Book Review: Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (Three Stars)

Book Review: Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Three Stars out of Five

And three stars is only because Tahir has a great voice. The story and characters are so forgettable that, just having finished the book, I’d be hard pressed to pass a ten question quiz about the main characters. They were all so much alike—over-sexed (if self-repressed) teens who happily let truth, justice, duty, even family go take a leap just so they can gaze into the eyes of … whomever. Not untypical. Tahir obviously has values, it’s just that most of her characters don’t … yet. Presumably, that’s what the next books will reveal.

Whatever the fantasy equivalent of a space opera is called, this is it. Popcorn for the brain. Lots of action, lots of angst, lots of almost loves. But Tahir tells the story well, bringing the reader deep inside the protagonists’ heads.

She makes one other thing clearer to the reader than is apparent to the characters: almost everyone has ulterior motives. There’s a lot of internal guessing, mostly incorrectly, by the main characters as to who others are and what their goals are. Perfect.

For a story which is little more than a teaser for a series, Ember at least gives the reader some closure on everyone’s opening issue, even if nothing big is resolved. (Lots happens that I can’t tell without major spoilers, but we know nothing’s really resolved.) Not sure if I’ll commit to reading another until I learn whether there’ll be three or a dozen more installments.

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