Book Club: An Ember In The Ashes

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Author: Sabaa Tahir
ISBN: 978-0-00-759327-9
RRP: $27.99

An Ember In The Ashes is a fantastic debut by Sabaa Tahir, one that has caught the attention of Paramount Pictures and is already optioned. It is brave, it is bold and it is not for the faint-hearted.

This book is something very different for our book club, I don’t think we have had a fantasy title, so I think this is very exciting and I will look forward to hearing what our readers have to say about it.

The story is told from two first person perspectives in alternating chapters, and Laia and Elias have two very different perspectives. Born to different peoples of the Empire they are sworn enemies but their destinies may just be intertwined.

The Martials conquered Scholar lands half a millenia ago and have kept the Scholars downtrodden ever since. Laia has lived with fear for most of her life, fear of the Empire and fear of the Martials. She lives with her grandparents and her brother, a simple existence helping Nan with cooking and jams for the traders and learning healing from Pop. Until the night they are raided and she is the only one left of her family.

Laia runs, hoping only to survive the night and find the Resistance.

Elias is a Martial just days away from graduating Blackcliff Academy as a Mask, one of the elite Empire soldiers. The problem is Elias doesn’t want to graduate, he doesn’t want to become a Mask and he certainly doesn’t want to become an Empire killing machine. He doesn’t agree with the Empire on most things and just wants to be free from the killing and the Empire rule. This might prove to be a little difficult for the heir of one of the Empire’s leading Martial families, and only son of the Commandant of Blackcliff Academy.

Laia finds the Resistance and is given a mission, one that no-one thought she could possibly succeed in, to spy on the Commandant of Blackcliff Academy. Her time as the personal slave of the Commandant gives a great insight into what life is like for Scholar slaves, especially those who come in contact with the ice-cold and ruthless Commandant.

an ember in the ashes

This story is rife with intrigue, conspiracies and betrayal; overshadowed only by the violence. It is easy to see why Elias would want to escape this life, though it takes time to discover why he feels so differently about the situation than all of his classmates.

Blackcliff Academy is the training ground of the Masks, 6 year old children are chosen and whisked off to the Academy and if they manage to survive through all that will be expected of them they will graduate and become Masks. It is no surprise to discover, after you find out what their schooling entails, that only about half of them will survive to graduate.

What fantasy would be complete without supernatural beings foretelling the future, and in this case it’s the Augurs. They foretell the future and can read minds. They are also really good at telling the major players what they need to hear to align the characters in the best way to get the outcome they want. Their role is definitely not to watch and not interfere, they are more than willing to step in where they see the need.

Tahir’s characters are vivid and breathtaking, they push their limits and go beyond what they thought themselves capable of to finally follow their own paths.

Laia runs in the first chapter and doesn’t seem like she will ever forgive herself. She spends every second trying to make up for that decision. She had to run, we can see it and I think over time she will come to see it too. She doesn’t recognise her strength and her courage and the unwavering code that she grows into.

Elias is an interesting character, both for his parentage and his feelings for the Empire. He is faced with some horrific choices and you are never quite sure how things are going to turn out. He is complex and troubled, willing to fight for what he believes in but refuses to become a killing machine for the Empire. He is one who will always be haunted by his choices.

Fantasy tales are generally stories of epic proportions, which seems reasonable when you think of all the work that goes into world building. Tahir’s world building is sound though I would have liked a bit more fleshing out of the other two peoples, perhaps that will come later on. An Ember In The Ashes begins on the cusp of a revolution and Tahir has written it well.

Tahir has written a compelling debut that had me hooked. I look forward to reading the sequel and would not be surprised to find that this becomes at least a trilogy.

20 of our lucky readers are going to be reading An Ember In The Ashes as well so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below. Personally, I can not wait to hear what they think.

An Ember In The Ashes is available now through HarperCollins, Bookworld, Angus and Robertson and where good books are sold.

You can find Sabaa Tahir on her Website, Facebook and Twitter.

 

23 thoughts on “Book Club: An Ember In The Ashes

  1. I absolutely loved An Ember in the Ashes!! The story is completely engrossing, with danger and violence, gripping action, romantic entanglements, political intrigues, a touch of the supernatural and characters that are both complex and engaging. If you like the Hunger Games mixed with a good dash of Game of Thrones – then like me, you will thoroughly enjoy this book!!

