An Ember in the Ashes (Anglais) Broché – 11 février 2016
|Neuf à partir de||Occasion à partir de|
Téléchargement audio, Version intégrale
|Gratuit avec l'offre d'essai Audible au lieu de EUR 17,74|
- Choisissez parmi 17 000 points de collecte en France
- Les membres du programme Amazon Prime bénéficient de livraison gratuites illimitées
- Trouvez votre point de collecte et ajoutez-le à votre carnet d’adresses
- Sélectionnez cette adresse lors de votre commande
Produits fréquemment achetés ensemble
Les clients ayant acheté cet article ont également acheté
Description du produit
My big brother reaches home in the dark hours before dawn, when even ghosts take their rest. He smells of steel and coal and forge. He smells of the enemy.
He folds his scarecrow body through the window, bare feet silent on the rushes. A hot desert wind blows in after him, rustling the limp curtains. His sketchbook falls to the floor, and he nudges it under his bunk with a quick foot, as if it’s a snake.
Where have you been, Darin? In my head, I have the courage to ask the question, and Darin trusts me enough to answer. Why do you keep disappearing? Why, when Pop and Nan need you? When I need you?
Every night for almost two years, I’ve wanted to ask. Every night, I’ve lacked the courage. I have one sibling left. I don’t want him to shut me out like he has everyone else.
But tonight’s different. I know what’s in his sketchbook. I know what it means.
“You shouldn’t be awake.” Darin’s whisper jolts me from my thoughts. He has a cat’s sense for traps—he got it from our mother. I sit up on the bunk as he lights the lamp. No use pretending to be asleep.
“It’s past curfew, and three patrols have gone by. I was worried.”
“I can avoid the soldiers, Laia. Lots of practice.” He rests his chin on my bunk and smiles Mother’s sweet, crooked smile. A familiar look—the one he gives me if I wake from a nightmare or we run out of grain. Everything will be fine, the look says.
He picks up the book on my bed. “Gather in the Night,” he reads the title. “Spooky. What’s it about?”
“I just started it. It’s about a jinn—” I stop. Clever. Very clever. He likes hearing stories as much as I like telling them. “Forget that. Where were you? Pop had a dozen patients this morning.”
And I filled in for you because he can’t do so much alone. Which left Nan to bottle the trader’s jams by herself. Except she didn’t finish. Now the trader won’t pay us, and we’ll starve this winter, and why in the skies don’t you care?
I say these things in my head. The smile’s already dropped off Darin’s face.
“I’m not cut out for healing,” he says. “Pop knows that.”
I want to back down, but I think of Pop’s slumped shoulders this morning. I think of the sketchbook.
“Pop and Nan depend on you. At least talk to them. It’s been months.”
I wait for him to tell me that I don’t understand. That I should leave him be. But he just shakes his head, drops down into his bunk, and closes his eyes like he can’t be bothered to reply.
“I saw your drawings.” The words tumble out in a rush, and Darin’s up in an instant, his face stony. “I wasn’t spying,” I say. “One of the pages was loose. I found it when I changed the rushes this morning.”
“Did you tell Nan and Pop? Did they see?”
“Laia, listen.” Ten hells, I don’t want to hear this. I don’t want to hear his excuses. “What you saw is dangerous,” he says. “You can’t tell anyone about it. Not ever. It’s not just my life at risk. There are others—”
“Are you working for the Empire, Darin? Are you working for the Martials?”
He is silent. I think I see the answer in his eyes, and I feel ill. My brother is a traitor to his own people? My brother is siding with the Empire?
If he hoarded grain, or sold books, or taught children to read, I’d understand. I’d be proud of him for doing the things I’m not brave enough to do. The Empire raids, jails, and kills for such “crimes,” but teaching a six-year-old her letters isn’t evil—not in the minds of my people, the Scholar people.
But what Darin has done is sick. It’s a betrayal.
“The Empire killed our parents,” I whisper. “Our sister.”
I want to shout at him, but I choke on the words. The Martials conquered Scholar lands five hundred years ago, and since then, they’ve done nothing but oppress and enslave us. Once, the Scholar Empire was home to the finest universities and libraries in the world. Now, most of our people can’t tell a school from an armory.
“How could you side with the Martials? How, Darin?”
“It’s not what you think, Laia. I’ll explain everything, but—”
He pauses suddenly, his hand jerking up to silence me when I ask for the promised explanation. He cocks his head toward the window.
Through the thin walls, I hear Pop’s snores, Nan shifting in her sleep, a mourning dove’s croon. Familiar sounds. Home sounds.
