Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $4.64 shipping
An Ember in the Ashes Hardcover – April 28, 2015
|New from||Used from|
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
An Amazon Best Book of May 2015: If the test of a good novel is how badly you want to drop everything to finish it, then Sabaa Tahir’s debut An Ember in the Ashes gets an A+. The world she creates is rich in fantasy, coupled with echoes of a historical saga, all vividly rendered on the page. Tyrannical leaders and a building rebellion set the stage for dual narrators, Elias, one of the elite, trained from a young age to become a skilled assassin for the Commandant at Blackcliff Military Academy, and Laia, one of the oppressed, forced into the role of spy and saboteur in order to save her only remaining family member. Though diametrically opposed within their society, both Laia and Elias are wracked by internal conflict and driven to great lengths by shame and a desire to escape the bonds of their present lives. A complex relationship between them ensues, and while there is a romantic thread to the story, it is ancillary to the larger forces of political power, crippling deceit, and an undistinguished hope that endures in even the darkest corners of their brutal world. Potent action and liquid language whisk the chapters along all too quickly and while this has not been released as part of a series (yet), there can only be great things in store for author Sabaa Tahir, her Martial Empire, and her readers. -- Seira Wilson
Named one of the best books of the year by:
Barnes & Noble
The Wall Street Journal
The New York Public Library
“This novel is a harrowing, haunting reminder of what it means to be human—and how hope might be kindled in the midst of oppression and fear.” —The Washington Post
“[An Ember in the Ashes] thrusts its readers into a world marred by violence and oppression, yet does so with simple prose that can offer moments of loveliness in its clarity. This complexity makes Ember a worthy novel—and one as brave as its characters.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Sabaa Tahir spins a captivating, heart-pounding fantasy.” —Us Weekly
“An Ember in the Ashes mixes The Hunger Games with Game of Thrones...and adds a dash of Romeo and Juliet.” —The Hollywood Reporter
“Blew me away...This book is dark, complex, vivid, and romantic—expect to be completely transported.” —MTV.com
“Fast-paced, well-structured and full of twists and turns, An Ember in the Ashes is an evocative debut that has left me invested in knowing what happens next.” —NPR
“Once you get caught up in the story, it’s addictive, and there’s no way you can put it down before you figure out what happens to the characters you have fallen for over the course of the 400 some-odd pages. So I didn’t.” —Bustle
“One thing I can say for sure: this is a page-turner. There comes a moment when it's impossible to put it down. Sabaa Tahir is a strong writer, but most of all, she's a great storyteller.” —The Huffington Post
“This epic fantasy set in the Martial Empire has it all: danger and violence, secrets and lies, strong characters and forbidden romance and a touch of the supernatural.” —The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“A setting inspired by ancient Rome; a fierce battle for freedom in the face of tyranny; and a villain who makes Cersei Lannister and Dolores Umbridge look like a pair of pathetic amateurs...An Ember in the Ashes is at the top of our must-read list for 2015.” —MTV.com
“Be prepared to be blown away by this fantasy-thriller-adventure.” —Girls’ Life
“An Ember in the Ashes is a book that's too good to put down.” —RedEye
“Perfect for fans of Maggie Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races or Sarah Maas's Throne of Glass series…The book is already set to be a film, which will be EPIC!” —TeenVogue.com
* “Tahir’s deft, polished debut alternates between two very different perspectives on the same brutal world, deepening both in the contrast. In a tale brimming with political intrigue and haunted by supernatural forces, the true tension comes from watching Elias and Laia struggle to decide where their loyalties lie.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Tahir’s world-building is wonderfully detailed and the setting is an unusual one for fantasy novels. All of her characters, even minor ones, are fully realized....For fans of Game of Thrones and of Melina Marchetta’s Finnikin of the Rock.” —School Library Journal
“An original, well-constructed fantasy world...truly engaging.” —Kirkus Reviews
“An epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told.” —Hypable.com
“First-time novelist Tahir has written an ambitious sword-and-sand adventure story that is notable for its suspense and scope.” —Booklist
“Here's one of the year's most anticipated young-adult debuts.” —io9.com
“I was so engrossed with this book that I missed a connecting flight. If that doesn’t convince you to read An Ember in the Ashes, I don’t know what will. An explosive, heartbreaking, epic debut that will keep you glued to the pages. I hope the world’s ready for Sabaa Tahir.” —Marie Lu, New York Times bestselling author of Legend
“With An Ember in the Ashes, Sabaa Tahir shows us light in the darkness, hope in a world of despair, and the human spirit reaching for greatness in difficult times.” —#1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson
“An Ember in the Ashes is a spectacular page turner that asks readers to consider how far they’d go to save the ones they love. Sabaa Tahir is the next superstar in young adult fiction and her debut is as cinematic as Gladiator and as high-stakes as Game of Thrones.”—Holly Goldberg Sloan, New York Times bestselling author of Counting by 7s
“A heart-pounding story of love and loss, with the most original world-building I’ve read all year. Deeply felt and deeply moving, I could not put it down.” —Margaret Stohl, New York Times bestselling co-author of Beautiful Creatures
“This electric debut is a pulse-pounding action-packed Romeo and Juliet story in a richly imagined world with a great twist and heroic characters you’ll root for and won’t stop thinking about.” —Melissa de la Cruz, New York Times bestselling author of Frozen and The Ring and the Crown
Top customer reviews
I did have a bit of trouble getting into the very beginning because Laia was suffering from a “too stupid to live” complex and was just a little too whiny. She did get better as the story went on. I think my favorite character was Elias and his principles he tries to stick to even when in a no win situation. Helene grates a little bit... Our bad guys are suitably bad and satisfactorily unlikable.
Over all, I was entertained and will keep reading the series.
- Great pacing, beginning to end. I couldn't put it down.
- Absolutely stellar world building. Layer upon layer of definition and character.
- I love the use of multiple races in characters, especially as leads. Unfortunately not seen enough in YA.
- Some books have tried alternating perspectives to mixed success - this one does it extremely well; juxtaposition of Laia's and Elias's separate story lines lends it a depth difficult to replicate via a traditional, single viewpoint
- Intersperses fantastical elements so they embellish the story and tone rather than define it. The Augurs are at once creepy, surprising and strangely inspiring.
- Exceptionally well written - can't say enough about the quality of the prose because it really helps the story shine
- Juggles the multiple lead characters and primary relationships/love stories quite well - in spite of the pace the arcs are very clear and given room to breathe
- Well developed secondary characters - several very likable ones and with the general foreboding throughout the book the reader is challenged to keep up hope. This is a very difficult trick and I applaud the writer for creating such complex characters in limited space.
- Main villain is wicked - genuine, unapologetic evil that stacks up against the better antagonists in other YA. Yet there's much more to her and I have a feeling we've just scratched the surface of her full story.
- Has a undercurrent of dread from start to finish - I just kept waiting for the other shoe to drop and probably went through 6 or 7 pairs
- No YA is completely original and certainly this has elements of other stories but in general it is quite unique
- World presented seems like the tip of the iceberg - really want to see more
- Quite brutal and violent - maybe not a con to some since it seems to be acceptable in most YA but worth noting
Laia has grown up hating the Masks. She watches as they come arrest her brother Darin and murder her grandparents. In order to get her brother back, she joins the resistance as a spy and infiltrates Blackcliff (the school that trains Masks). As a slave in Blackcliff, Laia is aware of the cruel treatment she will receive and yet she does not hesitate in her decision if it means saving her brother. I loved this about Laia- her unwavering loyalty to her brother even if she is aware sneaking into Blackcliff could kill her.
Elias is a Mask in training at Blackcliff. He has doubts about becoming a Mask and does not agree with their cruel ways. Early on, he has thoughts about deserting even though it would mean a death sentence if caught. This is further complicated by his best friend Helene. Helene was such an interesting character! Despite Elias having his doubts against Blackcliff, Helene is completely indoctrinated and loves the idea of becoming a Mask. Although you can hardly blame her for following the ideas and values she has been taught her entire life. Helene and Elias’s relationship is complicated- they are very close, but their fundamentally different beliefs make things difficult.
I really enjoyed the alternating viewpoints between Elias and Laia, it helps the reader sympathize with both sides of the conflict. I also liked the way Tahir handled Elias and Laia’s growing relationship. It was very realistic considering they were on different sides.
I didn’t enjoy Keenan as a character, I felt like he was kind of a forced love interest for Laia and wasn’t necessary to the plot of the story. If you took out all of his scenes, the story would have flowed fine without him.
And finally, that ENDING! I was happy to see that a sequel will be released very soon (August 30th!) and I can’t wait to read it!:) Definitely recommend An Ember in the Ashes- it was a great read.