    The world in An Ember in the Ashes is dark and brutal. Defiance is met with death. Those who do not pledge their blood and bodies to the Martial Empire risk having their loved ones murdered and their lives destroyed. Set against this backdrop the interlaced stories of the two main characters Laia and Elias emerge.

    Laia, is an unassuming 17 year old girl, from the once learned and influential, but now oppressed, illiterate and enslaved Scholars tribe. She lives a quiet and humble life with her older brother Darin and grandparents, eking out a living in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets, but in constant fear of one of the Empire’s notorious raids.

    Elias, is a 20 year old member of the ruling elite, and, as well as being the Commandant’s son, is the star pupil of the Blackcliff Military Academy where he has been training since 6 years old to become a Mask – one of the Empire’s deadly soldier assassins. But Elias has serious doubts about the Empire’s tyrannical ways and is secretly plotting to escape the Mask way of life.

    Laia and Elias’s worlds collide when Laia’s home is raided, and her brother Darin is arrested and taken away by the Masks for questioning on suspicion of treason. Laia is determined to find and free Darin, and seeks help from the Resistance, a group of outlaw Scholar rebels who are trying to bring down the Empire. However, they will not help her for free and demand that in return she must enter Blackcliff Military Academy undercover as a slave, in order to spy on the Commandant. It is there that Laia meets Elias and their destinies intertwine.

    An Ember in the Ashes is a rich and powerful story and while it is a fantasy novel, it also poses a number of moral dilemmas, including the distinction between loyalty and thinking for yourself, the double sidedness of power, the meaning of freedom and its cost and the subjectivity of “right” and “wrong”.

    All in all An Ember in the Ashes is a great read and believe me when you get to the end, it really does leave you wanting more! (And while apparently the book was written as a standalone work, it reads like it’s the first book in a series and thankfully from what I’ve since found out, it sounds like a sequel is coming – I can’t wait!)
    I thoroughly recommend this book – it is fantastic !!

  2. Others have outlined the tale in their reviews, so I won’t.

    You can tell how you feel about a book by the your feelings when you reach the last page. Was it a marathon, where you drudge to the end,hoping never to see the characters again? Or was it a sprint, fast and forgettable? Was it an endurance race? Do you get to the finish line and look around for loved ones?

    I got to the end of “An Ember in the Ashes” disappointed, very disappointed. Saddened that it had finished. Saaba Tahir has built a potrayal of Laia and Elias so vivid and sympathetic that you want more of their tale, you want to know where they’ll end up next. You have witnessed their growth through moral dilemmas that you want to know where their growth and their journey has taken them.

    Laia’s and Elias’ world is brutal, it is harsh; it could be an analogy for the Roman Empire, or the Third Reich. Or is it a tale of morality on ourselves, where knowledge is considered defiance and must be crushed out? The Martials could be the gamers of the modern world, snuffing out literature.

    This is a book that would normally be aimed at teens and science fiction geeks, however as an adult I loved it. (My teen son has requested it next, and my science fiction buff husband wants it after that.) It is well written, fast paced and thrilling. While a ‘formulaic’ type of genre, it does it well – very, very well. Tahir keeps the reader both engaged and guessing at what will happen next.

    Sabaa Tahir has a fan in this reader, and if there is a sequel I am definately reading it.

    Four and half stars out of five – a definite read!

  3. Thank you Beauty and Lace for giving me the opportunity to read and review this novel. Fantasy novel are not what I usually read, but I thoroughly enjoyed An Ember In The Ashes and was so totally engrossed in it that I couldn’t put it down until I had finished it.

    There are 2 main characters in the book Laia a 17 year old girl from the Scholar tribe and Elias a 20 year old boy from the ruling Martials who conquered the Scholars 500 years ago.

    Laia has lost all her family apart from her older brother Darin, who has been imprisoned by the Martials and she will do anything to free him.

    Elias was abandoned by his mother the brutal Commandant of Blackcliff Academy, which is the training ground for Masks and has been at the Academy since he was 6 years old. He is just days away from graduating as a Mask, but doesn’t want to become one of the Empire’s killing machines and has been planning to escape that way of life, but if caught trying to escape would be killed.

    Laia went to the Resistance movement to seek help in freeing Darin and they would only help her if she agreed to go to the Academy working as a slave to the Commandant, spying on her and reporting back to the Resistance any news that would help them in their fight against the Empire.

