet

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"Laia is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire's greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution"--

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