Darin hears something else. The blood drains from his face, and dread flashes in his eyes. “Laia,” he says. “Raid.”
“But if you work for the Empire—” Then why are the soldiers raiding us?
“I’m not working for them.” He sounds calm. Calmer than I feel. “Hide the sketchbook. That’s what they want. That’s what they’re here for.”
Then he’s out the door, and I’m alone. My bare legs move like cold molasses, my hands like wooden blocks. Hurry, Laia!
Usually, the Empire raids in the heat of the day. The soldiers want Scholar mothers and children to watch. They want fathers and brothers to see another man’s family enslaved. As bad as those raids are, the night raids are worse. The night raids are for when the Empire doesn’t want witnesses.
I wonder if this is real. If it’s a nightmare. It’s real, Laia. Move.
I drop the sketchbook out the window into a hedge. It’s a poor hiding place, but I have no time. Nan hobbles into my room. Her hands, so steady when she stirs vats of jam or braids my hair, flutter like frantic birds, desperate for me to move faster.
She pulls me into the hallway. Darin stands with Pop at the back door. My grandfather’s white hair is scattered as a haystack and his clothes are wrinkled, but there’s no sleep in the deep grooves of his face. He murmurs something to my brother, then hands him Nan’s largest kitchen knife. I don’t know why he bothers. Against the Serric steel of a Martial blade, the knife will only shatter.
“You and Darin leave through the backyard,” Nan says, her eyes darting from window to window. “They haven’t surrounded the house yet.”
No. No. No. “Nan,” I breathe her name, stumbling when she pushes me toward Pop.
“Hide in the east end of the Quarter—” Her sentence ends in a choke, her eyes on the front window. Through the ragged curtains, I catch a flash of a liquid silver face. My stomach clenches.
“A Mask,” Nan says. “They’ve brought a Mask. Go, Laia. Before he gets inside.”
“What about you? What about Pop?”
“We’ll hold them off.” Pop shoves me gently out the door. “Keep your secrets close, love. Listen to Darin. He’ll take care of you. Go.”
Darin’s lean shadow falls over me, and he grabs my hand as the door closes behind us. He slouches to blend into the warm night, moving silently across the loose sand of the backyard with a confidence I wish I felt. Although I am seventeen and old enough to control my fear, I grip his hand like it’s the only solid thing in this world.
I’m not working for them, Darin said. Then whom is he working for? Somehow, he got close enough to the forges of Serra to draw, in detail, the creation process of the Empire’s most precious asset: the unbreakable, curved scims that can cut through three men at once.
Half a millennium ago, the Scholars crumbled beneath the Martial invasion because our blades broke against their superior steel. Since then, we have learned nothing of steelcraft. The Martials hoard their secrets the way a miser hoards gold. Anyone caught near our city’s forges without good reason—Scholar or Martial—risks execution.
If Darin isn’t with the Empire, how did he get near Serra’s forges? How did the Martials find out about his sketchbook?
On the other side of the house, a fist pounds on the front door. Boots shuffle, steel clinks. I look around wildly, expecting to see the silver armor and red capes of Empire legionnaires, but the backyard is still. The fresh night air does nothing to stop the sweat rolling down my neck. Distantly, I hear the thud of drums from Blackcliff, the Mask training school. The sound sharpens my fear into a hard point stabbing at my center. The Empire doesn’t send those silver-faced monsters on just any raid.
The pounding on the door sounds again.
“In the name of the Empire,” an irritated voice says, “I demand you open this door.”
As one, Darin and I freeze.
“Doesn’t sound like a Mask,” Darin whispers. Masks speak softly with words that cut through you like a scim. In the time it would take a legionnaire to knock and issue an order, a Mask would already be in the house, weapons slicing through anyone in his way.
Darin meets my eyes, and I know we’re both thinking the same thing. If the Mask isn’t with the rest of the soldiers at the front door, then where is he?
“Don’t be afraid, Laia,” Darin says. “I won’t let anything happen to you.”
I want to believe him, but my fear is a tide tugging at my ankles, pulling me under. I think of the couple that lived next door: raided, imprisoned, and sold into slavery three weeks ago. Book smugglers, the Martials said. Five days after that, one of Pop’s oldest patients, a ninety-three-year-old man who could barely walk, was executed in his own home, his throat slit from ear to ear. Resistance collaborator.
What will the soldiers do to Nan and Pop? Jail them? Enslave them?
We reach the back gate. Darin stands on his toes to unhook the latch when a scrape in the alley beyond stops him short. A breeze sighs past, sending a cloud of dust into the air.
Darin pushes me behind him. His knuckles are white around the knife handle as the gate swings open with a moan. A finger of terror draws a trail up my spine. I peer over my brother’s shoulder into the alley.
There is nothing out there but the quiet shifting of sand. Nothing but the occasional gust of wind and the shuttered windows of our sleeping neighbors.
I sigh in relief and step around Darin.
That’s when the Mask emerges from the darkness and walks through the gate.
The deserter will be dead before dawn.
His tracks zigzag like a struck deer’s in the dust of Serra’s catacombs. The tunnels have done him in. The hot air is too heavy down here, the smells of death and rot too close.
The tracks are more than an hour old by the time I see them. The guards have his scent now, poor bastard. If he’s lucky, he’ll die in the chase. If not . . .
Don’t think about it. Hide the backpack. Get out of here.
Skulls crunch as I shove a pack loaded with food and water into a wall crypt. Helene would give me hell if she could see how I’m treating the dead. But then, if Helene finds out why I’m down here in the first place, desecration will be the least of her complaints.
She won’t find out. Not until it’s too late. Guilt pricks at me, but I shove it away. Helene’s the strongest person I know. She’ll be fine without me.
For what feels like the hundredth time, I look over my shoulder. The tunnel is quiet. The deserter led the soldiers in the opposite direction. But safety’s an illusion I know never to trust. I work quickly, piling bones back in front of the crypt to cover my trail, my senses primed for anything out of the ordinary.
One more day of this. One more day of paranoia and hiding and lying. One day until graduation. Then I’ll be free.
As I rearrange the crypt’s skulls, the hot air shifts like a bear waking from hibernation. The smells of grass and snow cut through the fetid breath of the tunnel. Two seconds is all I have to step away from the crypt and kneel, examining the ground as if there might be tracks here. Then she is at my back.
“Elias? What are you doing down here?”
“Didn’t you hear? There’s a deserter loose.” I keep my attention fixed on the dusty floor. Beneath the silver mask that covers me from forehead to jaw, my face should be unreadable. But Helene Aquilla and I have been together nearly every day of the fourteen years we’ve been training at Blackcliff Military Academy; she can probably hear me thinking.
She comes around me silently, and I look up into her eyes, as blue and pale as the warm waters of the southern islands. My mask sits atop my face, separate and foreign, hiding my features as well as my emotions. But Hel’s mask clings to her like a silvery second skin, and I can see the slight furrow in her brow as she looks down at me. Relax, Elias, I tell myself. You’re just looking for a deserter.
“He didn’t come this way,” Hel says. She runs a hand over her hair, braided, as always, into a tight, silver-blonde crown. “Dex took an auxiliary company off the north watchtower and into the East Branch tunnel. You think they’ll catch him?”
Aux soldiers, though not as highly trained as legionnaires and nothing compared to Masks, are still merciless hunters. “Of course they’ll catch him.” I fail to keep the bitterness out of my voice, and Helene gives me a hard look. “The cowardly scum,” I add. “Anyway, why are you awake? You weren’t on watch this morning.” I made sure of it.
“Those bleeding drums.” Helene looks around the tunnel. “Woke everyone up.”
The drums. Of course. Deserter, they’d thundered in the middle of the graveyard watch. All active units to the walls. Helene must have decided to join the hunt. Dex, my lieutenant, would have told her which direction I’d gone. He’d have thought nothing of it.
“I thought the deserter might have come this way.” I turn from my hidden pack to look down another tunnel. “Guess I was wrong. I should catch up to Dex.”
“Much as I hate to admit it, you’re not usually wrong.” Helene cocks her head and smiles at me. I feel that guilt again, wrenching as a fist to the gut. She’ll be furious when she learns what I’ve done. She’ll never forgive me. Doesn’t matter. You’ve decided. Can’t turn back now.
Hel traces the dust on the ground with a fair, practiced hand. “I’ve never even seen this tunnel before.”
A drop of sweat crawls down my neck. I ignore it.
“It’s hot, and it reeks,” I say. “Like everything else down here.” Come on, I want to add. But doing so would be like tattooing “I am up to no good” on my forehead. I keep quiet and lean against the catacomb wall, arms crossed.
The field of battle is my temple. I mentally chant a saying my grandfather taught me the day he met me, when I was six. He insists it sharpens the mind the way a whetstone sharpens a blade. The swordpoint is my priest. The dance of death is my prayer. The killing blow is my release.
Helene peers at my blurred tracks, following them, somehow, to the crypt where I stowed my pack, to the skulls piled there. She’s suspicious, and the air between us is suddenly tense.
