What it’s about: This is the second book in the ‘Ember in the Ashes‘ series, and immerses readers into the violent clash between Imperials, Resistance fighters, and Scholar slaves with the same cut-throat pace as the first book. Elias, a lethally trained runaway from the Empire, and Laia, a resistance fighter and former slave, are fleeing to save Laia’s brother from the Imperial prison. Their strategy is haphazard and reckless, and becomes even more dangerous when Elias is discovered and thrown into prison himself. Meanwhile, Helene, the Emperor’s Blood Shrike, is obligated to hunt down Elias, forcing her to choose between her feelings for him and her loyalty to the Empire.
Why I liked it: We all have guilty pleasures on our reading list, and this series is mine. I actually started this series to tide me over until Crooked Kingdom comes out (TUESDAY!!!), and I was delighted with the results. Though I think Sabaa Tahir lacks some of Leigh Bardugo’s nuance, she’s an excellent storyteller with characters that keep the plot running full-throttle the entire way. It has everything you want in a captivating YA fantasy: energy, excitement, risk, and a little romance. While the characters are larger than life (or in Laia’s and Elias’ cases, prettier and stronger), the thrill of the chase helps you overlook the flaws. Plus, it’s fun to live in a world where two passionate, beautiful 18-year-olds really could break into a prison and start a rebellion. It took all my self-control to spread this book over three days, and I was sad when I finished. (And hungry for the next book!)
Read if you liked:
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Adieh
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater