Favourite Book Quotes, Muslim Shelf Space

My Favourite Quotes from the Ember in the Ashes Quartet by Sabaa Tahir

A Sky Beyond the Storm is finally out in the UK! I am so excited to dive into this final book but also terrified because I know Sabaa will put us through pain and I am scared for Elias and Laia.

But until I can read the final book here are some of my favourite quotes from the first three books.

An Ember in the Ashes

Fear is only your enemy if you allow it to be.

I’d rather die than live with no mercy, no honour, no soul.

Nan always said that as long as there is life, there is hope.

I do not doubt, I do not hesitate. I am the Lioness’s daughter, and I have the Lioness’s strength.

When the fear takes over, use the only thing more powerful, more indestructible, to fight it: your spirit. Your heart.

For tonight, maybe we can just be Laia and Elias.

Life is made of so many moments that mean nothing. Then one day, a single moment comes along to define every second that comes after.

A Torch Against the Night

Failure doesn’t define you. It’s what you do after you fail that determines whether you are a leader or a waste of perfectly good air.

What point is there in being human if you don’t let yourself feel anything?

You are my temple. You are my priest. You are my prayer. You are my release.

The stars are so different when you’re free.

The problem with greedy people, Pop once said to me, is that they think everyone else is as greedy as they are

For you, I’m Ilyaas.

Don’t you see? So long as you fight the darkness, you stand in the light.

Standing by someone during their darkest times creates a bond. A sense of obligation that is less a weight and more a gift.

There is hope in life.

This is what it means to have faith, to believe in something greater than yourself.

A Reaper at the Gates

Hope is stronger than fear. It is stronger than hate.

Skies save me from the men in my life and all the things they think they know

Curse this world for what it does to the mothers, for what it does to the daughters. Curse it for making us strong through loss and pain, our hearts torn from our chests again and again. Curse it for forcing us to endure.

This isn’t the end for us, Laia of Serra. I cannot give up what we could have. I don’t care what bleeding vow I made. Do you hear me? This is not our end.

Strange, how silence can speak as loudly as a scream.

The stories we tell have power, of course. But the stories that go untold have just as much power.

I will find you, Laia. I will find a way. This is not our end.

Everyone believes that nothing concerns them until the monsters are knocking on their doors.

Remember that fate is never what we think it will be.

The Tribespeople say that the heavens live under the feet of the mother. So great is their sacrifice. And indeed no one suffers in war more than the mother. This war will be no different.

So these are just some of my favourite quotes in this series! Share some of yours in the comments! But please no spoilers for Sky!

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

Books by Muslim Authors, Diverse Books, Muslim Shelf Space, YA Books

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir – Book Review

I adore this series so much and Reaper was absolutely amazing and I absolutely need Sky asap!

You can read my review of Ember here and of Torch here.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Beyond the Empire and within it, the threat of war looms ever larger.

The Blood Shrike, Helene Aquilla, is assailed on all sides. Emperor Marcus, haunted by his past, grows increasingly unstable, while the Commandant capitalizes on his madness to bolster her own power. As Helene searches for a way to hold back the approaching darkness, her sister’s life and the lives of all those in the Empire hang in the balance.

Far to the east, Laia of Serra knows the fate of the world lies not in the machinations of the Martial court, but in stopping the Nightbringer. But while hunting for a way to bring him down, Laia faces unexpected threats from those she hoped would aid her, and is drawn into a battle she never thought she’d have to fight.

And in the land between the living and the dead, Elias Veturius has given up his freedom to serve as Soul Catcher. But in doing so, he has vowed himself to an ancient power that will stop at nothing to ensure Elias’s devotion–even at the cost of his humanity.

I listened to the audiobook and I highly recommend it! The narrators are so good and engaging and I was completely hooked!

This series gets better and better with each book! The whole time I was listening I was on the edge of my seat and I just needed to listen to just one more chapter. Sabaa takes us on a wild ride in this series and honestly I had no idea what to expect when I started this. But one thing I can say with certainty is that this series does not disappoint. It is amazing and I simultaneously need the next book right now but I am also terrified to read it.

This book starts where Torch ended with Laia and Darin finally reunited and Elias has become the soul catcher because Sabaa likes to torture us and killed him in Torch. *sobs* Helene also has a point of view in this book and we see what is happening in the empire through her.

In the first two books their stories overlapped because they were all in the same place for the most part but in Reaper all three are separate and have different journeys to take. So we see their own journey and how it affects them but also how they slowly come together at the end to give us that explosive ending that left me shook.

I absolutely love Laia’s arc throughout the trilogy from being the scared young woman we meet at the beginning of Ember to the powerful leader she becomes by the end of Reaper. One of the things I loved about her was that she was afraid and she was hesitant, it made her so much more relatable. Her strength and bravery meant even more because we know that she is also terrified and despite that she does what needs to be done to save her brother and her people.

I also loved learning more about Laia’s family especially her mother and brother and I really liked the new characters we met, especially Musa. I love Darin so much and how protective he is over Laia and also how he wants her to be true to herself rather than just become a copy of their mother. We also learn a lot more about their mother and what happened to her and it’s all so tragic and it made me hate the Commandant even more.

