I know this rating is weirdly specific, but hear me out.
Sabaa Tahir’s fantasy novel An Ember in the Ashes follows a slave, Laia, and a soldier, Elias, who are currently living under the Martial empire. But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, she decides that she must do everything she can to get him back. She makes a deal with the rebels, and in order for them to save her brother, she must spy for them at the Empire’s greatest military academy. There, she meets Elias, the military academy’s finest soldier. The only problem is, Elias has been planning his escape to freedom from the Empire for months now.
When I finally finished this book, I found myself only being able to describe it in one word, ‘eh’. An Ember in the Ashes was definitely not a bad book. Tahir does a great job of building a beautiful setting, switching the POV, and involving lots of gory action. The writing was both outstanding and engaging. However, there were also a lot of not-so-appealing parts of this book. For one, Laia was probably the most aggravating character of all time. She’s so passive and really alienates the reader, considering she’s supposedly one of the main characters. I understand that Tahir was going for the idea that not all female characters have to be all badass and awesome, but the execution could have been a lot better. Also, there wasn’t simply a love triangle. No, it was a love square. Having to hear about each character liking some character and that character liking someone else and so on gave me a gigantic headache.
Overall, I didn’t like this book. But I didn’t hate it either. I would recommend it to people who like mainstream YA novels like The Maze Runner, Red Queen, and Divergent.