I need to distract her. As she looks between me and the crypt, I run my gaze lazily down her body. She stands two inches shy of six feet—a half-foot shorter than me. She’s the only female student at Blackcliff; in the black, close-fitting fatigues all students wear, her strong, slender form has always drawn admiring glances. Just not mine. We’ve been friends too long for that.
Come on, notice. Notice me leering and get mad about it.
When I meet her eyes, brazen as a sailor fresh into port, she opens her mouth, as if to rip into me. Then she looks back at the crypt.
If she sees the pack and guesses what I’m up to, I’m done for. She might hate doing it, but Empire law would demand she report me, and Helene’s never broken a law in her life.
I prepare my lie. Just wanted to get away for a couple of days, Hel. Needed some time to think. Didn’t want to worry you.
Without thought, I translate the disparate beats into the message they are meant to convey. Deserter caught. All students report to central courtyard immediately.
My stomach sinks. Some naïve part of me hoped the deserter would at least make it out of the city. “That didn’t take long,” I say. “We should go.”
I make for the main tunnel. Helene follows, as I knew she would. She would stab herself in the eye before she disobeyed a direct order. Helene is a true Martial, more loyal to the Empire than to her own mother. Like any good Mask-in-training, she takes Blackcliff’s motto to heart: Duty first, unto death.
I wonder what she would say if she knew what I’d really been doing in the tunnels.
I wonder how she’d feel about my hatred for the Empire.
I wonder what she would do if she found out her best friend is planning to desert. --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.
Revue de presse
Named one of the best books of the year by:
Barnes & Noble
The Wall Street Journal
The New York Public Library
“This novel is a harrowing, haunting reminder of what it means to be human—and how hope might be kindled in the midst of oppression and fear.” —The Washington Post
“[An Ember in the Ashes] thrusts its readers into a world marred by violence and oppression, yet does so with simple prose that can offer moments of loveliness in its clarity. This complexity makes Ember a worthy novel—and one as brave as its characters.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Sabaa Tahir spins a captivating, heart-pounding fantasy.” —Us Weekly
“An Ember in the Ashes mixes The Hunger Games with Game of Thrones...and adds a dash of Romeo and Juliet.” —The Hollywood Reporter
“Blew me away...This book is dark, complex, vivid, and romantic—expect to be completely transported.” —MTV.com
“Fast-paced, well-structured and full of twists and turns, An Ember in the Ashes is an evocative debut that has left me invested in knowing what happens next.” —NPR
“Once you get caught up in the story, it’s addictive, and there’s no way you can put it down before you figure out what happens to the characters you have fallen for over the course of the 400 some-odd pages. So I didn’t.” —Bustle
“One thing I can say for sure: this is a page-turner. There comes a moment when it's impossible to put it down. Sabaa Tahir is a strong writer, but most of all, she's a great storyteller.” —The Huffington Post
“This epic fantasy set in the Martial Empire has it all: danger and violence, secrets and lies, strong characters and forbidden romance and a touch of the supernatural.” —The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“A setting inspired by ancient Rome; a fierce battle for freedom in the face of tyranny; and a villain who makes Cersei Lannister and Dolores Umbridge look like a pair of pathetic amateurs...An Ember in the Ashes is at the top of our must-read list for 2015.” —MTV.com
“Be prepared to be blown away by this fantasy-thriller-adventure.” —Girls’ Life
“An Ember in the Ashes is a book that's too good to put down.” —RedEye
“Perfect for fans of Maggie Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races or Sarah Maas's Throne of Glass series…The book is already set to be a film, which will be EPIC!” —TeenVogue.com
* “Tahir’s deft, polished debut alternates between two very different perspectives on the same brutal world, deepening both in the contrast. In a tale brimming with political intrigue and haunted by supernatural forces, the true tension comes from watching Elias and Laia struggle to decide where their loyalties lie.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Tahir’s world-building is wonderfully detailed and the setting is an unusual one for fantasy novels. All of her characters, even minor ones, are fully realized....For fans of Game of Thrones and of Melina Marchetta’s Finnikin of the Rock.” —School Library Journal
“An original, well-constructed fantasy world...truly engaging.” —Kirkus Reviews
“An epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told.” —Hypable.com
“First-time novelist Tahir has written an ambitious sword-and-sand adventure story that is notable for its suspense and scope.” —Booklist
“Here's one of the year's most anticipated young-adult debuts.” —io9.com
“I was so engrossed with this book that I missed a connecting flight. If that doesn’t convince you to read An Ember in the Ashes, I don’t know what will. An explosive, heartbreaking, epic debut that will keep you glued to the pages. I hope the world’s ready for Sabaa Tahir.” —Marie Lu, New York Times bestselling author of Legend
“With An Ember in the Ashes, Sabaa Tahir shows us light in the darkness, hope in a world of despair, and the human spirit reaching for greatness in difficult times.” —#1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson
“An Ember in the Ashes is a spectacular page turner that asks readers to consider how far they’d go to save the ones they love. Sabaa Tahir is the next superstar in young adult fiction and her debut is as cinematic as Gladiator and as high-stakes as Game of Thrones.”—Holly Goldberg Sloan, New York Times bestselling author of Counting by 7s
“A heart-pounding story of love and loss, with the most original world-building I’ve read all year. Deeply felt and deeply moving, I could not put it down.” —Margaret Stohl, New York Times bestselling co-author of Beautiful Creatures
“This electric debut is a pulse-pounding action-packed Romeo and Juliet story in a richly imagined world with a great twist and heroic characters you’ll root for and won’t stop thinking about.” —Melissa de la Cruz, New York Times bestselling author of Frozen and The Ring and the Crown
From the Hardcover edition. --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.
