young adult • fantasy • romance
“You are in our dreams. You will burn, for you are an ember in the ashes. That is your destiny.”
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.
“You are an ember in the ashes, Elias Veturius. You will spark and burn, ravage and destroy. You cannot change it. You cannot stop it.”
I always believed that books are portal to a magical world and a window to an adventurous vacation. The best books are not the one that kept you peeking through a hole but simply connecting you in a certain ways leading to the story itself. I found An Ember In The Ashes was just marvelously well written. There wasn’t a single page in the book that didn’t come to life. I literally felt like I was inside the book, living in the ‘Romanian Empire’-ish fantasy.
The story was told in two perspective. Laia and Elias. Laia was a scared meek slave Scholar who will do anything to save her brother. I wasn’t usually a fan since sometimes this type of character was too disturbing to a fast paced story. But how her character was developed in this story wasn’t done too over the top. The way she pulled everything together in front of the Commandant and the Resistance was thing that made me forget about all those badass heroine hype. Every scene about Laia was too often taking entire air out of me since most of them were breaking the Commandant’s rules.
And then the second POV is from Elias, a Martial’s Mask yearning to be free from rules and bloods. Free from the Empire. He was a very complex character, the way he carried himself outside was just nothing like how broken he was really inside.
Beside them there were also two additional characters which is Helene and Keenan. I found Helene is probably the only character with the possiblity being a main heroine in another series. Her character was even more complex than Elias. Torned between loyalty and love., Empire and bestfriend. Her secret. . She reminded me of Dorian from Throne of Glass a lot. And don’t forget the Commandant. What is she? She such a complete sociapath bitch. I really thought she was hiding her true feelings in front of her son but that jail scene proved everything. No good word to describe her.
This book was very good that the fact that it was a Love Square (is that how they called it?) doesn’t bother me. The story was really focusing on the main plot that the love development was just barely touched here and there leaving us the impression that the characters were not making choices soon enough. Of course they didn’t, that was one of the strong points of this book, there were so much going on in the Empire to choose a lover. Romance, go to the backseat!
“When the fear takes over, use the only thing more powerful, more indestructible, to fight it: your spirit. Your heart.”
This book was just soooo reaaaally goooood that I don’t even know what else to say than GO READ IT! I do hope that the second installment will going to be exist anytime soon since there were so many question with the almost everything, and that ending.. duh! I’m dying for a sequel.