BOOK REVIEW: An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1) by Sabaa Tahir

Okay, so, this is me doing a re-read before I receive my A TORCH AGAINST THE NIGHT ARC in the mail...which, as you can imagine, I am SLOWLY DYING INSIDE BECAUSE I AM SO FREAKIN' EXCITED. I hope you all will take a look at the book that made my life complete last year, centering around my wounded and tortured soul, Elias-the soldier who never wanted to be a part of the cruel society he's stuck in.

BOOK REVIEW: An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1) by Sabaa TahirAn Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1)
by Sabaa Tahir
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads






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.

  Duty first, unto death.

You can’t see me. I can’t see you. But let me just tell you what I’m doing. I’m silently screaming. I’m cursing myself for not reading this book sooner because I was nervous. I’m internally fangirling even though I finished this almost 24 hours ago. And most prominently? I am on my knees. I am bowing down to this author. And I am eternally fucking grateful for this absolute masterpiece. If I could, I’d give it a gazillion stars.

Life is made of so many moments that mean nothing. Then one day, a single moment comes along to define every second that comes after.

Epic. Thrilling. Brutal. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t sit still. This story was so gripping, so addicting, so mesmerizing that I was a prisoner held under it’s intoxicating spell. It hooked me with it’s razor sharp claws, bleeding me out like a stuck pig. It clawed all my sanity away until I was a raging lunatic…  photo giphy 32_zps0vjezxfs.gif

And I didn’t want to be anywhere else but nuzzled up within these extremely deep and painfully appealing pages.

“Please,” I say. “It was a mistake.” She leans in close, her lips inches from mine, those dead eyes lit, for just a moment with terrifying fury. “Stupid girl,” she whispers. “Haven’t you learned? I don’t abide mistakes.”

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This review won’t be long. It won’t be coherent. It will obviously be in short, abrupt sentences. Have you ever read a book that was just sooooo perfect that you felt inadequate as you tried to write your review? That’s me. I just…I can’t find the words. I’m so rarely speechless-my reviews border on crazy, because they are so long it feels as if it takes twenty minutes to read them and eternities to write them. But here, now, in this moment where I could put my crazy to good use…I’m coming up blank and I just Do. Not. Know. What. To. Say.

“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 am determined, though, to at least say what was so utterly compelling about this story, to me. What made it shoot to an absolute favorite and kept my stomach perpetually churning. For once, the romance wasn’t what made the story for me. I loved it, yes, but it was so much more than that. It was about family and friendship, love and loss, war and betrayal…making decisions that no one at their age should have to. It touched deeply on the subjects no one dare go, yet the author made them so appealing that you couldn’t look away. There was beauty in it’s depravity, almost like a gorgeously woven spider web, crafted to capture and constrict it’s prey. Even now I am breathless as I reminisce about what happened and what all our main characters had to go through.

Death supplants everything. Friendship, love, loyalty. The good memories I have of these men-of helpless laughter, of bets won and pranks hatched-they are stolen away. All I can remember are the worst things, the darkest things.

And here we are, right at the core of the story where all the addiction comes into play: The characters. You name ‘em, I likely loved ‘em. From the villains to the main leads, I adored them all-but for very different reasons. It’s no secret that I admire the main male lead and his counterpart in almost every book-sue me, I like boys-and even as I was a fucking psycho fangirl for our beautiful Elias, I could actually, for once, see past just him.

Sometimes, I talk to those I’ve killed. In my head, I hear them whisper back-not accusations, but their hopes, their wants. I wish they would curse me instead. It’s worse, somehow, to hear all that would have been had I not killed them.

There was Helene, his best, most cherished friend. Dear God I loved her and their friendship. It struck a chord deep within me and I shipped them so hard. The tears, heartache, and struggle was real. I wouldn’t care if they ended up together-hey, it is what it is-she rocks (Even though I want him with Laia Lalalalala). There was Dex, there was Zak, there was Markus, Cook, Izzi, there were so many more that surrounded our leads and I never disliked any of them-They only added to the story, whereas normally I’m like ‘Shoo! Be gone!’ But not once did I feel this way. All of their turmoil and struggles gripped my heart like a vice, and I was captured in their snare.