Elias, my deadly cinnamon roll, I love him so much. He is torn between helping those he loves and doing his duty as the soul catcher. He slowly realises that he has to fully commit to being the soul catcher and that means leaving those he cares about. I was screaming by the end, like how could Sabaa do this to him after what she did to him in Torch. Please Sabaa stop hurting him.

We also learn a lot more about the Nightbringer and why he is so intent on destroying Laia and her people and it made him even more interesting and complex. But I still hate the Commandant more than him and I really need her to die a slow painful death in Sky.

Helene is an interesting character, she is motivated by her desire to protect her sister yet she does awful things to others all to protect one person. She justifies it by saying how she is just following orders and that she has to do what it takes to protect her sister yet it doesn’t justify what she does. It is not okay to continue the oppression of a whole group of people because you are following orders. I liked how Sabaa wove this into the story and that despite Helene justifying it to herself, we as readers are told clearly that it is not okay.

I highly recommend reading these books they are amazing and have such wonderful complex characters. The world is brutal and ruthless and I absolutely cannot wait to read the last book.

Books by Muslim Authors, Diverse Books, Muslim Shelf Space, YA Books

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir – Book Review

I actually loved this book even more as a reread than I did when I first read it! I also reread as an audiobook which was amazing!

You can also read my review for An Ember in the Ashes here

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Rating: 5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.
Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.
But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.
Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.

This story starts where the last book ended with Laia and Elias are trying to escape Blackcliff Academy and Helene has become Blood Shrike and must now hunt them down. In Torch we also get to see Helene’s point of view which was really interesting as through her we get to see what’s happening outside of Laia and Elias trying to save Darin.

I loved the audiobook so much, we have three different narrators for each point of view and they were all so engaging. I highly recommend listening to this series!

This book is quite different to Ember in that we actually explore different parts of the world as Laia and Elias travel to Kauf. In Ember we stay in Serra and a lot of our time is spent in Blackcliff Academy so it was really great to see other parts of the world that Sabaa has created. We saw how different each place is, from climate to who tends to live there and even how they live.

My love for Laia and Elias grew even more in this book, Laia has overcome so much to get to where she is, she is determined and fierce and perseveres through all the difficulties despite being afraid and that shows true courage. She cares deeply and is kind and gentle and knows how to help others when they are struggling. I loved seeing how much she grew in this book. She is torn between Keenan and Elias for different reasons. Her learning to trust her gut and instincts was an important part of her journey and it was great to see her growth. I also loved her friendship with Izzy and how they know each other so well despite not having known each other that long.

Elias my deadly cinnamon roll! He has had everything taken from him and his own mother wants him dead and yet he still fights. He fights for justice, he fights for a better world and for Laia. Despite being trained as a lethal weapon his whole life he still knows that what he has been trained to do is wrong and is haunted by the ghosts in his head of those he was forced to kill including his friends. He spends most of the book close to death and much weaker physically as a result of that and it was interesting seeing him deal with that and adapt because of that. He also spends much of the book half in the world of the dead where he meets the soul catcher and makes a deal that will change his life forever.

I enjoyed seeing Helene’s point of view even though she was annoying at time but I loved seeing how determined and fierce she was and how much harder she had to work being a woman in a world inhabited by men who had little respect for women. She is driven by her need to protect her family and I really felt for her when her family were held hostage to control her. It was interesting to see her thoughts as being with Elias growing up she saw that Laia’s people were treated unjustly and oppressed and that he said it was wrong yet she constantly justifies it. The subtle racism that Sabaa showed through Helene was so well done.

It was also interesting seeing Dax and Faris who were working with Helene and had also been really close to Elias and how they had to put their feelings aside. We were also introduced to Harper who was a spy for the Commandant yet there is more to him than we first see.

The story itself was so interesting and we learn so much about what is happening and why Laia’s people are oppressed and how it happened. We get the history of the world through stories that Laia and Elias tell each other and are told to them. I loved seeing the tribes and Elias’s family before he was taken to Blackcliff. I also loved seeing Darin and learning some more about him.

I am so excited to read Reaper especially as the last book will be out later this year!

Booksish Discussions

Books I Find Intimidating

Is there any books on your shelves that you’re putting off reading because they’re just so intimidating? Some because of their size, some because you’re not ready for the distress you will go through reading about your favourite characters suffering. Or because you’re afraid that they won’t live up to the hype. So many reasons to be put off from reading books you actually really want to read!

So I thought I would share a few that I really do need to read soon, hopefully sharing it on here will help…maybe…

So anyways here are some books that intimidate me:

1 Lord of the Rings – I absolutely adore the films and I’m worried they won’t be as good or I won’t enjoy it as much as I just don’t want to be disappointed.

2 Iron Gold – I suffered while reading the Red Rising trilogy and this book is massive so there is plenty of time for me to suffer and I’m just not ready. It also does not help that the book is so heavy and I have no idea how I can hold it to read.

3 The Book of Dust – Another book that I want to read but also I’m worried that I won’t enjoy it as much as the original trilogy

4 Priory of the Orange Tree – I did actually start reading but I got quite confused as there was a lot of information but the story was really interesting so I do want to continue reading this!

5 A Reaper at the Gates – Look I just need to know when the last book will be published because I already died waiting for this book and I can’t go through that pain again

So here is some books I’ve been putting off reading! Let me know if there’s any books you’ve been putting off reading!