I’m still so frustrated because after finishing the book, I still don’t get the mystical meaning of An Ember in the Ashes. I’m even more befuddled because there’s not just one but two characters in the story that seem to personify that. But honestly, I like it. I like being intrigued and I like that it’s one major thing I’m looking forward to in the second book. I also like that the entire story captured my attention from start to finish and that it’s a mix of fantasy and dystopia.
The storyline is very interesting and the plot structure is constantly progressing. It’s the exact plot structure I look for whenever I read fantasy novels. Actually, the story appears to have two plotlines -one for Laia , the heroine and another for Elias , the hero. Each plotline is unique and gripping on its own- Elias’ search for true freedom by committing himself into the Trials (The trials alone are already breathtakingly insane) and Laia’s resolute mission to save her brother even if it could cost her own life. It was very thrilling to witness as the two plotlines converge and the two major characters in the story finally cross paths.
I appreciate that the writing wasn’t wasted on too much world building and background because despite the few pages spent on these things, I feel like I already understand enough about the world of Martials, Scholars and even the Tribes. What little back stories I learned about the hero and heroine are enough to make me empathize with each of their causes. Even Helene earned my empathy in the end. Laia didn’t have to be a bad-ass, special snowflake to be the heroine. She only needed her determination. Elias on the other hand’s best quality wasn’t his strength or fighting skills, it was his kind heart.
The only thing that didn’t work well for me is the romance. I wish there weren’t too much and I wish the characters emotions weren’t too fickle, especially those of Laia’s. I mean, just decide already. I hope she amends this in the second book.