I'm giving An Ember in the Ashes 6/10 stars, which I feel is quite generous. There were some interesting parts, but for the most part I was not particularly intrigued. I was expecting something somewhat as interesting and exhilarating as Legend by Marie Lu. Maybe the hype set my expectations too high, which was why I was so disappointed with this book. I do see potential for a great series in the idea but I was not particularly attached to any of the characters save Helene and it was difficult for me to imagine Helene as pretty/a real person because apparently her face is like solid silver so... The story takes place in what is kind of like Roman times. It starts off with this scholar girl named Laia. Her brother gets taken away and her grandparents murdered. Interesting enough beginning. But the thing is, I couldn't especially connect with Laia and her thoughts. She's a lot different than most of the protagonists I've read, who are strong or learn quickly to be. I guess that makes her more realistic but just the way she thought and her knee jerk reactions weren't something I could really relate to. I also found her narrative and actions annoying at times. Laia is pretty weak, of the mind and physically which is one of the problems she struggles with. I can tell that Sabaa plans to show her emotional and physical journey into making her stronger but in this first book her weakness was shown a lot and she needed to be saved.... a lot. It irked me. Seriously, I love cliches but this damsel in distress thing was a little over the top even for me.
Then there's Elias, the other narrator of this book. Elias is strong and has been raised to be a warrior. I liked that about him. He's one of the best in his class but he hates the way of the empire. So he's planning an escape. I didn't really get too attached to Elias either. I don't know, I think it's just the way both Laia and Elias narrated irked me somehow and I just couldn't relate for some reason. Also, I couldn't get a real good image of any of the characters in my head. I'm not sure why, maybe it was the way they were described or maybe it was just because some of them had SILVER FACES. Urg.
There are other characters such as Izzy, Marcus, Helene and Zak (poor Zak, I really felt for that guy). Izzy was cute and sweet, but I still didn't feel a particular attachment to her. I have an attachment to Marcus. An attachment of hatred. Sabaa really knows how to make me hate a character. Where a lot of the characters I feel indifferent to, I can't help but loathe Marcus. He does a lot of disgusting things, especially towards the girls in the story, (which I Really did not like) but the thing that made me hate him most was something he did during one of the trials. I think it was the second to last trial. You'll probably know what I'm talking about when you read it /if you've read it. That pissed me off. Then there was Helene. I liked her character. She follows orders (which was annoying at times, not much of a rebel) and feels rather passionate about Elias. Elias, of course, is unaware. I liked Helene because she could kick some ass without the help of Elias *cough* *cough* Laia. She also almost always did what she thought was right, even if it was wrong. Helene was one of my more favored characters in this story.
Anyway that's really all I have to say about this story. Thanks for reading my review! Do you agree with me? Feel free to make any comments you want.