Book Series Review : An Ember In The Ashes Series by Sabaa Tahir

I remember the first time I saw this book on a bookstore. I feel in love with the cover and ended up loving the blurb. However, I’m not convinced and I’m not confident this book will win my heart. I ended up taking it and returning the book on the shelf over and over again.

It’s not until after quite some time, I started hearing things and reading stuffs regarding the book. There are TONS of good reviews about this one! I’m not the type of reader who loves a four books series, so picking this up is a huge deal for me.

But oh well. Here’s my thoughts about the series!

1. An Ember In The Ashes (An Ember In The Ashes, #1) by Sabaa Tahir

Genre : Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Page : 446 pages
Published : 9th February 2016

— Blurb —

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

— Mini Review —

“Life is made of so many moments that mean nothing. Then one day, a single moment comes along to define every second that comes after. Such moments are tests of courage, of strength.”

This book captured me right in the beginning of the book. I could already feel the tension build up and simultaneously, I could feel along with the characters! Dude, it’s SO RARE to care for the characters right at the beginning of the book and this book just NAILED it.

I done a re-read of this book after a year and I still love it to hell. But right here right now, I’m going to share my first experience I feel reading this book. This book is so good at giving feels, so good at squeezing your heart, made you clench your fist and made you hold breath away.

And what I didn’t expect is the COMPLICATED love line consisted of many parties inside and I absolutely LOVE it to the moon and back. Yes, you read it right. Since when complicated is a good thing? Since THIS BOOK! Because this book is so good at playing readers’ emotion and the writing style is just so good.

The characters are all so captivating and the plot of the story are just unpredictable. Even doing a re-read feels like reading this book anew. I finished this book in two days and I jump almost immediately to the sequel.

“The field of battle is my temple. The swordpoint is my priest. The dance of death is my prayer. The killing blow is my release.”

2. A Torch Against The Night (An Ember In The Ashes, #2) by Sabaa Tahir

Genre : Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Page : 452 pages
Published : 30th August 2016

— Blurb —

Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.

Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.

But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.

Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.

— Mini Review —

“So long as you fight the darkness, you stand in the light.”

What a lovely title!

Truth to be told, this book is the one that caught my eyes. I love how the title are so full of hope and has a fantasy vibe to it. And the cover combination? It’s just lovely.

Anyway, moving on.

First, I didn’t know that this book will be so ADDICTIVE! When others sleep, eat, rest, conversing, I find myself in the corner, holding this masterpiece tight in my grasp. The tension is always there, the fast pace never seems to slow down and every time I turn a new page, made me want to finished the next five pages at once to make sure things are going great for the characters (which apparently in this case, it might be easier to sell a ruby. ha!)

I like the book before, but I loved this version to the moon and back. The characters development are so well-written and the plot. WOW. I read, and the moment the book ends, I was like : “Wow. How things have escalates this far.”

I done a re-read of this book too and again, it keeps me amazed and awake (well, with black eyes tommorow morning) but I can’t stop myself from reading and it’s all worth it. As additional information, I finished this one in a day 🙂

“Your emotions make you human. Even the unpleasant ones have a purpose. Don’t lock them away. If you ignore them, they just get louder and angrier.”

3. A Reaper At The Gates (An Ember In The Ashes, #3) by Sabaa Tahir

Genre : Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Page : 458 pages
Published : 12th June 2018

— Blurb —

Helene Aquilla, the Blood Shrike, is desperate to protect her sister’s life and the lives of everyone in the Empire. Yet danger lurks on all sides. Emperor Marcus, haunted by his past, grows increasingly unstable and violent, while Keris Veturia, the ruthless Commandant, capitalizes on the Emperor’s volatility to grow her own power—regardless of the carnage she leaves in her path.

Far to the east, Laia of Serra knows that the fate of the world lies not in the machinations of the Martial court, but in stopping the Nightbringer. During the hunt to bring him down, Laia faces unexpected threats from those she hoped would help her, and is drawn into a battle she never thought she’d have to fight.

And in the land between the living and the dead, Elias Veturius has given up his freedom to serve as Soul Catcher. However, in doing so, he has vowed himself to an ancient power that demands his complete surrender—even if that means abandoning the woman he loves.

— Mini Review —

“Hope is stronger than fear. It is stronger than hate.”

First of all, this book feels like a whole new adventure! Because things have escalates this far and I absolutely never expected it at all!

I highly enjoy the introduction of the book and it’s such a pleasure to read how the characters have thus, gone this far. Their development compare to the first and second book are immense and impressive. I also love how there are varied issues for this book.

But then, the more I read, I realized I do not feel the ‘Woah’ moment I felt like the previous two books. I feel the story gets a bit draggy and I think this plot are quite um, deviates perhaps? The main mission is to free ther slaves but suddenly there are too much chaos to handle. I love how varied all the issues are and it’s been a fun read, but I think I would love it better if they focused more on the liberation part.

It’s like the books before race through all the tension, gone this far and the moment I think the big game will happened, it slows down. This third book is more about tactics, politics and planning before jumping right to the big war.

But oh well, it’s still an exciting read!

“There is a price for greed and violence. We do not always know who will pay it. But for good or ill, it will be paid.”

3. A Sky Beyond The Storm (An Ember In The Ashes, #4) by Sabaa Tahir

Genre : Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Page : 516 pages
Published : 1st August 2021

— Blurb —

The long-imprisoned jinn are on the attack, wreaking bloody havoc in villages and cities alike. But for the Nightbringer, vengeance on his human foes is just the beginning.

At his side, Commandant Keris Veturia declares herself Empress, and calls for the heads of any and all who defy her rule. At the top of the list? The Blood Shrike and her remaining family.

Laia of Serra, now allied with the Blood Shrike, struggles to recover from the loss of the two people most important to her. Determined to stop the approaching apocalypse, she throws herself into the destruction of the Nightbringer. In the process, she awakens an ancient power that could lead her to victory–or to an unimaginable doom.

And deep in the Waiting Place, the Soul Catcher seeks only to forget the life–and love–he left behind. Yet doing so means ignoring the trail of murder left by the Nightbringer and his jinn. To uphold his oath and protect the human world from the supernatural, the Soul Catcher must look beyond the borders of his own land. He must take on a mission that could save–or destroy–all that he knows.

— Mini Review —

“Emifal firdaant. May death claim me first.”

Finally! Last book! I couldn’t wait with how this book will end!

To be honest? I highly enjoy this book. New characters from the book before contributes a lot to this new plot and how much I love the instant tension! I’m not gonna lie, but I got goosebumps all over in some specific scenes!

However, I’m so dissapointed in myself for having lost interest with the book during half of my reads. This book is obviously a good read but I think I miss the dynamic “Boom!” this book delivers with An Ember In The Ashes and A Torch Against The Night. I did not feel those dynamic with A Reaper At The Gates and not with this book too.

Due to that, I think I kind of lost interest and I continue reading this book, just so because I’m dead curious with how this book ends and I love the characters so much.

But like I said before, I highly enjoy this book and I obviously enjoy this book more than A Reaper At The Gates. Anyhow, I think it’s a good finale for the series.

“You are broken. But it is broken things that are the sharpest. The deadliest. It is broken things that are the most unexpected, and the most underestimated”


I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been waiting for ages to get to this part. I’m dying to rant everything about the characters! Personally, I think the most amazing element of these series is the characters. There are four main characters in the book that made these series lovable and for sure, unique.

1. Elias Veturius

Not gonna lie, but Elias is the first thing that made me love An Ember In The Ashes and made me go through all those late night reads of four freaking books. I love how strong, fast, quick-witted and clever he is. Most of all, I love how he works with his freaking high intuitive brain and his monologues are always a delight. I think Elias monologues are the one thing that set such a deep impact for me for these series.

2. Laia

I love how Laia’s characters are not the characters who craves all she wants and get what she wants. I love how this book is so freaking good at writing and the way it shows how Laia work for it and shown her progress is a wonder. I love how Laia’s characters improves step by step and not with instant result.

3. Helene Aquilla

Not gonna lie, but the first time reading these series, Helene is a character that I don’t see much in the series. I know she is as qualified as Elias but I do not favour her much. However, as I read, I admire and look up to Helene a lot. By the time I read the last book, how much I realized I love her strong character!

4. Harper Avitas

This character. How much I hate there are such little reference and popularity to this golden boy! Here’s one thing I’m sure we all going to agree: you’re going to love Harper and protect him at all cost. Period. Like Helene, I’m not fond of Harper in the beginning. But I know he will play a big part in the story once he came out. He’s the type of character that grows on you the more you know and understand him.


Let me begin this long journey.

I start reading these series due to positive reviews for An Ember In The Ashes after neglecting these series in a bookstore. But aside from positive review, I fall in love with the blurb too! I mean, it implies of swords, fight and blood (yes, it’s cruel).

And complicated relationship Elias and Laia will faced.

I ended up loving An Ember In The Ashes because the book give me a lot of feels and the writing is just so good (even though Elias made this book 95% better) I started liking the book and contributes to read another sequel.

Oh how much I love A Torch Against The Night! This second book is the one book that made me fall in love with the series and I promise myself to read another one ASAP!

However, I think A Reaper At The Gates and A Sky Beyonnd The Storm lack something in the story. Personally, I think these last two books feels like a different dimention to the first two books. An Ember In The Ashes and A Torch Against The Night are direct on point. Just like Elias, the plot are fast, intense, cruel and yes, addictivce.

Whereas in A Reaper At The Gates and A Sky Beyond The Storm, I do not feel those dynamic. I could understand why the story progress anew but sincerely, I hope the book could at least have the same with the two books before.

But honestly, I think what the last two books are missing is Elias. I love Elias in the first two books but I find him to be quite different in the last two books. Again, I understand the reason as to why he has to be made this way. But I hope Elias characters could go back to who he was before, just like in An Ember In The Ashes and A Torch Against The Night.

But overall, it’s a freaking good series. And believe it or not, A Torch Against The Night is one of my favourite book now!

Does this series worth your time? Overall, yes. Does this series deserves a re-read? I’ve re-read An Ember In The Ashes and A Torch Against The Night, I believe A Reaper At The Gates and A Sky Beyond The Storm deserves a re-read too! But I think it might not be soon for me.

Author: Celine

2 thoughts on “Book Series Review : An Ember In The Ashes Series by Sabaa Tahir

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