    I was a little disappointed with the ending of this novel, but am sure that there will be a sequel to tie up all the loose ends and I look forward to reading it.

    I definitely recommend An Ember in the Ashes – Sabaa Tahir has certainly written a very compelling story.

  4. Thank you for letting me read this book.

    It was so totally different from my usual reading style that it took me a little while to get into it but once it got me then I was hooked.

    The different chapters going from one characters moment in time to the next characters look at the same incident was unique and mind capturing. I really liked this idea.

    Laia is a slave, Elias is a soldier, neither is free.

    Elias must choose between Helene and Laia, and Laia must choose between Elias and a resistance fighter.

    The story is so intense. I’ve never read anything that felt quite like this book did. I kept holding me breath wanting for that blade to fall.

    This book is a little like The Hunger Games and a lot not like The Hunger Games.

    It was interesting and involving and I loved every minute.
    Can’t wait for the next one to see where it can lead.

  5. I also loved this story, it held my interest from the very beginning. I was swept up in their world of brutality and torment feeling their pain and anguish. This book is really well written and is not a chore to read as some of the fantasy books are. At the end of every chapter I wanted to keep reading to see what happens next!

    Anyone that loves this genre would find this a great read and I did feel perhaps there was room for more when it ended. I can absolutely see this story being made into a movie, it would translate really well. Thanks for the opportunity to review this book and I certainly look forward to more from this author.

  6. Wow, from the moment I started this book I found it hard to put down. My interest was grabbed within the first page and I was upset when the second chapter changed characters, only then for the the third chapter to swap back! My desperation to keep finding out what was going to happen next to the main characters had me on the end of my seat.

    I love the fine line that was developed between brutality and the need to keep alive. Which decision would you make, run and hide or stay and fight?

    The characters were well defined early on but gained so much depth as the book progressed, it really was a pleasure to read. I loved the roller coaster of pain and suffering, love and freedom, and the struggles that life can through at you.

    A great book to snuggle up with in front of an open fire, a glass of wine and no one to interrupt you!

  7. It took me a little while to get the hang of the world, words, and alternating chapter pov. But it was worth it! I definitely don’t recommend it to young teens as their is a lot of violence and seeing characters in such a constricting world is a bit depressing at some points in the novel. But once it starts it never stops! The maps at the start, usually indicate to me that the book will be an adventure and this does not let me down. Fighting, romance, and magical elements are the whole package to me. I really hope the story line with the Jinn -I won’t name names, plays out to be spectacular.

    I felt like I spent more than the short amount of time we had with the characters, and even though I didn’t always connect with characters like Laia- I wanted to keep going. I wanted THEM to keep going.

    If you want action, adventure and a hint of love put this on your to read list. Because fighting against the system which seems so corrupt and dark…well sometimes its worth the pain. That’s this story.

    I hope the series goes on to see how bright the embers can burn, because like in a classic Tamora Pierce series I see Laia and Elias have the potential to be awed by the magical world around them and in turn help show others the truth in Issat.

  8. Firstly I’d like to thank Beauty and Lace for giving me the wonderful opportunity to read and review and Ember in the Ashes. I am forever grateful.
    I was very exited to read this book as it is my type of reading style.

    This book was one of the most enjoyable books I have read in a long time. It was gripping and pulled me in from the first page. The storyline is extremely interesting and will keep you reading from the last page.

    The characters seemed superficial during the first few chapters but through the novel they gained depth and as a reader I felt like I knew them. I liked the way the chapters alternated between the characters and felt like it really helped in understanding the characters.

    One thing I did not like about the novel was that rape was mentioned a lot (even suggestions of it), I thought it may be triggering to some readers.

    All up An Ember in the Ashes is a lovely novel. I will definitely be recommending it to my friends. It has the potential to be made into a movie and I really hope it happens one day.

  9. For anyone that likes a good fantasy read, this is a book I’d recommend. It’s a very easy read, with a good flow and very large font- so anyone that likes books with large font, this will make reading it a lot easier. Personally, I prefer my books about half the size, with half-size font, so that I can hold them one-handed in winter under the blankets, and swap hands when one gets cold.

    As a warning though, for anyone more sensitive, or vetting this for their teenagers, there are references to rape. There is also quite a lot of violence and disfigurement. Still, if you can handle Game of Thrones, this is a bit lower on the scale.

    This book has themes of freedom and fighting against conformity that I think we all relate to and enjoy reading. It shows us that under masks that are supposed to make everyone the same, there are human beings. Humans with thoughts, feelings and fears.
    Is it as good as some of the other writers of this genre like Tamora Pierce? No. But this author has still crafted a fascinating and well designed fantasy world that is perhaps designed for a slightly more mature audience. The characters are also realistic with faults, feelings and skills, and this is a great book in its own right.

    I found Elias’ story, with the trials, his internal battle against darkness, and yearning to be free the most interesting. I felt that Elias’ story could have stood alone, while Laia’s could not have. I felt like Laia’s story was weaker in some places, with some chapters feeling like fillers to keep the alternating chapter structure of Elias view and then Laia’s point of view. Having said that, I feel like this is leading up to a second book where Laia will come more into her own.

    My favourite character is Helene. She is a fighter, strong and loyal to the core. She does whatever is necessary to keep those she loves save and I admire that. In fact, I would love to have read parts of the book from her point of view, even though adding a third character may have made things messy. I hope we see a lot more of her in any sequels.

    There’s a lot of little things that have still been left to build on later, such as Helene’s skill, Elias’ grandfather and the tribes. The book left me wanting to know what happens next, and this is clearly meant to be the beginning of a trilogy at the very least. This book is aptly named The Ember, and there are hints that there it is sure to build to a wildfire in the future. I for one am very interested in reading what happens next. Bring on a sequel!

  10. When I first started reading this book I found it hard to get into – I thought I was going to struggle to get through the book as it just didn’t seem to “click” with me. I think the issue was just due to the fantasy genre the initial concepts foreign and it took a little to get into it as after a few more chapters, I warmed to the book and before long I was hooked to it, eagerly grabbing each opportunity to read a bit more.

    The book’s chapters alternate between the perspectives of Elias and Laia, giving insight into both sides of the story. I liked that sometimes when the chapters changed it went back over what just happened from the other character so you get their side of the story and their feelings. I like that each chapter is rather short so I could fit one in quickly here and there but the down side of this also meant I was often thinking ‘Just one more chapter’ multiple times in one sitting and staying awake too late haha!
    My interest in this book was initially sparked as I thought it sounded a little like Harry Potter with the academy, but now I’ve read it I don’t think it has a connection with Harry Potter at all. I find it most familiar with the Hunger Games, yet it is still very different. I think the similarity is in the brutal, unforgiving nature of many of the situations, as well as the living conditions and the concept of the Empire.

    The story was very intense and there were parts of the story that left me reeling due to their violent, unforgiving nature – I wouldn’t suggest this book for the light hearted. Some of these situations you later learn are a trick (and many aren’t) they aren’t any less harsh to read as you don’t find that out until later. Despite this, both the main characters are kinder in spirit as they try rebelling against the violence and I found they were likable characters. The book was descriptive enough about their physical features that I can picture them in my head which helped with imagining the story.

    The ending of the book left a lot of questions unanswered, and almost a sense of disappointment surrounding these many answers that I was awaiting and didn’t find out. I was wondering if there would be a sequel, as that would make sense as to why so many things were left open, and just saw that there should be, so I am definitely hoping so and looking forward to reading that. I really enjoyed reading this book and found myself caught up in their world. I finished the book last night, and I felt a sense of loss that the book was over and I wouldn’t be able to immerse myself in the story anymore (yet). Without giving away any spoilers on the story, I will say that on the way to work this morning I was thinking about the story intently with questions like “what happened to x” or “what will x do now”. I hope we won’t have to wait too long until a sequel is released so we can get the answers to some of those burning questions Sabaa Tahir has left circling in our minds.

  11. This was not something I would usually read but I must say I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it! I will admit it was a little hard to wrap my head around at first, but I can’t pinpoint why – not sure if it was the writing or how I was trying to picture it all, but it didn’t take long for me to be totally engrossed in this fantasy tale about separate “worlds” and lives and how quickly they are intertwined.

    I enjoyed the character development as well. The author did a great job of making you feel for the “good” characters and hate the “bad” ones.

    I certainly agree with many of the other reviewers that we are left wanting more and cannot wait for the next instalment!!

