I don't know what I was expecting when I read An Ember in the Ashes, but not this. Not this brutal, heartbreaking, real story. This novel breathed wit I don't know what I was expecting when I read An Ember in the Ashes, but not this. Not this brutal, heartbreaking, real story. This novel breathed with horror and pain, but also hope and love. It was difficult to get through sometimes. Some scenes, particularly the third trial, had my heart crying out, as I felt the wretchedness of the characters and their task, their duty, and their pure sorrow and terror at what they are commanded to do. Tahir expertly crafted a tale that spoke directly to the heart, bringing to life the brutalness of a Rome like world where dark magical beings reside. Jinn and efrits and the like, creatures thought to be myth by the people, but that reveal themselves throughout the novel.
This story is not a light, carefree story where everything ends up right at the end and the girl and boy realize their undying love for one another and the evil is triumphed. No, this story is quite unlike most novels. This novel is real. It doesn't cut corners, or spare the reader the brutality of the Masks and the Commandant. It doesn't let up when it knows you are suffering as the characters are suffering and wish that they didn't have to do what they're doing. And this is what made me love the novel so much. Tahir did such an excellent job at creating her story, at melding the dark side with the magical side and even the love. Love between a sister and her brother; love between a girl and her new found slave friend; love between a girl and a boy. That being said, the romantic love was practically not even there. It didn't lead the story and come at you screaming to be heard. It was so refreshing to have a story that is led by the plot, and to have the romance be almost an afterthought. But still there, because I do love a good love story. But I also love a good story that doesn't need romance to be a story.
As for the characters, they were so believable. Particularly the main characters, Laia and Elias. Laia was an uncertain, scared girl who's family is dead and she has to beat unimaginable odds to free her brother. She goes through so much, but she stands strong. She's afraid and weak, but she's so strong because she rises above her weakness and in the end refuses to be beaten down and to let her friends die. I love this girl. I loved watching her journey and seeing her grow and overcome her trials and fight the evil with her goodness. Elias was someone who caught my attention right at the beginning. Here's a guy who wants to do the right thing, wants to be free of the brutality, wants to save lives. And he goes through his own trials, though his station is high, and he could have everything he wants. He hates the world he lives in, but realizes that he has to face it. And, gah, that third trial, I still can't get over it. It was so heartbreaking, I didn't want it to happen. But, I guess for the sake of the story it needed to. Through everything though, Elias stayed true to who he was. Strong, loyal, good, striving to do the right thing.
This is a novel that will stay with me for a long time. I didn't expect it to affect me so. But I think seeing the darkness helped me to understand the characters better and to appreciate the good that did happen. I can see why this book is getting so much hype. It definitely deserves it. So, read on people, read an exhilarating, death defying, ruthless novel that will tear your heart out, but that will give you strength and hope to put it back together. Read a truly outstanding novel. I certainly loved it....more
Well, I honestly don’t know what to say after that ending. Quite the twist. Not to mention my heart laying on the floor bleeding (which was kind of thWell, I honestly don’t know what to say after that ending. Quite the twist. Not to mention my heart laying on the floor bleeding (which was kind of the state of it through almost half the book, what with happened with Celaena and Chaol, after that moment of ultimate betrayal). Yeah, that kind of sucked. Alright, it was awful! It hurt so much! Goodness, I can’t believe it even happened. They were finally together, and it was beautiful, then they were ripped apart.
I was pretty surprised by this sequel to Throne of Glass. I loved that book. I loved the characters, and writing, and story-building, and plot. Everything. But then I read Crown of Midnight, and it blew everything out of the water. I was sucked so deep into the book, into Celaena’s story, and anguish. I did not expect to be so affected by this book. But Celaena’s pain, and anger, cried out to me, struck me. Then the storyline deepened, and became more complex, more intriguing, just, more. There is so much more to Celaena’s backstory, and who she is. The twists in the story knocked me off my feet, especially the ending. I love the magical element, how it is threaded into the plot, giving it more meaning, and infusing it with intrigue, and promise of a better world.
I loved all the characters. They all have so much depth to them, and emotions. They’re not just lifeless characters who serve only to take up space. They all have meaning, and they all have an integral part. Celaena, is one tough girl. She had to be, what with her past. And she has so many secrets. I didn't realize how much she was keeping inside, and what those secrets could mean to her, and everyone else.
