Book Recommendations, Booksish Discussions, Muslim Shelf Space

Why You Should Read An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

A Sky Beyond the Storm is finally out! We can finally find out how this incredible series will end and what will be the fate of Laia, Elias and Helene. But if you haven’t read these books yet and are unsure if you want to read them then here are some reasons as to why you should read them!

Incredible Storytelling Which Will Leave you an Emotional Mess

Sabaa’s writing is incredible and vivid and will leave you completely enthralled in the story. We initially see the world from Elias and Laia’s point of view and then Helene’s in the later books. Through them we see such a contrasting world view and we experience what they experience because her writing is so good that you will feel like you are right there with the characters. The fear that Laia feels is palpable, the anguish of Elias and the ruthless determination of Helene, we feel it alongside them. This does however mean that you will be left an emotional mess and fear for the lives of your favourite characters because Sabaa has created a brutal and ruthless world.

Incredible Immersive World Building

Not only is Sabaa’s storytelling incredible but so is her world building. You may think this is a world inspired by ancient Rome but then you hear about ghouls and jinns and it makes you think twice. As we read on we realise that there is also an Asian/Middle Eastern influence too. That the Empire might be inspired by ancient Rome but the Scholars and Tribes have an eastern influence and it creates a rich, diverse world. As the story in each book progresses we travel outside of Serra and see more of the world and we get an idea of just how vast the world is and that there is so much more we can explore. Sabaa’s writing is so immersive that we feel as though we are right there with the characters and experience what they experience. We see how they see the world and it’s as though we can almost touch, see and taste everything.

Complex Characters that Grow in Each Book

In Ember we get Elias and Laia’s point of view so we see the world from two vastly different perspectives. Elias is an elite warrior and assassin who wants to be free from all the killing whereas Laia is a slave and living in fear for her life after watching her grandparents get murdered and brother sent to prison. Yet they both grow so much throughout the book and Laia especially is my favourite character because she is so complex and her growth was incredible to read from the scared young woman to a resistance fighter and leader.

Important Discussions of Colonisation and Oppression

This book does not shy away from the way that people who are oppressed and enslaved and their land colonised are treated by the oppressors. We see the brutality with how they are treated, there are discussions of mutilation, rape and more and how these are justified because the Empire doesn’t even consider them to be human and are inferior in every way so it is fine. That the women are their property so they can do whatever they want to them. It is often horrifying and difficult to read but it is an important discussion to have. The Scholars way of life is completely eradicated and they aren’t even allowed to learn to read or write to keep them in a state of submission. Parallels with our history and even what is happening in the world right now and things that should be discussed.

A Story of Hope

Despite the brutal, ruthless world that Sabaa created there is hope. Hope that things will change, hope that this isn’t always going to be the reality for those oppressed. There will be justice and that these characters are going to bring about change. It’s something we can all relate to. It’s something we all need to believe in to get through difficult times and we can see the characters going through the same but holding on to hope to keep going. To keep fighting for a better world.

This is an incredible series and with the final book finally here it is the perfect time to pick these books up!

Here are my review for the first three books if you need further convincing:

An Ember in the Ashes

A Torch Against the Night

A Reaper at the Gates

2 thoughts on “Why You Should Read An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir”

  1. Wonderful post. My copy of Sky comes in either today or tomorrow, and I shall be starting the series from the beginning since I read the first book *years* ago. I remember it was one of the first Muslim fantasy books I ever read. I’m both looking forward to reading the series in its entirety yet dreading it because I know I’ll be very sad once it’s over.

    Like

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