19 May 2015

An Ember in the Ashes

Author: Sabaa Tahir
Series: An Ember in the Ashes #1
Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars
Verdict: Borrow

An Ember in the Ashes is a well written novel, but it feels timid at times.  It has its main underlying plot, but it seems hesitant to stick with it, and instead veers off to focus mainly on tangent points throughout its breadth.  At the end of the novel, we still don't have resolution for issues sprung right at the beginning of the story.  And while I realize this is the first novel in a new series, you have to give the readers something to hang their interest on.  As it is, this almost 450 page novel feels like it is simply a stepping stone, a build up for the rest of the series, which I find very frustrating.

The characters are good, solid, but they aren't great.  And it isn't because they are flawed.  That I actually enjoy.  And it isn't even that they are hard to relate to.  It's more their interactions with each other and in terms of the plot.  For example, I don't like the way Hel shifts into almost a polar opposite version of herself almost instantaneously towards the end of the novel.  It feels like a tactic Tahir uses in order to progress the plot, but she does so at the sake of the integrity of the characters.

Not only is there a love triangle in this story, but there are two!  And neither one of them is very interesting.  Both of the main characters caught in them are too wishy washy with their emotions/feelings to be taken seriously in any of their romantic inclinations.

I do like how the title of the novel ties the end to the beginning, bringing the story full circle.  That is always a soft spot for me.  As for the series itself, I'm not sure I'm sold on it yet.  I guess we'll see how much hype shows up when the next installment is released.

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