Please note that since I listened to the audiobook, I don’t have a frame of reference tMore of my reviews can be found on my blog Literary Exploration
Please note that since I listened to the audiobook, I don’t have a frame of reference to look back on so some titles and names may be misspelled. Feel free to correct me in the comments!
I think I’m probably one of the last people I know who’s read An Ember in the Ashes by the seriously amazing Sabaa Tahir, and honestly I’m so disappointed in myself for waiting so long! Sabaa is a local author, so I’ve been to several of her events and while I was working for a very large local indie here in the Bay Area, I actually had the pleasure of attended a publisher dinner for her. She is probably one of the kindest and most passionate people I’ve met, and I think I was mostly afraid that if I read her book and I didn’t like it, that would somehow ruin my opinion of her and I basically wouldn’t be able to look her in the eye anymore because I’d have to admit that I hated her book…
Well. I am SO unbelievably glad I finally caved and borrowed the audiobook from the library. As soon as I saw Steve West on the narrator list (he also narrated Evelyn Skye’s The Crown’s Game) I knew it would be great. And I was not disappointed at all. I love dual POV narrations and hearing from both Laia, a slave in Black Cliff (a military training facility), and Elias, one of the most deadly soldiers inside Black Cliff was a great look into how both sides work and their differing ideals. It was also so enjoyable to watch Laia’s character development from mousy and backbone-less to fierce, determined, and strong. Honestly, I wasn’t a big fan of her in the beginning and all she did was complain about how weak she was, but once the story took a turn and Laia was forced to really pick herself up and do something about her situation she became a BEAST. Like, seriously, no nonsense Laia is my favorite Laia and I think this is what gives me great hope for the second book! I also really liked the personal development between all of the characters and how they were able to put aside a lot of their prejudice’s and preconceived ideas of how every (for lack of a better word) caste acts and thinks. Laia and Elias, and even Izzy, Cook, and Helene (kind of) were able to see past what society’s dictated to them for years and look beyond who they thought everyone was to see who they actually are. The relationship between Elias and Laia is also expected, but not overplayed which I really appreciated. She definitely doesn’t take shit from him later on and she finds her voice that definitely says she’s the one in control.
Honestly, I’m just really glad I ended up finding this on the library list and just listening to it. The narrators both did a phenomenal job and their ability to jump between characters while maintaining consistent voices for everyone made the entire experience so delightful. And the descriptive nature of Sabaa’s writing made the entire world so real! I was able to picture everything so clearly in my mind and the world-building just blew my mind. All of the details were so well-thought out, from Black Cliff to the town, to the wastelands. Utter perfection. Highly recommended, but listen to the audio if you can!...more