Sandy Recommends: An Ember in the Ash series in Audiobook (SPOILERS)

Ember in the Ashes book review

 

Title: An Ember in the Ash series

Author: Sabaa Tahir

Narrators: Fiona Hardingham, Katharine Lee McEwan, Steve West, Maxwell Caulfield, and Nikki Massoud

Format: Audiobook

Rec'd by: Milia

Date finished: 12/7/23

Short review: "Brilliantly plotted, this is a violent, heart-wrenching story that will emotionally wreck you."

 

Long review WITH SPOILERS

 

Ember in the Ashes book review

Sabaa Tahir has the best cliffhanger chapter endings. There was always a new tidbit of information or something similar that made me go, "Argh! I need to listen to more!" With a multiple POV book, I'd usually be annoyed because I tend to be more interested in one character than another, but all three--four if you include the Nightbringer--grew on me.

 

I can't remember if Helene had a POV in the first book, but she definitely did in the second. I didn't expect that and was kind of grouchy about it. For, like, two seconds. She might have ended up being my favorite character.

 

I did have trouble accepting her and Elias as these super awesome, best-of-their class soldiers. I moved past that after a while, though, because the story was so good. It took me a while to like Laia. Maybe "like" isn't the right word. It took me a while to be interested in her because she started off rather weak and useless. Again, I think that might have been intentional because the character growth of all the characters over the series was phenomenal.

 

A Torch Against the Night book review

I was also confused in the first book as to whether I should root for Elias and Helene to get together or Elias and Laia. I wanted it to be Laia, but then there were all these feelings with Helene. I wouldn't call this a love triangle though, and I think my problem is that I went into this thinking it was a fantasy romance. It's not. Too much death and violence for that in my opinion. It's a straight up epic fantasy with a romantic subplot.

 

Cook was an interesting character. I became interested in her as soon as she went off about the rebellion people. I wanted to know her background. It took me a long while to predict who she ended up being. I liked her. She was extremely complicated. And I liked her ending.

 

Another character's ending that I liked was Marcus's, which might sound weird because I hated him as much as I hated the Commandant. But I thought he had a good death. I was so happy he died! Lol But his death had a meaning and purpose, so it was extra satisfying.

 

Reaper at the Gates book review

The deaths that I did NOT like: Livia and Harper. Mostly Harper. For the longest time, I guarded my heart against him because I thought he might be the Nightbringer trying to get to Helene. I'm glad he wasn't! And I absolutely loved how his relationship with Helene grew, even though I wanted to slap Helene because she was so damn stubborn. I really dislike that he died. The only purpose of it was to hurt me more! And Helene had already been through enough. Way MORE than enough! It wasn't fair to take Harper away from her.

 

Gah, it still hurts!

 

Let's talk about Keenan. I never liked him. I think I was confused by him like I was confused by Elias/Helene. I was all like, "Is he the love interest?" I don't know. Maybe we weren't supposed to like him on purpose since….you know. But I was pretty underwhelmed when he and Laia got together. I guess I didn't feel Laia's love for him like I felt it for Elias? It's probably because I shipped Laia and Elias from the beginning of the book.

 

The Soul Catcher plot: Interesting, but I think if I had been reading instead of listening to the awesome narrators, I might have skimmed his sections some. I just really wanted Laia and Elias to be happy.

 

The ending of book three was probably my favorite. What an epic and tragic battle scene! What an unexpected twist with the mask! It was sooo good.

Sky Against the Storm by Sabaa Tahir book review

A word about Musa. So, I liked Musa, but I think I should have liked him a lot more. He's sort of like a Lorn character (from The Shadow Reader novels). Kind of resourceful and funny and full of himself. I liked all his scenes and interactions, but I didn't like the suggestion that he and Helene would be together in the future. Maybe it's because HELENE DESERVES HARPER.

 

Probably the only issue I had with the book (and this is totally a me thing) is that I don't like torture and cruelty for the sake of, um, torture and cruelty. Karis was just way too terrible. But then there would be little moments where her behavior confused me--not killing Elias as a baby, not killing Zachariah, not killing Elias in book two (though I suppose she had a purpose for that). And then there was the whole Lovey thing. Like, I guess I expected something more to justify her unjustifiable behavior? I started thinking maybe she was the Nightbringer (even though that didn't make sense because they were in the same scenes together). Maybe she was possessed? Maybe she HAD to do these terrible things so the world wouldn't end? Actually, I kept going back to the last one and rejecting it over and over again. She was just too evil for anything to justify what she did. And her one POV? That just solidified my hatred of her even more. But then…she sort of got a happy ending, going off with her mom. Sure, she was a four year old or whatever, but… Man. She needed to go to hell, yet she goes where everyone else does?

 

I ended up listening to the book for five hours yesterday because I NEEDED to finish the series. It was really great, and I think this might be the series that turns me into an audiobook listener. I tend to not listen to fiction audiobooks. I've always struggled to get into them because the narrator's don't match the reading voice in my head. But maybe I was just listening to narrators that didn't work for me. I'm thinking next year, I'll listen to more fiction audiobooks than I have in my entire life.

 

One very last thing about the ending! Laia becoming a Kasani (or however it's spelled). I'm cool with that, but my only thought about her first storytelling was "Too soon." lol Seriously! A few months had passed, but that story was way too fresh and painful.

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