“Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose” – Janis Joplin
When I opened An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir I did not like it. I thought it was paced too fast; that Tahir had rushed in order to get her story started. I still think that. The first few chapters could have been better.
Because of this I was not paying attention when the book caught me. I didn’t realize that I had been hopelessly entangled in the pages that would bring me to the edge of my emotional capacity and back again within the next day. Tahir has given us something great. I was not prepared for the journey. I underestimated her, and I paid for it.
The story follows Laia, a slave, and Elias, a soldier (as you can read on the synopsis). It is exactly what I expected and not all at the same time. This book is horrifying. The threats of murder, torture, and rape are ever present and this author does not pussy foot around these topics. How far would you go for freedom? She drives her main characters through their darkest places for it and there is no guarantee that they both make it to the other end. You, dear reader, a forced along for the ride. And I do mean forced. You cannot put this book down, or at least I could not.
I cried. I screamed. I begged. I shook with rage, with worry, with sorrow. Nothing that my body went through could convince my brain to drop the book and walk away. It was a special kind of hell and I enjoyed every horrifying moment. I believe you will too.
The aspect of this book that made it all worth while was how beautifully Tahir handles her overarching theme of “freedom”. It’s all about freedom. What that means. How you find it. What you do once you have it. She deals with fear, duty, honor, strength, loyalty in ways that are depraved, yet oddly beautiful. Because of this I was always more interested in Elias’ plot-line than Laias though I believe both characters grow and change in interesting ways. I love Laia just as much as Elias, just not her story.
Book 27 of 36: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
- 1- Don’t Read
- 2- It’s Good
- 3- Read
- 4- Highly Recommend
- 5- Must Read
I was tasked this month to read a 2015 debut novel and I am glad I picked this up. This book actually made me cry and that simply does not ever happen. Two days ago I read The Ice Twins and I was sucked in but that was because there were questions that needed answering and it was so anxiety inducing I need release. This book grabbed me and held me because it is beautiful, tragic, horrifying, wonderful.