Author: Sabaa Tahir (Page 2 of 2)

BOOK REVIEW: A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2) by Sabaa Tahir

BOOK REVIEW: A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2) by Sabaa TahirA Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2)
by Sabaa Tahir
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads


A Torch Against the Night takes readers into the heart of the Empire as Laia and Elias fight their way north to liberate Laia’s brother from the horrors of Kauf Prison. Hunted by Empire soldiers, manipulated by the Commandant, and haunted by their pasts, Laia and Elias must outfox their enemies and confront the treacherousness of their own hearts.

In the city of Serra, Helene Aquilla finds herself bound to the will of the Empire’s twisted new leader, Marcus. When her loyalty is questioned, Helene finds herself taking on a mission to prove herself—a mission that might destroy her, instead.

…“We should talk about it.”

Oh skies. “Talk about what?”
“Whatever it is that’s bothering you. I can take a guess, but it might be better if you tell me.”
“You want to talk now? After weeks of not even looking at me?”
“I look at you.” His response is swift, his voice low. “Even when I shouldn’t.”

 photo tumblr_na0bvzLguI1r3tsmdo1_500_zpsaqxdmfzx.gif

So…this might be the hardest review I’ll ever have to write. It’s never easy when something lets you down so harshly that you actually want to throw the book across the room. Even harder is when, surrounding those two or three moments that wreck your whole reading experience, everything you could ever ask for is happening. So why the low rating on a series that I never thought I’d ever be able to rate below a 5? Honestly, it’s simple: A couple of my biggest pet peeves happened…and even though I told myself it didn’t bother me afterwards when things were ‘rectified’, days after I find these events still haunt me and were so out of character that I can’t be bothered to give back that fourth star.

“She told me I hurt people,” I blurt out as we huddle together. “I let them get hurt.”
“Who told you that?”
“I’m going to hurt you,” I say. “I hurt everyone.”

 photo tumblr_inline_nijgsayrIf1rihdbf_zps34wfo1yc.gif

I feel it necessary to say up front that, for those of you who worship-adore-admire-obsess-LOVE Elias, he never ONCE breaks character. He is still the most self-sacrificing, amazing, beautiful, tortured guy that we met in book one, and I truly thought this book was off to an epic start. There wasn’t a moment I didn’t clutch my heart and sigh when he was on the page. Not one single event did I feel disappointed by the boy who wanted more for himself than to be a slave of an empire forged by blood, violence, and brutality. He is still that man, and he honors every vow from book one…and he only has eyes for Laia (SERIOUSLY-I wouldn’t have thought this was huge, but boy was I wrong) even as he longs for the lost friendship of his dear life-long friend, Helene.

Right now, all I want is for that loneliness to fade-even if it’s for a moment. So I do what Darin used to when he wanted to cheer me up, and I make an absurd face.
Elias stares at me in surprise before cracking a grin that lights him up-and then he makes a ridiculous face of his own.

I LOATHE being misled. I do NOT like being led to believe that things are one way and then, in the next instant, we are thrown a totally opposite direction ‘just because’. I don’t buy that. I don’t accept that. I. Don’t. Like. BULLSHIT. So when I am fed complete and utter bullshit that shatters every wonderful thing the story has built up, you might say I get a little angry. In fact, you could say I was fucking furious. My number one pet peeve people…oh boy did it happen. And oh boy did it happen nonchalantly and out of left field.

“What about Elias? You’re always staring at him.”
“I am not-“
“Not that I blame you,” Afya continues as if I haven’t spoken, casting an appraising eye back at Elias. “Those cheekbones-skies.” My skin prickles, and I cross my arms, frowning.
“Ah.” Afya flashes her wolfish smile. “Possessive, are we?”

If any of you wanted to avoid a love triangle-whether this is legitimate in the end is beside the point-then perhaps you should pretend book one was a standalone as it was intended to be and give your heart a break. Not once did I lose faith in my dear Elias or Laia. I mean, for fuck’s sake they were traveling together 24/7 and making damn moony eyes at one another every fucking night. So when my least favorite bastard from book one showed up and ‘swept’ our Laia away with his beautiful mane of red hair *gag-seriously* and dark eyes, I was pretty confident his ass had no chance. *snorts* Yeah. Right.

 photo tumblr_n3p2trZwPB1r8lutfo1_500_zps0jy6urjv.gif

I’m not going to give anything away. I feel like that’s wrong and everyone needs to make their own decision. Because, frankly, if Penguin messaged right now and offered me a copy of book three (As they did for two (though this review is ruining any chance for that)) to read immediately, I wouldn’t hesitate. In fact, if I had to BUY book three, I’d do it. I adore Elias and these stories, despite the crow I ate, the bull shit I ingested-They are extremely well written, vivid, imaginative, and without a doubt some of the best story-telling I’ve ever had the opportunity to read. So no, I would NEVER stop reading about my Elias nor would I give up on his journey or his quest to make Laia happy. But it also doesn’t change the fact that I have a right to be upset, hurt, and disappointed by about 5% of this story. It broke my heart and I doubt I’ll ever get past it.