Aucun appareil Kindle n'est requis. Téléchargez l'une des applis Kindle gratuites et commencez à lire les livres Kindle sur votre smartphone, tablette ou ordinateur.
Pour obtenir l'appli gratuite, saisissez votre numéro de téléphone mobile.
Détails sur le produit
Si vous vendez ce produit, souhaitez-vous suggérer des mises à jour par l'intermédiaire du support vendeur ?
Quels sont les autres articles que les clients achètent après avoir regardé cet article?
Meilleurs commentaires des clients
5 stars are not enough for this epic story with a taste of Arabian tale.
A beautiful slave girl. A masked warrior from the ruling class. One quest: freedom.
An Ember in the Ashes is my first book by Sabaa Tahir but it won’t be my last as she is worthy of her best Tribal tale-spinners. She weaves Laia and Elias legend like a true story teller and I was captivated, put under her narrative spell.
This story is set in an imaginary world and is about turning points in someone’s life. How some defining moments can alter the course of your life and put you to test. From that point, which path will you follow? Who will you chose to become?
”Life is made of many moments that mean nothing. Then one day, a single moment comes along to define every second that comes after.”
Centuries ago, the Martials invaded the Scholar’s land and crushed their people thanks to their scims, unbreakable curved blades able to cut through three men at once.
The scholars were enslaved and the Empire was created. Other people exist in this world: the Mariners living in the free country of Marinn and the Tribesmen , nomads living in desert under the Empire protectorate.
Scholars are treated like scum by the Martials and they have no freedom. Forbidden to read, to attend school, they are at the bottom of the totem pole. The Resistance has been at war for years now but has lost its former glory.
Laia’s parents were The Resistance leaders, her mother’s nickname was “The Lioness”. They’ve been betrayed and executed years ago, leaving Laia in the care or her grand-parents with her older brother Darin.
On a fateful night, their home is raided by the Centurions under the lead of a Mask. Laia’s grand-parents are killed and her brother taken prisoner. Laia escaped thanks to Darin. Riddled by guilt and disgusted by her cowardice, she’ll look after The Resistance and will ask their help to free her brother. But the leader of the rebels does not want to risk his men for nothing. Laia will have to spy Backcliff ‘s Commander and report to The Resistance. The Commander is a cold and cruel woman who takes pleasure in making others suffer. She loves punishing her slaves, preferably in disfiguring them.
Blackcliff is a military academy, the Mask training school. Masks are the empire elite warriors, forged through pain and suffering from a very young age at Blackcliff academy. They bear silver masks attached to their face. Blackcliff’s motto is " Duty first, unto death.”
Elias is one of these soldiers in training, soon to graduate, at the top of his class with Helene, the only female aspiring Mask and his best friend. Abandoned Commander’s son, hated by his mother, Elias has been raised by nomads until an Augur came to tear him from his adoptive family and put him in Blackcliff.
Elias does not share the Empire’s beliefs of the Martials being above everyone else. He is sick of killing and assassinating in the Empire’s name and he does not want to become an elite warrior. His goal is to desert and be free. If he is caught, death will be his punishment.
On the verge of deserting, Elias meets Cain, the Augur who sent him to Blackliff. He’ll be offered a choice, two paths, two possibilities but only one with the freedom of body and soul.
