Calling all YA Fantasy fans! An Ember In the Ashes is a book that you are DEFINITELY going to want to get your hands on this summer! In fact, this may just be my favourite YA Fantasy of the year (so far)!
The story alternates perspectives between Laia and Elias. Laia is a Scholar, a member of a society that was long ago conquered and enslaved by the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested and imprisoned for treason, Laia will do anything to rescue him from a certain death. In exchange for help from a group of rebels known as the Resistance, Laia is sent to spy and gather information within the Empire’s greatest military academy, where lethal warriors known as Masks are trained to kill.
Elias, on the other hand, is one of the best students the Empire has ever seen. Strong, smart, and lethal with a blade, Elias is the image of a perfect Mask. What neither Laia nor Elias realize, however, is that their fates are intertwined, and they will need to depend on each other in order to get what they really want.
Unlike most YA Fantasy, I actually wasn’t entirely sure what direction this plot was going to take! I always like when a book has elements of intrigue, and it kept me on my toes throughout the story! Even the love plot is fairly unpredictable. While it’s fairly obvious that Elias and Laia may eventually fall in love with each other, for the moment neither one of them is really all that interested in the other, which is a refreshing change compared to the usual YA insta-love plots.
Another thing I really enjoyed about An Ember In the Ashes was the narration. Sabaa Tahir’s decision to narrate the story through the alternating perspectives of Laia and Elias not only helps to move the plot along, it also helps to develop their characters as individuals.
This dual perspective was even more appreciated given the fact that I listened to An Ember In the Ashes as an audiobook! I loved that there was a female narrator for Laia’s chapters, and a male narrator for Elias’s chapters. This really helped to make the story and characters feel more real! My only wish is that the two narrators had done the parts of Elias and Laia in each other’s chapters as well. It was weird hearing the female narrator doing Elias’s voice after having just heard the male narrator reading from Elias’s perspective the chapter before. All in all though it was beautifully narrated, and I loved every minute I spent listening to it!
Long story short, An Ember in the Ashes is a fast-paced and gripping Fantasy that will captivate and amaze you! Don’t have much time for reading this summer? Then grab the audiobook! The narration is so well done that it makes the book come alive just from listening to it!