Tahir, S. (2015). An ember in the ashes. New York: Razorbill. ISBN: 978-1595148032. Hardcover: $19.95. Also available in paperback, e-book, and audiobook format.
How hard would you fight for the people you love the most? Laia has known loss her entire life. She is a Scholar – a race that was conquered long ago by the ruthless Martials and forced to live in a state of “freedom” that looks a lot like slavery. Although they live in the city that has been their home for centuries, the Scholars are oppressed, living in fear that their houses will be raided and their families killed or enslaved for crimes such as teaching their children to read. Laia’s parents fought with the Scholar Resistance, and paid for their rebellion with their lives. When her grandparents are also killed and her brother is taken prisoner, Laia must turn to the Resistance to save her brother – but it comes at a cost.
How much would you risk to cling to your humanity? As a member of an elite military group called the Masks, Elias should be as proud as a Martial can be. Elias is different though. His mother, who also happens to be the Commandant of the Masks, abandoned him in the wilderness as a baby. He was raised by the Tribesmen and taught more compassion than most Martials ever learn, which makes it even harder when he’s taken back into the city to be trained as a Mask at Blackcliff Military Academy. After over a decade of brutal training and watching his classmates being flogged to death, he stands on the brink of graduation – and the brink of escape. His plan won’t be completed as planned though, as an even more enticing opportunity presents itself just when he needs it.
As the lives of these two characters converge, they may have more in common than it seems. Can they be victorious against the Empire that has taken so much from them?
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