When this book came out it was added to my TBR shelf because the cover was really nice. It’s simple but I really liked the text (especially the physical copy) and the color scheme wasn’t flashy. I had no idea what the book was actually about but then I was only going by the cover. And I just love to cover judge…
I didn’t actually pick it up though, until this year when it was recommended to me by my brother. He’d practically told me all about the book but I finally started reading it after I’d forgotten a lot of what he told me (the perks of a bad memory)
In An Ember in the Ashes we follow two characters, Laia and Elias, as they live under the Martial Empire rule. Laia is a naive Scholar girl who lives with her grandparents and brother, believing everything is alright until one night when she finds her brother’s sketchbook is filled with incriminating illustrations. Illustrations that end up costing her grandparents their lives, her brother’s freedom, and her sanity.
Forced to flee the night raid at her home, Laia goes to the Resistance (rebel group) in hopes of getting help for her brother. They reluctantly agree to help with the condition that she becomes a spy for them at Blackcliff, the leading military academy of the Empire. It’s a suicide mission but she agrees, the guilt of her fleeing the raid gnawing at her conscious
Elias, on the other hand, is one of the Masks at Blackcliff, soon to be graduate and, if all goes to plan, a deserter. He’s got his whole escape plan in order but then the Augurs show up at Blackcliff, claiming that a new leader for the Empire is needed, that the prophecy of Emperor Taius XXI falling has come to fruition. And in order to choose a new emperor, the Trials are to start and only four of Blackcliff’s greatest graduates (dubbed Aspirants) are to compete for the crown. Elias ends up being one of the four graduates and his plans of desertion are ruined.