An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1) An Ember in the Ashes discussion


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Who is cook, really?

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Connor Hey guys I just finished reading An Ember in the Ashes and it was AWESOME!!!! After reading until 1 AM, I found myself not being able to sleep. I was to busy thinking about the book when I realized, cook is probably Laia's mom! I know it sounds a little crazy, but think about it. The commandant never said she killed the lioness. Cook's face is brutally disfigured and her voice is destroyed thanks to the commandant so no one could identify her. It also fits the commandant's style, a fate worse than death. It is better for Laia's mom (a.k.a Cook if my suspicions are right ) to die than suffer being her captor's personal slave. What are you thoughts? I would really like to hear it!


Selina I'm actually thinking it is Laia's grandmother on her father's side. When Cook was telling her story, she said some words against Laia's mother, but implied that she had better thoughts about her father.


message 3: by Connor (last edited Aug 23, 2015 04:29PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Connor EXACTLY!!! After what she has been through, don't you think she would hate herself and regret choosing the resistance over her family? Although, I can totally see your point of view. :D


Anya omg !!! it could be, hope the sequel would prove more points we long asked for :--(


Connor YES!!! Can't wait!!


Brianne I thought the same thing, that Cook is Laia's mom! I thought she probably said those things about the Lioness because of how mad at herself she was. I hope that we learn if we are right about our suspicions.


Angela I was thinking this after Cook told the Laia and Izzi the story of the Scholars and Nightbringer!

Firstly, if you go back to when Cook first told Laia how she became a slave, she was curious about who Darin was. She asked Laia who he was before telling her story. If you also re-read that part, Laia said that Cook's eyes were familiar.

Second, she knew without any hints that Laia's mom was the Lioness...even when no one, not even Mazen, knew that the Lioness had 2 other children. And when she first laid eyes on Laia, she was "unnaturally still".

Thirdly, her blue eyes. The same blue eyes as Laia's Nan. That was her only identifiable feature!

Lastly, the timing of when she came to be a slave is consistent to when the Lioness was supposed to have died: more than a decade ago.

So, I think you are right! She could be the Lioness!


message 8: by [deleted user] (last edited Feb 14, 2016 01:50AM) (new)

Also when Cook first saw Laia:

“Who—” She takes me in, standing unnaturally still.
Then, without explanation, she turns and limps out the back door


Her reaction shows how much it hit her to see Laia. It all makes sense now.


message 9: by Sara (new) - added it

Sara Connor wrote: "Hey guys I just finished reading An Ember in the Ashes and it was AWESOME!!!! After reading until 1 AM, I found myself not being able to sleep. I was to busy thinking about the book when I realized..."

I had the exact same idea!!!!!!!! After she helped Laia to save Elias I was like "Oh!!! Maybe Laia's mom isn't dead!!!!! Maybe cook is Laia's mom!!!!!!!!!!" I'm really hoping she is.


prag ♻ OMG I never though of this- but it could be true. There is a very strong possibility it is true. I originally thought she betrayed them, but this makes more sense. Let's see.


message 11: by Emma (new) - rated it 5 stars

Emma Yaaass! This is my thought too! I actually just wrote a blog post on this (and I'm totally gonna link this discussion in it). My addition is that Laia's grandfather was an apothecary/healer type who mixes different combinations of things to heal...but what if at some point he also knew how to make other substances (like explosives or flammables) and taught Laia's mom how to make them (and therefore Cook?).


message 12: by Nur (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nur Connor wrote: "Hey guys I just finished reading An Ember in the Ashes and it was AWESOME!!!! After reading until 1 AM, I found myself not being able to sleep. I was to busy thinking about the book when I realized..."

-To disprove your theory- Cook was said to be old. Really old. She could not have had a 17-year old kid if she was that old.


message 13: by Sara (new) - added it

Sara Nur wrote: "Connor wrote: "Hey guys I just finished reading An Ember in the Ashes and it was AWESOME!!!! After reading until 1 AM, I found myself not being able to sleep. I was to busy thinking about the book ..."

It didn't say she was really old! Laia couldn't tell how old she was because of the scars.


message 14: by Nur (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nur Sara wrote: "Nur wrote: "Connor wrote: "Hey guys I just finished reading An Ember in the Ashes and it was AWESOME!!!! After reading until 1 AM, I found myself not being able to sleep. I was to busy thinking abo..."
Nope. She specifically stated that '' Cook had to be in her seventies''...


message 15: by Crystal (new)

Crystal I think it just appears that way because of her voice and the fact that her face is so scarred, you can't tell. I immediately thought Cook was her mom. The fact that they've disguised her so well, made her unrecognizable, made me think that right away. Making her seriously scarred is one thing, but disguising her voice? That has to be done for a big reveal. Otherwise, it would seem unnecessary.


message 16: by Nur (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nur Crystal wrote: "I think it just appears that way because of her voice and the fact that her face is so scarred, you can't tell. I immediately thought Cook was her mom. The fact that they've disguised her so well, ..."

No, I still do not think that she's her mom, really but I do believe that she is somehow related to Laia


Kelly I think she definitely is. I think she is just horribly disfigured. In the sequel, she threatens Helene with a slow death if she harms Laia in any way. Why would she be so attached to Laia otherwise. Also, in the Conversation that Helene overhears between Keris and the nightbringer, the nightbringer says he is limited in how he can deal with the cook and if the commandant wants to kill the cook she has to do it herself. We find out that those limitations are tied to Laia's mom having owned the arm bracelet. Also, he accuses the commandant of creating the problem with cook through her obsession.


message 18: by Nur (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nur We shall see in the third book :)


Morgan Erb I'm almost done with Torch Against the Night and I think she might be as well. At first I agreed that she was too old to ever be in her 70s but Helene describes her as spry enough to climb up to her window... no person in their 70s could do that. Then it made me think of this book about the Holocaust I read as a kid when a 16 year old girl was finally liberated and she was so haggard from the camp that someone mistook her for a woman in her 40s or 50s. Grief, torture, etc. That ages people. I think there's a very good chance of her being Laia's mother.


