So I finally finished An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir and I LOVED IT!! I usually don’t read dystopian books because I feel like it has been played out in the YA community. However, this book changed my mind. It almost reminded me of Divergent when mixed with Game of Thrones (if you’ve read it, you’ll know what I mean).
One thing I loved most about this book was the abundance of diversity Sabaa Tahir created. The one thing YA books lack across the board is diversity. Well, at least the insanely popular ones that clog your Instagram/Tumblr/Pinterest feeds. There were only two characters that I specifically remember being described as pale: Helene and the Commandant. Personally, I imagined everyone else as either brown or black, so I can really only speak for myself on this one. It all depends on how you read it and how the characters are described, but I enjoyed the diverse cast that Tahir brought to life.
Another aspect of An Ember in the Ashes that I thought was refreshing was Laia’s reactions to the dangerous situations she faces throughout the book. She is scared, she is cowardly, and she regrets. She is not fearless. Many characters in YA novels experience hardships that a person at their age would normally be traumatized by, yet they take it in stride and continue to save their world. Laia mourns her grandparents and her parents. She is fearful of her brother’s fate. Heck, she’s even scared about her possible relationship with Keenan! She’s wary and somewhat cowardly which makes her more realistic and relatable in the long run. Tahir proved through Laia that you don’t have to be fierce to fight for what is right.
The brutality in this novel rivaled Game of Thrones. Of course there’s no Ramsay Bolton flaying people, but the fight scenes and casualties were ferocious. (Spoilers ahead… you’ve been warned) When Elias and Helene were forced to battle each other in the Third Trial I was close to tears. As Elias was slaying his friends I was hoping for some kind of Breaking Dawn Part 2 relief, but it never came. It wasn’t a vision and he really killed his friends. My heart was ripped from my chest and shredded to bits by Sabaa Tahir, and I’m excited yet scared to see how A Torch Against the Night plays out.
I apologize for the long wait. I am a college student, so I have to focus on my schoolwork first so that I can actually graduate and publish! A review of Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake is coming soon… most likely by Sunday night so stay tuned.
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