I won’t tell more about the plot as it was one of the many aspects I loved in this book.
There were so many things I adored in this book:
-first of all, the main characters Laia and Elias.
Laia was really a caterpillar turned into a butterfly. Dark haired scholar girl with golden eyes, she seems a really weak person in the beginning of the story. She chose to flee and abandon her brother to his fate. She is so far from her mother The Lioness. She feels guilty but ”there are two kinds of guilt: the kind that drowns you until you’re useless, and the kind that fires your soul to purpose.”
Laia’s guilt will push her to become stronger, bolder. She’ll take risks to free her brother, will endure torture and suffering but her resolve will never falter. She wanted others to save her but by the end of the book, she’ll take her destiny in her own hands and will truly live to The Lioness legend.
Elias is also a formidable and complex character and he too will be transformed. Aspiring deserter in the beginning, he chose to stay and embrace the harder path. Born in the Veturius powerful family but raised by a tribal woman, he is a fierce warrior with a compassionate heart. He has the potential and the opportunity to become a leader but he does not want power.
As different as Laia and Elias origins and upbringing may be, both refuse to lead their people. They only want freedom and peace. In this they are alike.
- Side characters play important roles in the story and they all feel real and solid. Helene, Elias’s friend, righteous and strong; Keenan, a handsome young resistant and Laia’s contact; Izzy, the disfigured slave girl; the Commander a cunning woman, clearly “on the dark side of the Force”; the evil twins Marcus “The Snake” and Zac “The Toad”. I loved how these characters were really well built and added layers to the story.
-the plot and the universe were also incredible. The story was full of action, ordeals and surprises. The intrigue is complex and many questions remain unanswered: What deal did Helene make? Why is it “him” that’s been chosen to be the next Emperor , what did the Augurs see? Why do masks fuse with their bearer’s face? Is Laia really a simple human without special powers? What did The Mask see in her then? I’d like to believe she is more than it seems.
The universe reminded me of some Arabian tale, full of Jinns, ghuls, efrits, Nightbringer. The depiction of the city made me envision some medieval city full of soldiers, traders, blacksmiths in the shadows of an impenetrable fortress.
- I was delighted to read about Laia and Elia’s evolution. I love when fictional characters are not static but evolve throughout the story as they experience life, love, grief, everything that is part of the “real life”. In the “real world”, everyone evolve as we follow our path and make good or bad experiences. Laia and Elias both made choices that transformed them, paving the way for the second installment.
-I admired the author’s determination to make her characters suffer. Usually, I don’t like when writers make their heroes endure atrocious sufferings but in this story, it served a purpose: to make them better, stronger. It was never just “for the sake of it”. Sabaa Tahir did certainly take literally the saying “what does not kill you make you stronger” as both Laia and Elias were not spared. I was horrified reading about all they went through but it never put me off the story. That’s how I know Sabaa Tahir is a true story teller.
-I don’t usually like love triangle (or is it a quadrangle in this case?) but in this story, it never came on too strong, even if I never knew who would end with who (and there is still a second book so, who knows?).
I know it’s been a very long review but if you love books like “The Winner’s Curse”; “Fire “, “Bitterblue” or “Graceling” by Kristin Cashore or “The Throne of Glass” series by Sarah J Maas this is another gem you don’t want to miss.
The second installment will be published in Augustus 2016 and I pre-ordered it already!
Mais il était là, et fallait essayer. Combien de temps j'ai mis pour lire ce livre?
An ember in the Ashes est un roman très introductif et pourtant bourré d'action. L'aspect introductif m'a rebuté. C'était long, je shippais sans avoir satisfaction, j'attendais des rencontres, des relations, un avancement dans la vie d'au moins un des deux personnages principaux, mais ça ne venait tout simplement pas. J'anticipais, je m'impatientais, et c'était toujours remis à plus tard.
Ceci explique mes 2 mois. Je sais c'est long, et c'est trop la honte.
Mais c'est comme ça.
Bien que j'attende encore des choses alors que j'ai terminé ce roman, les choses se mettent peu à peu en place (c'est introductif, remember?), et s'enfile au fur et à mesure de l'action explosive.
J'ai adoré Laia et Elias dès les premières lignes. J'ai adoré leur côté détruit, désespéré, assoiffé de liberté. J'avais envie d'entrer dans le livre et de les délivrer moi-même. De les aider.
La vie de lecteur est terriblement difficile.
Mais Laia et Elias sont introduits avec d'autres personnages que j'essaie tant bien que mal de détester, et je n'y parviens pas. Ne me demandez pas pourquoi, c'est la complexité de mon être qui veut ça.