“Your emotions make you human,” Elias says. “Even the unpleasant ones have a purpose. Don’t lock them away. If you ignore them, they just get louder and angrier.”

 photo Prisoner-in-jail-cell-priso_zps7szuon4l.gif

Oh fuck it, here is PART of why I’m upset-perhaps THE WHOLE REASON I’m upset….who knows- (view spoiler) And that’s maybe 1/8 of the part and 1/8 of WHY the thing I mentioned is happening and I refuse to tell you the catalyst of my ire. Maybe when the book is released I will, but for now, I am staying mum.

Let him think he’s cowed me. Let him think he’s won. Soon, he’ll realize his mistake: He vowed to play fair.
But I didn’t.


So. Yeah. I’m fiercely protective of my BBFs, especially Elias. He holds a special place in my heart that hasn’t ceased since I met him last year. He is just everything I could ever ask for in a book guy. As for the rest of the characters, I really did still like them. I feel as though the lines are blurred at this point, though, because my heart is just still in shreds. I love the violence of Marcus, the cunning (and mercy) of Helene, the heart of Elias, the loyalty of Izzi and Cook, the poisonous personality of the Commandment, the determination of Laia (even though I’ve got my eye on her, now), and the passion of Dex and Farrus (notice I did NOT say Keenan-he was ALWAYS someone I was disinterested in). Nothing changed there. Nothing at all. I still love the beauty behind each character’s struggle and what they go through every day to become who they are. Add the story and you really did have a 4-5 star book.

Laia is curled in a ball on the other, one hand on her armlet, fast asleep.
“You are my temple,” I murmur as I kneel beside her. “You are my priest. You are my prayer. You are my release.” Grandfather would scowl at me for sullying his beloved mantra so. But I think I prefer it this way.

 photo tumblr_mf990dQY0U1rmdeaso1_250_zpss5ejhfjp.gif

But add in my personal issues (DAMN IT DAMN IT DAMN IT-right or wrong I give no fucks) and a new, hmm, otherworldly….umm…thing….and it isn’t without its flaws. I never cared about that until paired with those things that bothered me. And Laia’s new ‘ability’. It’s cool, but I don’t know how I feel about it. So, the otherworldly vibe on top of the new ability….it definitely made me a tad incredulous, despite how cool it might have been had I not been a pissy pink elephant.

 photo tumblr_inline_n7kygfC81f1qiq3at_zps3ofasojf.gif

I think if I had loved this and my heart hadn’t been broken I’d still keep going. But, as it is, I think I’ll stop. I both loved and hated this book, so I refuse to continue the negativity. See, look:

The first half- 5 stars
The event 1 star
The last 20% (maybe more, I forget when anger happened)-5 stars
Battles-5 stars
Brutality- 5 stars
Violence- 5 stars

See? SO much love…all tainted with that horrid taste in my mouth. I love desperation. I love torture and brutality and pushing away the person you might love to keep their heart safe, I love dystopian through and through, and this series is all of those things for me. So I am going to suck it up, love the fact that I was chosen to get this book before anyone else, cherish it and squeeze it and snuggle it and remember every amazing moment (with or without Elias (but mostly with)). I may have been disappointed at one point, but it doesn’t take away from all the love and enjoyment and giddiness I experienced throughout. I literally gasped out loud at some plot twists, laughed, cried, and got so angry I wanted to rip the book in half. In the end, I consider that a win…..even with the debacle. And yes, I mentioned that about a million times-that’s how mad I am that it tainted my enjoyment.

“Laia. The Scholar girl. Another ember waiting to burn the world down,” she says. “Will you hurt her, too?”


Alright so, I don’t know what to say. I am SO conflicted about this story. It didn’t even get close to holding a candle to book one, in my opinion, and while the first 50% was a 5 star, things happened that I find wholly unforgivable. So unforgivable, in fact, that I almost rated this a three. But, as it is-and always will be-I am so in love with Elias I can’t bear to give this a three because of some dumb bitch of an MC (okay I tried to sleep on it but clearly I’m not cooled off). I will always love Laia…but she hit my protective bitch BBF switch in the matter of an instant…and I can’t see past it.

As for the rest of the story-Very dark and without remorse (which I love). And it even was mostly a five. But sometimes things just don’t go as they should and have an adverse effect that isn’t what the author intended. In my particular case, it was revulsion. I don’t like eating crow…and I feel like I had to. So. There’s that.

Not a favorite, but I didn’t hate it either. I loved so many parts of this story, and I will always love Elias..but there are so many things I can’t overlook to make this a 5. Plus-So much traveling. Sigh.



So…yeah. This just happened.

 photo A Torch Against the Night_zpsz2ncga18.jpg

My life=Complete.


View all my reviews

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.”

 photo 55a425939e9755183d970928_suicide-squad-trailer-1_zpsqmmvvgg6.gif

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.

 photo Kg5xYwS_zpsdfygshpk.gif

(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.

 photo MargotBat.nocrop.w529.h235.2x_zpsokafhshe.gif            


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

We’re coming for you, book!

 photo tumblr_mdwcah226E1qzydh2o2_500_zpsjj2ihqfw.gif



Newer posts »

© 2024

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