Ember in the Ashes takes place in The Empire, a vaguely middle ages fictional land with some vaguely Arabic influences. Elias (who by the way is 20 years old….which feels oddly old for YA) is a student at Blackcliff, a ruthless academy that trains Masks, the Empire’s deadliest soldiers. Laia is a Scholar, the conquered class, who is goes ndercover as a slave at Blackcliff for the Resistance to help her brother.
I don't really have much to say about this book, which is weird since the audiobook is over 15 hours long. It wasn't bad, it just didn't click with me. I finished this book and I wasn't amped for the next one. Thinking about the only other YA fantasies I've read; Daughter of Smoke and Bone and The Young Elites, I think what this book is missing is characters with skin in the game. Elias and Laia are just kind of going with the flow all the time.
I am honestly not sure why this particular book is so popular. This world seems like the worst. I get that dark books are popular, but they always have a hero characters can root for. I don't think this book does that.
The narrators of the audio are Steve West and Fiona Hardingham, both narrators have super British voices. I mean Super British. And I do mean British because a few characters have Irish and Scottish accents. The narration added a lot to this book and I found both their voices pleasant. Although West did get a little extra in some of the fight scenes towards the end. I need West and Buckingham to do some regency romance novels--there is a flirty scene in this book that they do perfectly.
So, I guess I'll join the unpopular opinion club on this YA fantasy.