First sentence: My big brother reaches home in the dark hours before dawn, when even ghosts take their rest.
Premise/plot: An Ember in the Ashes is a great YA fantasy novel with dashes of romance added into the mix. Anyone who enjoys suspense, action, and adventure should give this one a try.
Narration alternates between Laia, a Scholar slave, and Elias, a Mask. Elias hates being a soldier, or soldier in training. He does not want to use and abuse slaves. He doesn't like being ordered to kill, and he dreads the day he'll have to give orders to others to kill. But he lives in a cruel society where kindness, compassion, sincerity are signs of weakness. To 'be human,' to 'feel' is to put a target on yourself. If Elias doesn't keep his real thoughts and desires to himself, he might not survive. Laia is just as vulnerable as Elias in some ways. But even more so since she's a girl and from the Scholar tribe or faction. Most see her as dispensable property. She wants what Elias wants only double. He wants freedom; she wants freedom for herself and her brother who has been imprisoned. She'll risk her life for the smallest chance of saving his.
Those two aren't the only characters we come to know--to love, to like, to hate. Others include Helene, Marcus, Cain, Keenan, Cook, Izzy, Mazen, the Commandant, Spiro Teluman. Notably I think Keenan and Helene and Marcus are key characters in this one.
My thoughts: I loved rereading this compelling fantasy. Action abounds, yet the characterization is so good that I'm tempted to call this a character-driven book. Since I usually dislike dual narrators, it says something that I loved this one so much!
© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews