Brittany S.'s Reviews > An Ember in the Ashes

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
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really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, ya, alamw15, arc-physical-copy, audiobook, to-review, series-binge

Placed on hold 5/5/15, Marked as DNF 5/13/15: WELL. This book has a lot of hype -- there's no doubt about that -- and I'm SO CONFUSED on what to do here. I've been listening to the audiobook for a week now and have only made it 25%. I don't feel like listening anymore. I am actively bored.
The beginning started off with a bang but then I feel like by 25%, things still haven't panned out. The characters feel very one-dimensional. The world feels unoriginal -- sort of like a mash-up of several different dystopian worlds and plots all thrown into a Roman-type feel. The narration isn't reeling me in at all. And what's sad is that I'm listening to two of my favorite narrators who I was convinced I could listen to if they were just reading the phone book but apparently that's not true since I have no motivation to listen to them read this story.
Aside from the feeling like this has all been done before, it also feels so forced. Oh yay, a convenient prophecy that happens to be there. With very specific yet cryptic clues. It just doesn't feel like it's working for me.
But do I DNF? So many people have LOVED it... But some friends have also put it down or rated it 3 or even 2 stars. Maybe I'll join the black sheep club (or will it pan out to be a more even distribution once more reviews come in?) but for now, it's on hold until I decide if I want to continue or not. I do have my ARC that I got from ALAMW so I was wondering if I'd like it better in print but I just don't feel like picking it up. I have no interest in seeing where the story goes at the moment (usually a DNF sign) so we'll see if I have the urge to come back to it in a little bit.

Revisited 6/19/19 - 6/20/19: This may be the first book that I've *ever* marked as DNF and then tried again. Usually once it's a DNF, I have no desire to come back and try a book again and I'm so glad that I did!! It must have really just been a case of the right book at the wrong time or not understanding what the book was supposed to be because I totally liked with it this go around! I think it also helped to understand that the book starts off just a little bit slower, setting things up for the characters and introducing readers to the world. It's not a slow start but I think I was expecting things to be sure jam-packed before when that's not necessarily the kind of book it is.

I really enjoyed how vivid this world felt! It was really easy (this time, ha) to fall into this story and this world and really feel submersed in it. It was actually really easy to get to know the characters and I felt more prepared to learn their history. (Maybe attempting it once before helped set things up for me too.)

There is kind of a love triangle between Elias, Laia, and Helene but it's done in a really true and realistic way that it doesn't feel like a tropey love triangle. Elias and Helene have been best friends since they were six and Helene is really an awesome character. Sure, there's some jealousy that happens but Helene is strong, confident, and knows how to speak her mind. There are a few fights (about other things as well), but everything develops so organically. I love how Elias addresses how he could be attracted to Helene and he loves her as a friend, and could he love her? It's a real question to be asked in that situation and he considers what it would be like. The forbidden romance with Laia is a nice, beautiful slow burn that develops throughout the book and I really appreciated how they grew to know each other. No instalove here!

The overall concept of the book is really interesting too. It's a fantasy world and there are some big magical mentions and other smaller, slower introductions. I really liked the mix of things that add to this world and set things up for future books as well. I'm so glad that I ended up enjoying this book and that I gave it another try! I don't think I've ever done that before but so many of my friends absolutely love the series that I knew I had to at least try one more time....... especially with Steve West and Fiona Hardingham narrating the audiobooks! (And yes, I did somehow quit the audiobook the first time around too. I don't get it either. Who even was 2015 Brittany...)
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Reading Progress

April 22, 2014 – Shelved
April 22, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
April 22, 2014 – Shelved as: fantasy
April 22, 2014 – Shelved as: ya
February 1, 2015 – Shelved as: alamw15
February 1, 2015 – Shelved as: arc-physical-copy
April 28, 2015 – Shelved as: audiobook
April 28, 2015 –
2.0% "WELL. That was exciting! And soooo happy to hear Fiona & Steve narrating a new book together! <3"
April 29, 2015 –
April 30, 2015 –
8.0% "Interesting!!"
May 1, 2015 –
11.0% "A convenient prophecy with very specific rules. Meh."
May 1, 2015 –
22.0% "Well. EEP. So far I'm not loving it and I tortured myself by reading reviews for it. I'm not DNFIng or anything (I could probably listen to Steve West recite the phone book) but characters? One-dimensional. Plot? Very tell, not show. World? Feels awkward. Lots of things feel forced right now. Hoping it'll shake out."
May 4, 2015 –
24.0% "Actually bored."
May 5, 2015 – Shelved as: on-hold-will-come-back-to
May 13, 2015 – Shelved as: did-not-finish
June 19, 2019 – Started Reading
June 19, 2019 –
86.0% (Paperback Edition)
June 20, 2019 – Shelved as: to-review
June 20, 2019 – Shelved as: series-binge
June 20, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-1 of 1 (1 new)

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message 1: by CJ (new) - added it

CJ I'm worried about this one after your review. I love the audiobook narrators, too, but maybe they really will always be Sean and Puck.

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