Double Review For An Ember in the Ashes & A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir!
Quick View Review (AEITA)
Overall Rating: *** (3.5/5)
Amazon Rating: **** (4.5/5)
One Sentence Review: A story that was predictable and not super unique, I liked this book but definitely thought it could have been improved.
Quick View Review (ATATN)
Overall Rating: ***** (5/5)
Amazon Rating: **** (4.6/5)
One Sentence Review: A book that made every flaw from the first one worth it, I absolutely adored every single aspect of this sequel.
Amazon Summary for AEITA:
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.
Ok, so I liked this book. I really did. The plot, the characters, the writing, everything. But I can’t deny that I thought this book was flawed, and if it hadn’t been for the second book, it probably just would’ve been another book that I had read, but wouldn’t have stood out from a lot of other fantasy books out there.
I just thought that this first installment was kinda cliché and predictable. It was your classic fantasy book: girl heroine who is oppressed, joins a rebel group, and then falls in love with someone high up on the other side. I saw a lot of the plot twists coming, and could see aspects from some of my favorite books in this one. Yes, the world itself was unique, but that was about it.
That being said, I’m also not going to deny that I really loved some of the characters. Take Laia (the main character). I loved her strength, her resilience, and her determination. I admired her and adored getting to see her shine and grow stronger through the hardships she faced. I also really liked the Commandment as a character. I just thought she was a very well-written villain, and I’m definitely curious about her past and why she grew to be as utterly evil as she is depicted to be. On the other hand, I didn’t love Elias in the way I’ve fallen in love with so many other fictional characters. I mean, I definitely shipped him with Laia, but I wasn’t personally getting butterflies every time he spoke (YES THAT HAPPENS LEAVE ME AND MY FICTIONAL BOYFRIENDS BE).
Overall, this is a good book. Definitely predictable and a little bit cliché, but the world-building was FANTASTIC and the characters were absolutely incredible.
In the end, I was basically just left hoping that the second book would be better and hopefully lift this series to a new level.
AND GUESS WHAT?! The second book did that and so, so much more.
If the first book was a kiddie ride, this one was the biggest rollercoaster you’ve ever seen complete with dangerous gusts of wind and maybe a rainstorm thrown in.
The characters in the first book were great, but in this one they were AWESOME. I absolutely loved getting to see them grow and overcome challenges and just try to get past the obstacles that were in each of their ways.
I did have a new favorite in this book, though. Helene. In the first book she was just kind of a presence who I didn’t feel added that much to the story, but in this book she took on a whole new role and I just really really enjoyed getting to know her better.
ATATN took the plot of this series from meh to WOAHHHHHHH; it took the storyline from a straight path to the twistiest craziest road you will ever see. I never knew what was going to happen next, and could never predict anything even if I tried (and I tried). I relished every word, every page, and every chapter; I simply couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next.
This second installment was utterly addictive, and I couldn’t get enough.
Overall, ATATN was what made me really fall in love with this series and start crying over the fact that the third book isn’t coming out until 2018. Everything about it was flawless and heart-racing, and I adored every second.
Make sure to come back next Wednesday for a new review!