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Tahir, Sabaa.
New York : Razorbill, 2015
ISBN 1595148035

(4 booktalks)
Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
Booktalk #1

This gritty, grim, and completely compelling read tells the intertwined stories of Laia, a slave, and Elias, a soldier, all set against a background of political intrigue. Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear. Laia lives in this brutal world with her grandparents and older brother. When her grandparents are killed and her brother is captured by Masks, the silver-faced elite soldiers of the Martial Empire, Laia goes undercover as a slave to the terrifying Commandant of Blackcliff Military Academy, where Martials are trained for battle. Meanwhile, Elias, the Commandant's not-at-all-beloved son, wants to desert Blackcliff, until he is named an Aspirant for the throne by the mysterious red-eyed Augurs. Action, bloodshed and some pounding pulses follow, along with betrayal and a potential love triangle. (An Ember in the Ashes #1)  (Booktalk by Dodie Owens.    Colorado Blue Spruce Award, 2016)

Booktalk #2

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free. Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear. It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do. But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy. There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. (New Hampshire Flume Teen Award, 2018)

Booktalk #3

 Embers come from fire and danger, and there are plenty of all three in Ember in the Ashes. This fantasy recalls the violence of Ancient Rome. Laia is an ember, running from the fire that destroys her family’s home in chapter one. She begins scared, watching her family attacked in front of her on suspicion of treason. Motivated by a desire to save her brother, her only remaining family member, she herself becomes a spy, working for the most cruel woman in the kingdom. Elias is the other ember, a Martial, the ruling class in this future dystopia. His desire to rebel and avoid the requirement to kill keeps him burning with anger and indecision. It is impossible for the two to trust each other. Or is it? They have a common enemy, tyranny. These two characters narrate the book, often as enemies. Fights, disguises, escapes and deceit keep the tension continually high, and is hard to put down. -Jodie Purcell, Teacher-Librarian Bishop Blanchet High School, Seattle, WA , Evergreen Teen Book Award 2017-18)

Booktalk #4

After her brother is arrested for treason, Laia, a Scholar suppressed by the Martial Empire, decides to save him by posing as a slave in the Empire’s strict military academy. The rebels promise to help in exchange for information, but she is quickly confronted by the academy’s finest soldier. Despite being from vastly different backgrounds, the Soldier Elias and Scholar Laia want to be free of tyranny. Based on Roman empires and twisted with magical powers, An Ember in the Ashes shows that even a brutal world can have hope. (Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award, Rosie Award, 2018)

SUBJECTS:     Brothers and sisters -- Fiction.
                        Fantasy fiction.
                        Romance fiction.
                        Slaves -- Fiction.
                        Undercover operations -- Fiction.

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