En fin de compte, j'ai trouvé l'élément qui m'a accroché au roman, qui m'a rendu addict, qui me forçait à tourner page après page, assoiffée de la suite, de courage, de décisions difficile et de sentiments.
An Ember in the Ashes est bien plus qu'une simple dystopie. Ce roman nous plonge dans les choix difficiles, entre l'amour et l'amitié, entre le courage et l'envie de se replier sur soi, entre la fuite et le combat, entre l'orgueil et l'humilité, et c'est tout ça qui rend ce roman magnifique.
Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com
I did have a bit of trouble getting into the very beginning because Laia was suffering from a “too stupid to live” complex and was just a little too whiny. She did get better as the story went on. I think my favorite character was Elias and his principles he tries to stick to even when in a no win situation. Helene grates a little bit... Our bad guys are suitably bad and satisfactorily unlikable.
Over all, I was entertained and will keep reading the series.
Ember and I have a love-hate relationship. First, take the book entirely ignoring the romance. It's a beautifully written tale of suspense and intrigue heavily inspired by Arabic culture. Welcome to the empire, where the native Scholar people are subjugated under ruthless Martial rule. Laia is a Scholar. When her family is murdered in front of her and her brother is captured, she turns to the Scholar resistance to help free him. Their price: Laia must spy for the dangerous, vicious leader of the Martial school. Elias happens to be that woman's son. He's a brilliant warrior, but all he desires is desertion. However, he finds himself trapped in a contest to become the next emperor. The plot is engaging and twisty, with breath-holding near misses, moments of true horror, and deep friendships. And then there's the romance. I loved the attraction between Elias and Helene, and between Laia and Keenan. What I got instead was two wishy-washy love triangles that felt completely contrived and rife with insta-love. The ending is also quite cruel for a standalone. That said, the romance aside, Ember is a thrilling, cinematic book that is sure to be a 2015 favorite.
plot . 3/5
If you average the romance with the rest of the book, it comes out to about a three. The positive are, thankfully, many. Ember is an engaging game of cat-and-mouse in which Laia and Elias are a hair's breadth from death at any time. Laia navigates between the Resistance, her servant friends, and the vicious Commandant. She must find information for the Resistance so that they'll free her brother. Elias must contend with the Trials while also hiding his wishes to desert, dealing with the mysterious Augurs, and finding a balance between compassion and self-endangerment. There are many nighttime escapades, battles, and tests. The Trials themselves are a little shorter than I'd have liked, but they're certainly interesting. There's also a lot of girl power. Trigger warning: rape is a very real part of this society. Whether Tahir's use is realistic or gratuitous is a discussion for another post. Then there are the less good pieces. There are elements of the story that are too circumscribed. There's a whole magical, evil thing going on that's not at all wrapped up. Fine for a series; not so great for a standalone.
Seriously, though, you're not going to freaking do anything with the Nightbringer and the whole reason Laia goes underground in the first place!?
concept . 4/5
I'm getting a bit sick of the Rome-a-likes. It can be done very well (see Red Rising or The Winner's Curse), but it feels slapped together here. Yes, we have the big bad empire full of people with blatantly Latin names and a blatantly Latin culture. On the positive side, Tahir unflinchingly delves into the grit and horror of the empire, a facet that's often softened, especially in young adult fiction. It makes for a slave-master story that really cuts. The idea of the Trials, dangerous magical and physical games, is pretty fascinating, and fits into a fascinating broader story about the empire and its relationship with magic. On the negative side, who in the world names their people Scholars, Martials, Mariners, and Tribesmen? Seriously? These people only had one basic occupation and called themselves by that occupation in some common language? Making up names is not that hard.
characters . 4/5
Again, I loved the characters until the stupid love triangle things started. When they were separate, they were great. Laia is initially cowardly and weak; she grows over the course of the story, becoming more driven, showing her cleverness. She's also a little ruthless in service of her goal, which made me like her more. Elias is initially admirable, compassionate and obviously loved by his friends. But he uses Helene; for a best friend, he gives her no benefit of the doubt. This particularly irked me, because Helene was my favorite character. She's powerful, capable, and self-assured. She can hold her own in the ring or in a game of wits. She's fiercely loyal. She also has some uncomfortably antiquated beliefs, but you can see them being changed and challenged as the story goes on. The Commandant is another lovely character: ruthless, sadistic, but believably so. Some of Elias' friends blended together too much, but Laia's friend Izzi is delightfully sweet and brave.
style . 4/5
There were a few strange phrasings, I will say. It's odd to hear "You don't get it" or "Man up" from the mouths of people in a somewhat pre-medieval empire. Tahir could have formed her own colloquialisms to give the feel of slang without seeming too modern. That said, her prose is quite solid and frequently poetic. There's a lyrical quality to her writing that gives Ember the feel of an old heroic epic, like the thousand nights. Plot annoyances aside, the woman can truly write.