  12. You will find from the very first pages of this book yourself entering into a world where the Empire is ruled by gruesome violence, brutality and death. An Ember in the Ashes has fantastic world-building that has complex characters and is also gripping in action. This book is frequently surprising, and it doesn’t shy much from horrific. The book is written in double perspective and the action is quite intense.
    From the very first chapter I got hooked straight away, the writing is as smooth as silk and couldn’t wait to read more. A dark tale very well told, Sabaa Tahir certainly knows how to write a great book. It is filled with plenty of action and unexpected twists. An Ember in the Ashes is a glorious page-turner, a real epic battle with two unforgettable heroes, Laia and Elias that are fantastic unforgettable main characters. I can’t wait to see how this develops in the future. I do hope this book is the start of a series because I really would love to read more of this world, although “Ember in the Ashes” really does stand well enough on its own. I feel this book should have a broad appeal to adults as well as teens. A book that is simply impossible to put down. I highly recommend you to read this truly engaging book.
    I must thank Beauty and Lace for the fantastic opportunity to read and review “An Ember in the Ashes” by author SabaaTahir.

  13. I found this a little hard to adapt to in the first few chapters, absorbing into the the fantasy world and the chop n change of characters and chapters, however I stuck with it and found it to be quite enjoyable and got me hooked into the story line. Several twists and turns about conquering fears,being heroes etc. The main characters could follow their journey well. I really became engrossed into these separate wolrds by the end. I would recommend even if fantasy not your thing. Thank you

  14. This book has left me reeling as its just so different to any other book I have ever read, at times harrowing and haunting. It’s a complex story of ­a vicious empire that has conquered several cultures, including the once learned Scholars. The three main characters Laia, Elias and Helene are born into a world of extreme violence. A violence so harsh I’m amazed that anyone could survive it. The author keeps you on your toes with her many twists and turns. It’s a great book that takes the mind to a place of fantasy. Its both thought provoking and heart-wrenching. The author Sabaa Tahir certainly bought the characters to life and has now made me a keen reader of fantasy books. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next edition. I would thoroughly recommend this book to all readers. A most enjoyable read,

  15. Thank you Beauty & Lace for allowing me to read and review this awesome book – An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir.
    This read brought up a heap of different emotions in me and is a story I’ll probably never forget – it kind of ‘stamps’ itself into your heart and memory. I felt anger and rage inside me brew quite a few times, an intense passionate anger that I only get when I am confronted with events I really despise and feel strongly about, like women being treated as lesser beings, and their rights not cared for.
    The book follows the lives of Elias and Laia, and is told in first person from each of these characters, so I felt I got to know and understand them better as I was in their thoughts/in their mind. They come from completely different lives, Laia lives the subservient life as a Scholar, which is the lower class in the eyes of the Empire. The Empire, with the help of the Masks (which are the elite soldiers that work for the Empire) took over the continent and enslaved thousands of Scholars – Laia losing her parents and Sister throughout the ordeal. Elias, on the other hand, is in training and has been for the past 14 years, to become one of the elite soldiers, a Mask.
    One night the Empire raids the home of Laia, where she lives with her Grandparents and brother, Darin. Darin has something the Martials want…..something in a sketchbook…..which Laia has thrown out a window in haste as she tried to hide the book for Darin. The Grandparents force Darin and Laia out the back door in hopes of escaping. But a Mask is waiting at the back gate for them, taking Darin away, they imprison him.
    Laia has nowhere else to turn but to go to the people that Darin was working for, The Resistance, to try and get help to free her brother. But The Resistance want something in return, they want Laia to become a spy, by working for the Commandant as a slave girl. The Commandant being a very cruel, cold and heartless person.
    It is here at Blackcliffe, the military school, where Laia meets Elias and their paths collide as fate would have it. Elias despises the life he lives and the things he has seen and desperately wants out. So together Laia and Elias work to help each other.
    There’s a hint of a love triangle happening but not too much focus is actually placed on the romance factor in this story…I was secretly hoping for more to happen….but this wanting kept me reading.
    The whole story is rather dark and is chock a block full of pillaging, rape, brutality and evil, sometimes a little too much where the females are concerned. The author Sabaa Tahir has an excellent writing style and I found the book easy to read from the very first page. A very engaging and talented author and I am actually going to google this book and see if there’s a sequel because it ended in quite a cliffhanger and left me with many questions unanswered. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves a good read that contains a bit of everything.