Carla I'm late to the conversation but I definitely have to agree. If not mother, a relative nonetheless. But I'm leaning towards mother.


Mandy Angela wrote: "I was thinking this after Cook told the Laia and Izzi the story of the Scholars and Nightbringer!

Firstly, if you go back to when Cook first told Laia how she became a slave, she was curious about..."


good idea


Mandy Nur wrote: "We shall see in the third book :)"
I honestly can not wait that long.


Malia THEORY
**SPOILERS**
Cook is either Laia or Darin's mom;
We know that Laia and Darin look a lot different, we know that cook didn't seem to like Laia's mom (like, at all) but she spoke kindly of her father, we also know Laia mentioned that she remembered her mom and dad fighting a lot; And in a Torch against the night, cook was very protective over Laia ( telling Helene that she'll gut her if the harms Laia)
I don't know lol it's just a thought I had


message 24: by Amy (new) - rated it 1 star

Amy Curtiss Connor wrote: "Hey guys I just finished reading An Ember in the Ashes and it was AWESOME!!!! After reading until 1 AM, I found myself not being able to sleep. I was to busy thinking about the book when I realized..."

OF COURSE cook is her mother! The foreshadowing here is ridiculously obvious. Ew. Hate this book. Sorry.


message 25: by Sarrareader (new)

Sarrareader Cook has deep blue eyes (described in the books as “dark agate blue” “sapphire” and “blue darkness”). Laia describes her eyes a familiar in at least one moment. Do we know the color of Laia’s mother’s eyes? (Or Darins eyes? Because Darin is supposed to look just like his mother… so presumably the same eye color). Lis looked like her mother, too, yes? Because I think Lis had blue eyes. In the scenes where Helene is healing Laia and bringing her back from the brink of death, Laia dreams of her sister, Lis, with dark hair and blue eyes, before Dream-Lis turns into Helene (who also has blue eyes, though her eyes are described as brighter blue I think).


message 26: by Sarrareader (new)

Sarrareader The rage and choking emotion Cook expressed when speaking about Laia's mom it totally sounds like self-loathing/personal guilt/tormented regret and bitterness:

"Knew your mother? Knew her? yes I knew here. Always liked y-y-your father better." (to which Laia's narration voice comments "Strange. I've never heard her stutter.") "Kind man. Sm-smart man. Not-not like your mother. [...] Your mother--isn't--worth your words. Never--never listened to anything but her own selfishness. The _Lioness_. She's the reason--the reason--I'm here. The Lioness, the Resistance, and their grand plans. Traitors. Liars. F-fools."

But I’m stuck on the age thing. Torture of body and soul can absolutely age a person … but Laia and Helene seem so confident about the age thing. So just for the sake of argument, let’s say presumed age of 70 rules out “mother.” Or Lis, for that matter. Or other female relatives in Laia’s generation or the generation above her. The foreshadowing of a family connection is still so strong:

- Helene saying the shadow/memory of who Cook used to be reminds her of Laia
- The way she stutters "for the first time" and becomes tearful and rageful in Ember1 talking about Laia's parents
- Her investment in Laia's survival
- The way she reacts when she first see's the new Slave Girl walk into the Blackcliff kitchen (I think it's got to be recognition and emotional reactions that make her freeze, then turn around and leave the room that first meeting)
- She recognizes Laia on sight (Laia looks just like her father)

So what if Cook is Laia's paternal grandmother? Jahan’s mother. Do we know anything about Jahan’s family? One that fits Cook’s story where the “Commandant killed everyone she ever knew. Everyone she loved.” ? She could have thought Laia and Darin were dead, when the rest of Laia’s family were killed? Is that too much of a stretch? The resistance didn’t know that Mirra and Jahan had more than one daughter (Lis). Maybe grandmother didn't know either. So when she asks who Darin is, that's a genuine question.

We do know there was conflict between Laia’s mother and father about her mother's zeal to leave husband and kids for the sake of the resistance. And what if Mirra’s mother in law was caught up in the resistance because of her son's involvement...and maybe her son was ultimately caught up in the resistance because of Mirra… and if Jahan’s mother watched how her son's life was destroyed by his marriage to The Lioness… OR wait, maybe Jahan’s mother is the one who introduced Mirra and Jahan to the resistance in the first place!? And that’s where all the guilt and torment comes from? Or maybe she saw herself in Mirra?


message 27: by Sarrareader (new)

Sarrareader "Also, in the Conversation that Helene overhears between Keris and the nightbringer, the nightbringer says he is limited in how he can deal with the cook and if the commandant wants to kill the cook she has to do it herself. We find out that those limitations are tied to Laia's mom having owned the arm bracelet. Also, he accuses the commandant of creating the problem with cook through her obsession."

Woah I missed this the first time through. Good point. Why does this mean it has to be Laia's mom? Couldn't it be someone else who has owned the arm bracelet? Lis? or someone else?


Minglu Jiang Wait, but in A Torch Against the Night, Izzi tells Laia about Cook and her on the ghost wagon, going from Antium to Serra. If Cook is Laia's mother, wouldn't she already be in Serra?


Andrew Laia's mom ;D


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