Dawn is still a blue rumor on the horizon when I limp into the commandant's chambers.
mechanics . 2/5
There's the romance. It can be largely summed up by something told to Laia: "Your heart wants Keenan, and yet your body is alight when Elias Veturius is near." Spoiler to no one: lust wins. For Elias it's similar, except Tahir is a little heavy-handed in trying to make Helene unsuitable. As Elias admits of Helene, "I'd underestimated her more than anyone." But he doesn't give her a chance to grow or to explain, and he doesn't seem to feel guilty about having abandoned her. Which makes him rather unlikable, and Laia unlikable by association--since she, also, is rather tactless in dismissing her unwanted beau. One love triangle is enough; two is disaster. I often felt like I was being tricked, prodded. "Like Laia! Dislike Helene!" As though Tahir was turning Helene and Keenan into straw people so as to sweep them more easily aside. Then Laia and Elias have about one interaction and are wholly smitten with one another; oh yeah, and all of the sudden their feelings for the others are totally gone because reasons. ...Right. Sadly, it felt like it was trying to do something that The Winner's Curse did far better.
Also, really? The vicious Commandant spares Laia's face? Obviously we couldn't like Laia if she weren't pretty.
take home message
If you can set aside the contrived romance and cumbersome love triangles, An Ember in the Ashes is an exciting, suspenseful epic with a Middle Eastern flavor.
Did I like the book? Yes. Did it leave me with burning questions and haunt me for days after reading? No.
What I liked:
Sabaa Tahir did so many things well in this book. An Ember in the Ashes is written from the dual perspectives of Laia, a Scholar slave, and Elias, a Martial training to be an elite assassin. Tahir moves between their stories effortlessly. The characters are so well developed, that even if the chapters weren’t labeled accordingly, there wouldn’t be any doubt who’s POV we were reading.
What I loved most was that every single character was strongly written and well fleshed out, even the secondary characters. You walked away feeling that you knew Cook, Izzy, and Keenan just as well as Elias, Helene, or Laia.
The Commandant is scary guys. JUST SAYING.
The World Building
As a product of her environment, the world of Ember is equally as terrifying as the Commandant. The Empire Is broken into the Scholars and the Martials. The Scholars are a conquered people living under the iron rule of the Martials. The Martials train their children to be assassins, carrying out the will of the Empire. Horrifying thought, right? The only confusing part for me was that some Scholars were slaves while others lived free. But Ember’s world is so much bigger than that. We are briefly introduced to the land of Marinn and the Tribal deserts that boarder the empire as well.
Tahir fills Ember with vivid imagery and expertly weaves in touches of folklore and mythology until the world becomes a living breathing thing that jumps off the page.
What I found really interesting is that Tahir didn’t fall back on the expected romantic plot devices. Was there a love triangle? Kind of. It was more like a quadrangle….rectangle…. diamond? Each of the main characters had more than one love interest. Elias had Helene and Laia, but Laia had Elias and Keenan. Laia and Elias never made sense to me. I was, and still am, firmly entrenched in Camp Helene. She’s his girl, mark my words. I also liked that Tahir kept it clean.
What I didn’t like:
There’s not much. It was a rough read in terms of the wanton brutality of the Martial class. I can’t count how many times I read the word rape. It wasn’t a pleasant aspect of the book or the world.
Tahir did a pretty good job of tying up all the loose ends while still leaving you with a WHAT HAPPENS NEXT feeling. There was only one part of the book that I didn’t feel was tied up in a neat little bow by the end. Midway through, we are introduced to a…..ally of the Commandants. She calls him by a certain title and we hear a reference to him in one of the stories told to Laia. We get the idea that this ally is the one behind the scenes, pulling the strings, yet we never really hear anything more.
All and all, I did enjoy this book. I was very fond of Elias and Helene. Their strength and honor were very appealing to me, as was their tried and true friendship. The world had a brutal beauty that was equally horrifying and mesmerizing. And while it didn’t necessarily leave me wanting for more, it’s solid!
Commentaires client les plus récents
- an Ember in the Ashes
- a Torch against the Night
J'ai mis plus d'un mois...En lire plus
Rechercher des articles similaires par rubrique