  16. Quite enjoyed this book though not the sort of thing I would normally read, but entered to win it as it sounded quite a mystery/thriller – which it was. It seemed to be a kind of ancient Rome type of story, transported into a world in the future.

    Liked Elias, his Mother was sure pretty mean & awful (a bit similar to some women bosses that I have unfortunately worked with!!) often women like his Mother are a lot worse than some men in positions of too much power. Wondering who will Elias father be? – perhaps he is kinder than his Mother? we can only hope so.

    Was somewhat disappointed that Elias & Laia never ended up freeing her brother Darin, guess that will happen in a sequel, the ending seemed to be rushed too much & left several loose ends.

    Helene annoyed me, she seemed to care about Elias, but often left him in the lurch so to speak & plotted against her own son. The Masks were a mean lot you wouldn’t want to meet at all.

    Thought it could be made into a movie as there would be plenty of action & futuristic scenes.

    Was happy with the bigger size print, much better than too small size, & print was dark enough, not printed in a gray colour like some books are now.

    I’d give it 4 stars as it wasn’t the sort of book that left you bored at all.

    Thank your to Beauty & Lace for sending me this Book.

  17. We seem to be having an issue today so please allow me to post this comment on behalf of Tara Parish:
    First-I did enjoy the book, I was drawn it at first and my mind made comparisons with Hunger Games, and Terry Pratchet characters-not sure why. The tale evolves and some characters you want to slap, some you like and some you hate-I think in a book an emotion drawn from you shows good writing, it mean you care about the characters enough to have an opinion and care whether they are safe or not. the book lost me a bit in the middle, perhaps with the change of perspective, and there are some tough bits, and then regained me as I travelled on. There is an edge to the writing which is refreshing-Looking forward to the next one!

  18. It took me a little while to get the hang of the world, and alternating chapter but it was worth the read

    An Ember in the Ashes is a powerful story it has a number of moral dilemmas, the distinction between loyalty and thinking for yourself, the meaning of freedom and the subjectivity of “right” and “wrong”.
    the two main characters are

    Laia, a17 year old girl, from the enslaved Scholars tribe. Laia has lost all her family apart from her older brother Darin, who has been imprisoned by the Martials Laia went to the Resistance movement to seek help in freeing Darin and they would only help her if she agreed to go to the Academy working as a slave to the Commandant, spying on her and reporting back to the Resistance any news that would help them in their fight against the Empire.

    Elias, is a 20 year old member of the ruling elite, and, as well as being the Commandant’s son, is the star pupil of the Blackcliff Military Academy where he has been training since 6 years old.
    He is just days away from graduating as a Mask, but doesn’t want to become one of the Empire’s killing machines and has been planning to escape that way of life, but if caught trying to escape would be killed.

    The world in An Ember in the Ashes is dark and brutal. Defiance is met with death. Those who do not pledge their blood and bodies to the Martial Empire risk having their loved ones murdered and their lives destroyed. the interlaced stories of the two main characters Laia and Elias emerge.

  19. I absolutely loved An Ember in the Ashes.I couldn’t put it down and finished it in a day.

    The book starts from the perspective of Laia as she introduced you to a dangerous and deeply disturbing world. Laia’s growth in the book from a shy, slightly sheltered 17 year old girl to a brave, determined member of of the resistance is unraveled within the book.

    Similar through the perspective of Elias a reluctant member and trainee of the ruling military elite and mask clan, reveals a fascinating and even more disturbing context.

    I loved the alternating perspectives in the book and some parts where not for the faint of heart with high levels of violence and excellent sub plots throughout the book, there was never a point where I was bored and was constantly guessing what was going to happen next.

    The one thing that I did not particularly like was the dual love interests of the Elias and Laia and it created somewhat of a love square, with the feelings for each love interest relatively unclear even after the book ended.

    I loved the interactions between Elias and Laia as the began to form a friendship and the decisions made and risks taken definitely kept me on my toes.

    I really hope there is a sequel as the ending left so many questions unanswered.

  20. Fantasy isn’t my favourite genre but I was determined to be fair and give it a go. I’m glad I did. I really enjoyed the storyline and found myself making comparisons to The Hunger Games. I liked the intertwining storylines and the way the characters get involved in an effort to overthrow the empire. I wasn’t a fan of the violence though or the references to rape, and would only recommend this book to much older teens.
    Congratulations to the author on her debut novel, Thank you Beauty and Lace for giving me the opportunity to read this book.

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