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Book Review : An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Title : An Ember In The Ashes
Author : Sabaa Tahir
Publisher : Harper Voyager
Pages : 448
ISBN : 978-0-00-815447-9


Story : Laia is a scholar girl, living with her Nan and Pop along with her brotherDarin after their parents’ death. Content with her ordinary, hassle free life in Serra, Laia happily helped making jams with her Nan and assisted her Pop in preparing medicinal cures. Little did she know that her life was going to tumble down the slope, when her brother is captured by the cold blooded Martial soldiers, called Masks.
Elias is a Mask, though it’s the last thing he ever wanted to be. Under the constant wrath of the Commander of the Mask training Academy BlackCliff, his own mother, he decides to desert and flee to the independent lands of the Marinne.

But when Laia and Elias cross paths in the most unprecedented of ways, they conjure up a spark, an ember that glows in the ashes. Their fates are intertwined in ways more than they could have ever imagined.

Review : The story has been built under the light of ancient Rome, with descriptions so vivid that you’ll find yourselves on the dusty scholar streets with Laia, and imagine being in the training halls of BlackCliff, drawing your scims with Elias.
An Ember in the Ashes grows on you with each word you read, every chapter ending with a cliffhanger that keeps your fingers turning the pages until you reach the very last page of the book.
Narrated by Laia in one chapter, followed by Elias in the next, it’s a compelling read that gives you absolutely no reason to put the book down until you are done.

A good story doesn’t only require a strong plot or a compelling narrative. It also needs to have real characters, experiencing real emotions that readers can relate to. Laia, being a timid girl embarks on a quest to free her brother from the Martials, and her character development in the process is commendable. She dares to invade into BlackCliff, face the ruthless Commander but her fears ensnare her quite often. Yet, she comes out being a fine woman with stern determination and pure hatred towards those who wronged her.

Elias loves the people around him, his friends, his grandfather, and especially his childhood mate Helene. And to keep them all safe, he decides to desert, moving far away from the deadly missions they are assigned to and the rote viciousness. But when the Augur named Cain, an Empire Holy Man, urges that he must face his destiny, Elias is left with second thoughts.

Quoting a verse from the book, “Life is made of so many moments that mean nothing. Then one day a single moment comes along to define every second that comes after“, Tahir specifically infuses hope into the otherwise ashen lives of the protagonists.

Sneaking in and out of BlackCliff, dancing with their lives in hands through the ancient catacombs of Serra, and facing creatures from ghouls, efrits, to the most primeval, the Nightbringer himself, the story ends just to begin all over again, leading to the sequel ‘A Torch Against The Night’.

I would give this book 4 stars out of 5. I didn’t rate it 5 since a few chapters bear descriptions and intricate details making it a bit tedious at times. I highly recommend this book to historical fiction and fantasy lovers, and those who love to have a real taste of literature along with a feisty plot

About the Author :


Sabaa Tahir has worked as a foreign news editor at the Washington Post, and An Ember In The Ashes was weaved while working nights there. She spent her childhood in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s eighteen-room motel. Currently she lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her family.


Review by ©TheGirlOnTheGo  (


17 thoughts on “Book Review : An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir”

  1. Great review!! This sounds like such a wonderful book. 🙂 I absolutely love reading novels with rich descriptions and true-to-life characters, but I understand what you mean about stories like that being tedious at times! Descriptions are fantastic, but can often be lengthy. Thank you for writing this review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Maggie! Yeah it becomes tedious because we readers sometimes get really impatient to know what’s next, and anything (be it a long description)that comes in the way makes us lose our patience even more, haha!
      And I’m really glad you enjoyed the review so much! 🙂


  2. Excellent review, that book sounds spectacular! ✌🏼😊 and there’s a character in there with my name! Now I have to read it 😍🙏🏼


    Liked by 1 person

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