I loved the romance. I liked it a lot better here than in the first book because I like the male interest better. Well, I love them (Dorian and Chaol) both, but I like the couple better in this book. It became one of favorite romances! I just wanted them to get together. There was just so much tension, and you know that they both want each other, they’re just too stubborn to give in. But they couldn’t hold it in forever. It was bound to come out sooner or later. And it did, and it was fantastic.
The writing was fantastic, the world-building was outstanding. The story just ran along at a fast pace, I could barely keep up. And then the end happened, and it left me breathless, and stunned. Made even more heartbreaking by what happened between Celaena and Chaol. But the twists at the end. Wowzer! did not see anything like that coming at all. And now I cannot wait for the sequel. ...more
This is more for me than an actual review (so I can remember in the future)... It was boring, and I couldn't connect with any of the characters. I didnThis is more for me than an actual review (so I can remember in the future)... It was boring, and I couldn't connect with any of the characters. I didn't even finish it. I read about 2/3 of it then browsed a few pages at the end to determine if I even wanted to finish it. And I saw something I didn't like, so I didn't finish it. I feel bad though, I really wanted to like it. ...more
I was excited to read this when I first heard about it. It sounded pretty awesome, and that cover, yeah, that had me pulling towards it faster than anI was excited to read this when I first heard about it. It sounded pretty awesome, and that cover, yeah, that had me pulling towards it faster than anything else could. When Netgalley accepted my request, I was so anxious to dive right into the story. I was never really worried that it wouldn’t live up to my expectations. And it did. Even going beyond what I was hoping for, and promising so much more.
I find pirates rather intriguing. Maybe that stems from my liking of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, but don’t pillaging, sword fighting, treasure seeking pirates have a ring of adventure and mystery to them? Even if some of them are good for nothing scoundrels. The pirates in this here book were fashioned quite well. The story is told from a young pirate girl’s point of view. Which I honestly find quite appealing. A pirate girl isn’t going to be a TSTL heroine who relies on her hero to save her. Ananna was fierce and independent. She takes action, and she doesn’t wait for the dazzling hero to get her out of the situations she gets herself into. And this is what drew me completely into the story.
I found myself falling in love with Ananna’s voice. She was just such fun to read. She was a strong character. She was the fierce, independent pirate girl, but she also shows a soft side. A side that cares about people and that could love. And she shows that she’s not completely fearless. There are things that scare her senseless. But she doesn’t let her fright get the better of her. She rises after the scare with strength and determination to set out to do what she needs to. Then there was Naji. The assassin whose life Ananna saved and now they’re bonded together and they have to find a way to break the curse. Naji was a pretty cool character, and I felt was created really good. He’s an awesome assassin. Black as night that can move without a sound and can kill with precision and skill. But Naji isn’t your typical prince charming who has girls falling over their feet to get him, who dazzles everyone, including the heroine, with his charms and extremely hot looks. Naji is scarred, physically and internally. And this shows the reader his weakness. It shows that he is not just the fearless, stealthy assassin. He has demons he’s trying to fight, and he tries to hide it. And I really did feel for him. I find myself liking the tortured hero, because it shows they’re not perfect, and that they have a past.
I liked the subtle, slow growing romance. I liked that Ananna didn’t immediately fall in love with him (which would be pretty hard to do when he just tried to kill her). I liked that they were forced to be together which they both resented, but that through this bond, this curse, they grew to understand each other. I liked that Ananna was able to see past Naji’s scars, and focus on the man who desperately needs help. I felt that the buildup of their friendship, and potential, inevitable romance was done well and was beautiful. I’m extremely excited to see how their romance will blossom.
And the ending. The ending was perfect! The last line made me smile and made my heart grow warm because of its beauty and love. This novel was beautifully crafted and executed. It was by no means perfect. When I really think about it, there are a few flaws, but I just don’t want to think about those, because the book was otherwise so awesome that I don’t want my love of it tainted in any way. So, I’ll focus on the bright spots instead. K? The characters were very well rounded, and I loved them, the plot was exciting and intriguing, the world was luscious and wonderfully built, the writing was amazing. Pretty much I just loved the whole book. Clarke did an awesome job, and I cannot wait for the sequel. Which should be coming out any day now. Sometime next year. Or maybe sooner if I can bribe the publisher, and find some ingenious way to force Clarke to write faster. Because we all know how readers hate to wait. Anyway, I applaud Clarke for writing an incredible, worthwhile young adult novel that hopefully readers everywhere will love.
Thank you to Strange Chemistry and Netgalley for the arc....more