Monster, murderer, devil. Dark, vile creature. I hate you. I hate you.

And I’m sorry, I just have to-Elias gave tormented and tortured a new name. He was the face of what it feels like to be unloved, cast aside, despised…with only his platoon and his best friend, Helene, beside him. His voice is very powerful, drawing you in immediately, curious to learn more about his story and what has driven him to such misery. I am not going to lie: There is a whole lot of fangirl being held back right now, and it’s really costing me something. But just know-He is perfect. He is loyal. He would do anything for the greater good even as he is facing the most disgusting trials known to man. He is good. He is kind. And he is stuck in a world where he feels he doesn’t belong-he is a leaf in the wind, and all he craves, what he’d sell his very life for, is freedom….freedom of body, mind, and soul. My heart aches for him even now. And I was an absolute mess as I went through each and every new phase with him….I don’t think I could breathe past chapter two when we first meet him.

I’ve never seen her before, because if I had, I’d remember. Despite the heavy silver cuffs and high, painful-looking bun that mark all of Blackcliff’s drudges, nothing about her says slave. Her black dress fits her like a glove, sliding over every curve in a way that makes more than one head turn. Her full lips and fine, straight nose would be the envy of most girls, Scholar or not. I stare at her, realize I’m staring, tell myself to stop staring, and then keep staring. My breath falters, and my body, traitor that it is, tugs me forward until there are only inches between us.

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(I realize I broke the Suicide Squad theme, but come onnnn, how perfect is this??)

And boy oh boy, Elias and Laia are the epitome of Star Crossed Lovers. Whoops…did I reference my blog in comparison to the book? Yeah, well, this is why I read, people. This story, this beautifully constructed forbidden romance, it’s what my favorite books are made of. I will touch lightly on this and then I will move on: THERE IS NO LOVE TRIANGLE, SQUARE, PENTAGON-there is nothing. There is lust. There is attraction. There is curiosity and exploration…but nothing is stronger than a life long friendship forged from cruelty. The main story is about Laia and Elias, and it never once implies otherwise. I wanted to make that clear. And, on top of all that, this story doesn’t center around the romance…but leaves you gasping for more.

“I don’t know what happened to you,” I say. “I don’t know who my father was or why you hate him so much. But I know my death won’t free you. It won’t give you peace. View Spoiler » Because I’d rather die than become like you. I’d rather die than live with no mercy, no honor, no soul.”

Barbaric, depraved, devastating. Artfully crafted, deserving every bit of the hype, and almost understated in it’s severity. It made me crazy, it stole every bit of spare time I had even when I should have been doing something else, and it’s all I could think about when I wasn’t able to be reading it. I wish for more words to express my utter, undying love for this story, but they aren’t coming to me. I want to say more and I want to leave it as it is. Like I said, it’s making me crazy I can’t say more, but this is where it ends. I loved it. I devoured it. I needed it like oxygen, gulping it in deep, greedy breaths. I need book two….but now I wait. But, for once, it will be worth it. It’s totally worth the wait. Elias…..until we meet again, soldier.

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Buddy read with my favorite chicks ever: Anna, Harriet, and Jenny! ♥

We’re coming for you, book!

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  1. Kim

    Awesome review! I just finished this also and I think it’s one of my favorite books so far this year. I can’t wait for the sequel!
    Kim recently posted…The Watchmaker of Filigree Street ~ by Natasha Pulley – 3.5 StarsMy Profile

    • Chelsea (Peril Please)

      Thank you soooo much!! I ADORED THIS ONE! Yeah, this went straight to my all-time favorites! ELIAS AGHH!!!

      And yes, ugh, I need the sequel STAT

  2. AngelErin

    Yey!! I’m glad you loved this one!! I really liked it too. I can’t wait to read the second one. 😀 😀
    AngelErin recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday- Top Ten Books I Want To Buy RIGHT NOW!My Profile

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