Teen Book Talk features book, movie, and local event reviews written by local teen writers. This week, we’re sharing a review of an older teen book, An Ember in the Ashes.

Teen reviewers select which books and movies they’d like to review, and also which local events to attend and review. All opinions are those of the reviewers. **Teens use a scale of 1-5 stars, with one star being poor and five stars being excellent, for their reviews**

Sahana N., Teen Reviewer

Book Title: An Ember in The Ashes

Author: Sabaa Tahir

Book Format: Book

Year of Publication: 2015

Appeal: 6th – 9th Grade

Rating: 5

Laia of Serra, a slave girl, and Elias Veturius, one of the finest and chief soldiers for the Empire, could not live more different lives. But what they don’t realize is that they could also not lead more special lives, because they are both Embers in the Ashes. Laia of Serra is a 17-year-old Scholar girl, afraid of the Empire and her past. One day, Laia’s brother, Darin, is arrested for treason to the Empire. Frozen in fear, while the “masks” invade her home, Laia runs at Darin’s commands. Escaping, all she can think about is her cowardliness so she sets out to find the Resistance, in hopes that they will help free Darin. But all good things come with a price… Laia is forced to spy for the Resistance within the premises of the dangerous military academy of Blackcliff.

Elias can’t be free from his conscience. Reluctant and hesitant to kill, and unwilling to carry out the Empire’s brutal orders, Elias, isn’t sure what he wants: to follow his orders and become the exact person he hates or rebel against the Empire and be what he has been prepared and instructed to fight. When he finishes his training as a mask, a special announcement is made that pits Elias against his own heart and deepest wishes. When Elias meets Laia, with her gleaming golden eyes and silky hair as black as the night, they are both forced to make choices that could quite easily get them killed or lead them to the future they’ve both always wanted.

The way Sabaa Tahir spins Laia and Elias’s tale takes you for a whirl as you make your way through unexpected and exciting twists and turns, and you never really know what’s lurking around the corner. This book is my current favorite because a world is created that makes you laugh, wonder, and at times feel like crying. The characters are strong people who discover things about themselves and in doing so allow you to learn about yourself too. At first when I was reading the beginning of the book, I honestly thought it was going to be a book that would leave me disappointed, but I have to say that this was not the case. In fact, I was actually jumping to read the sequel. If you’ve ever enjoyed classic well-known books like Divergent, Hunger Games, Percy Jackson, Harry Potter or even some of the newest Young Adult series like Red Queen and the Selection, then this book is perfect for you. It has the greatest mix of action, a bit of fantasy, and romance. An Ember in the Ashes is an unforgettable and truly thrilling first installment in the series.

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