Synopsis: 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.
Eden: Ya’ll, Sabaa Tahir is such a beautiful soul for creating this series. Full disclosure, I haven’t finished this book yet. I just got to the third part, but lucky for me we decided to have a spoiler free discussion so I could actually give my input. I really, really like the characters in ATATN. I feel like there’s much more depth to them and that Tahir did an incredible job setting up ATATN in An Ember in the Ashes. So far, I’m rating ATATN 5/5 stars and honestly I don’t think it’s going to change before I finish. Now to start counting down until the third book.
Caitlynn: This was such a great second book to this series and it has made me so excited for the next books to come out. Everything about this book is just awesome from the character progression to the descriptions. Like Jenn said everything felt like it was a more grown-up version of An Ember in the Ashes. 5/5 for me!
Jenn: I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was super happy to find myself back into this amazing world that Sabaa Tahir has created. I think that this sequel was a perfect step in the progression of these characters and plots. The book felt more grown up than the first but they were still the same characters I came to love. They were just more mature versions of themselves. I truly loved this book. Overall, I gave it a 4.5/5
Discussion starts here! There are no spoilers this week so enjoy the discussion below without worrying about being spoiled!
Eden: What did you guys think of the book?
Jenn: Ok, this is going to be a totally non spoiler discussion. But, I will say that the end made me cry. Which, totally isn’t a spoiler since theres a multitude of things that could make me cry in this book.
Caitlynn: I wanted to cry at multiple times in this book.
Eden: I will say that I liked that this book was plot driven but at the same time the characters are more alive. There’s more to the characters than in the last book.
Caitlynn: Yeah. It was nice because we got to see more of the world. Like, the first book we only got to see the academy.
Jenn: Well and I thought it was a good natural progression from the first book. In the first book it was a much younger feeling book because they were in a kind of school type setting. This book felt much more adult.
Caitlynn: That kind of made me feel a little disconnected by it because they felt so young in the first one. I don’t know if that’s my age or if that’s just how it’s supposed to feel. But, I think that’s how it is supposed to feel.
Eden: Yeah, I think it was supposed to be like that. Because, they definitely feel older in this book.
Caitlynn: I don’t know why but it takes me a really long time for me to read her books. Like, they’re not hard to read but they take me a while to read.
Eden: She’s really detailed.
Jenn: I think part of it is that sometimes she’ll mention people using their first name but then mentions them using their last name later on. It kept confusing me.
Caitlynn: Yeah, like how when she first talked about Harper she called him Harper. Then later on she refers to him as Avitas. I don’t think she mentioned his first name at all prior to that.
Jenn: That’s exactly who I was talking about.
Eden: That also happened to me
Caitlynn: I think it shows a big difference between the Empire people and then like Elias, and Laia – is it “lay-uh”?
Jenn: I think it’s supposed to be “lie uh” but I’m not sure.
Cue Jenn searching Sabaa Tahir’s tumblr for the answer.
Jenn: It’s pronounced like “lie uh.”
Eden: Can we talk about Sabaa Tahir’s writing style?
Jenn: Yeah, what about it?
Eden: She used to be a journalist so I feel like she gets the idea of giving us good detail but at the same time not giving us too much.
Caitlynn: And it had like just the right amount of dialogue.
Eden: She really gets brevity and I like it. I just think she’s a really good writer. That’s that journo background though.
Jenn: I did miss the relationship that Izzy, Cook, and Laia had.
Eden and Caitlynn: Yes!
Eden: And then Cook turned into a crazy person or something!
Caitlynn: MY CUPCAKES!!
Cue Caitlynn remembering she’s baking cupcakes and running to the oven to take them out.
Jenn: I liked all of the parts with Mamie.
Caitlynn: That relationship was so cute!
Eden: I feel like it gave Elias more depth.
Eden: I really liked Helene. In the first book I really didn’t like her. But, in this book I was like, “you’re a badass.” At first I didn’t really want to read about Helene. But then I started to really enjoy her chapters.
Jenn: I really liked her line where she just goes, “I didn’t want to get blood on my dress.”
Caitlynn: There’s a lot of good one liners.
Eden: People I didn’t like? I didn’t really dislike anyone except Keenan. He was so annoying. I didn’t like reading about him.
Caitlynn: I just liked him because he’s a ginger. Solidarity.
Jenn: I didn’t really dislike anybody in the novel.I thought they all brought out new things. Also, things just kept happening up until the end. Like there was 4 pages from the end and there was another bombshell dropped.
Eden: Another year until the next one comes out. I can’t wait.