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.
This book. This book seriously played me and my emotions. Mercilessly.
“The field of battle is my temple. The swordpoint is my priest. The dance of death is my prayer. The killing blow is my release.”
This story isn’t fluffy. Everything is real—the world, the characters, the goddamn world-building! Everything! The narration of this book had such a strong feel to it, and the events and the way the story unfolded was magnificent. IT’S BEAUTIFUL!
Since this story is told between the dual points of view between Elias and Laia, I wasn’t expecting a lot from a certain point of view and then I was proven wrong. :D Elias was a character that was strong, or stronger than Laia, in the beginning. But then later on in the book, he turned into such an amazing character who realized his goals and purpose in the story!
“I'd rather die than live with no mercy, no honor, no soul.”
Laia was kind of hard to read about in the story, because whereas Elias is a trained and ready soldier, Laia was more of a shy, timid girl who was literally just thrown into the fires after she’s discovered a world she hasn’t really ever known. There were times where I was so scared for Laia that my stomach was hurting for her. But, I later on learned that I never needed to be scared for Laia because she became so brave—she developed wonderfully.
“Once, I'd have wanted that. I'd have wanted someone to tell me what to do, to fix everything. Once, I'd have wanted to be saved.”
I feel like as a team, Elias and Laia helped bring out one another’s strengths, and there were many times where I felt as if they could help each other in any situation! :D
“There are two kinds of guilt,” I say softly. “The kind that’s a burden and the kind that gives you purpose. Let your guilt be your fuel. Let it remind you of who you want to be. Draw a line in your mind. Never cross it again. You have a soul. It’s damaged, but it’s there. Don’t let them take it from you, Elias.”
This world is brutal, but I love this story too much to nitpick on those parts.
“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.”
“You are full, Laia. Full of life and dark and strength and spirit. You are in our dreams. You will burn, for you are an ember in the ashes.”
MY EMBERS! *cries in happiness*
Overall, An Ember in the Ashes is probably one of my favorite books I have read this year! It has the characters and the world that is amazing! I fell in love with the story around a couple of chapters in and I couldn’t put it down after! :D I would recommend this to fans of Fantasy, but if you don’t like dark themes and references to . . . molestation then you may want to be wary of this.
Thanks for reading my review guys! Hope you all have a great day! Until the next one! (I’m giddy from this book, still)