Series: An Ember in the Ashes #1
Publisher: RazorBill (2015)
Hardcover (446 pages)
Reading Challenges: Read 2015
I WILL TELL YOU THE SAME THING I TELL EVERY SLAVE.
THE RESISTANCE HAS TRIED TO PENETRATE THIS SCHOOL COUNTLESS TIMES. I HAVE DISCOVERED IT EVERY TIME.
IF YOU ARE WORKING WITH THE RESISTANCE, IF YOU CONTACT THEM, IF YOU THINK OF CONTACTING THEM, I WILL KNOW AND I WILL DESTROY YOU.
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.
Laia and Elias are the two points of view in this novel set in what seems to be a Roman-like empire. Elias is a Martial and a Mask, an elite soldier. Laia is a Scholar, basically the equivalent of a slave in the Martial Empire.
Laia’s brother, Darin, is arrested for being places he shouldn’t be and sketching things he had no right to even see. Their grandparents are murdered in the process and Laia flees. She is now utterly alone in the world. Her parents and older sister were murdered years ago by the Martial Empire. Running into Scholar rebels, Laia manages to scheme a way to free her brother. That is, if she is willing to risk her life.
Elias is graduating top of his class as part of the most elite military unit of the Martial Empire. He is from one of the most influential families in the empire and now has the status to go with it. He should be pleased. He has everything. He isn’t though. Elias doesn’t agree with the way the Martial Empire treats the conquered Scholar people. The empire sees them as things to be used and discarded. Elias sees them as people.
Laia and Elias are two people unlikely to meet, until they do. Together there is a chance things could change. Are they both willing to risk it all?
Laia’s character has the most growth throughout the book. She learns things she never knew and some things she wishes she never knew. She has to make her own decisions about what is right. She has to decide how much she is willing to do to save her brother.
Overall this was a good book though there are holes in the plot. Mainly there is a lot that isn’t explained that keeps you guessing. Maybe more will be filled in with the next book. Either way, it was a good read.
- You Read How Many Books? Reading Challenge