Series: An Ember in the Ashes #1
Publication: April 28th 2015 by Razorbill
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.
I really enjoyed this book. It was entertaining and action packed. I'm definitely going to be picking up the next book in the series.
One of the aspects of this book that i lived was watching the characters grow. It was wonderful to see them change as the story progressed.The two main characters Laia and Elias go through amazing character development and by the end of the novel they are stronger and braver version of themselves. They are more sure of who they are and I really appreciated their growth though the story,particularly Laia's.
The two narrators stories were woven together nicely with the characters having interaction with each other despite their different situations. While both point of views were engaging I found Elias more fun to read because his story had a lot more action than Laias.
The book is long but it didn't drag or get slow. Each chapter ends on a cliffhanger which left me wanting to keep reading. I flew through this book a a few hours.
It's hard without getting into spoilers, but, I don't think all the romances were necessary. There are two love triangles developing in the story and I don't think they add much to the plot or characters. The story could have been told without them. I think the main romance could have been developed more if the other characters in the triangles were just friends with the protagonists.
The world felt a bit underdeveloped. I don't have a very clear picture of it in my head but hopefully we will get to learn more about it in the next book.
I'm glad that there is going to be a second book. I did like the ended but it left a lot of questions unanswered.
4 stars. I really enjoyed this book. The characters were all interesting and the plot was engaging. It's a great start to a new YA series and I'm excited to see where it goes.