This book is brutal… but SO worth the read!
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, thez 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. –goodread.com summary
After finishing Empire of Storms, I found myself craving some more fast-paced fantasy! I checked what was on my shelf and found An Ember in the Ashes from a year or two ago that I had never read. After remembering the good things I had heard about it, I decided to give it a shot! And I’m glad I did!
Laia: THE LOYALTY! I love how she wasn’t automatically some great fearless heroine, but SHE ACTUALLY FELT FEAR. She felt conflicted and bad about leaving her brother (even if that was the only logical decision), this made her character actually feel REAL! I can RELATE to her fear and uncertainty because I would feel the same in her situation. The difference between me and her is that I wouldn’t have had the bravery to do what she did in an attempt to save her brother (but that just makes her even better)
Elias: I love the internal struggle of him challenging everything he was brought up believing, it really shows the influence one’s early upbringing and surroundings can have on a person since his early years away from the cruelty of people like his mother gave him his current outlook on life.
Helene: I fell in love with her IMMEDIATELY! Throughout An Ember in the Ashes I found myself wishing she had a POV so I was CRAZY EXCITED to hear that she has a POV in book 2! She can be frustrating but it’s not her fault. She is an example of someone who has grown up in this society and doesn’t understand why anyone would question things. I hope she opens up to Elias’s view on the empire and maybe start questioning things more.
Marcus: PIECE OF HUMAN GARBAGE! BURN IT WITH FIRE THEN THROW IT OFF A CLIFF
INTENSE! I totally understand if people are put off from reading this due to more sensitive topics. It gets intense and doesn’t hold any punches, but constant feeling of fear and unease makes you root for the Laia more!
Keenan: I’ve got mixed feelings on him. Out of him and Elias, I like him more with Laia. I feel like they have more to talk about and bond over. But PLLEEEAAASSSSEEE NO MORE LOVE TRIANGLE 🙂
Romance: The romance in no way ruined the book but it felt very unnecessary and forced in an otherwise harsh and realistic novel. It felt as if it was there because every other book has a love triangle so we need a love triangle. I just didn’t care.
An Ember in the Ashes was such a great and intense read that left me always wanting to know more! I never wanted to put it down due to the amazingly complex characters and heart attack inducing plot. Everyone should give this one a chance!
Helene: OMG please protect this precious child… I guess she doesn’t need to be protected she can hold her own but I still worry for her. Please don’t hurt this child. Also hope she comes around to see Elias’s view on things. I really want them to stay friends— I love their friendship.
Elias and Laia: I’m happy they didn’t die, happy they’re free, hope they stay okay. Want to see their friendship grow but, once again, NO MORE LOVE TRIANGLE PLEEEAASSSEEE! 🙂
Marcus: evil piece of trash but fantasy novels need a strong villain and I think he fills that role well! I’m curious to see what the author does with his character in book 2.
The Resistance: I never fully trusted them like Laia did— I figured they were up to something.