An Ember In the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Click here to view on Goodreads and click here to view on Amazon.

I’m going to start by saying this is the best YA I’ve read in a long time. It was written gorgeously, the characters shared real, believable connections, and it was beautifully plotted. I picked this novel up because of all the hype surrounding it, and it was well deserved.

The peppering of Roman culture, ideology, and language was a special treat. I’ve been taking Latin for a few years now because I enjoy Roman culture and history. Although some of the ideas that are presented are inaccurate, it’s fun to read about it all from a different perspective than from the historians who related them the first time.

I definitely enjoyed Elias’ perspective more than Laia’s because his story involved more action. Learning about the Masks and their brutal training was exciting, in a horrifying way. I enjoyed his relationship with Helene, although I was very frustrated with his cluelessness when it came to her feelings. Elias was such a well developed character; he had feelings and thoughts and fears and they all felt so real.

Throughout the novel, Laia found her strength through different people. Through Darrin, her mom, Izzi, the Resistance, Teluman. I’m hoping that in the next novel we’ll get to see Laia find her inner strength, the part of herself that she wants to fight for.

This book also presents some really important lessons about hope and regret. Laia finds the hope she needs in Blackcliff. Again, she finds that hope and that strength in the people she cares about.

Elias’ hope comes from a different place. He finds his hope in something he was promised. He’s been put in this unique situation where pressure is being applied from all sides. He (much like us college students) has been assured there is a light at the end of this very long tunnel, and that if he makes it he will finally be free.

The swordmaker tells Laia there are two kinds of guilt, “The kinds that’s a burden and the kind that gives you purpose.” That’s relevant to the story, sure, but it’s also relevant to real life. By refusing to learn from mistakes we’ve made or wrongs we’ve done, we are settling for the burden guilt. But when we choose to embrace the guilt that teaches, guides, and gives a purpose to future choices, we can learn to be better, more fulfilled people.

TL;DR

  • 5/5 stars; will fo sho re-read
  • Seriously so good!!!
  • Romani roots
  • Great character development on all fronts
  • Strong themes of hope and redemption

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

Feel free to read my review of The 5th Wave here. Click here to view on Goodreads and click here to view on Amazon.

I was marginally more impressed with this book than I was with the last book. It’s not even that this book is better. Less happens in this one, so I could take the time to enjoy the writing style. Which is beautiful by the way. W2G, Yancey.

This installment focused a lot more on Ringer than it did on Cassie, which is fine. Don’t get me wrong, I like Cassie a lot (and we still get some Cassie POV), but I think her story was sufficiently explored in the last one. What’s left for her in this book, except to reunite with Evan (gag) and live happily ever after? There was a lot more to learn about Ringer, her past, and how she came to be the person she is. I also think she’s right to question why the Others (who are supposedly

There js next to no action in this book, but there was a lot of exposition and symbolism. I’m not sure why the excessive symbolism? I get it. The humans are the rats now. The Others are the humans. We’re an annoyance. Also, please stop repeating the phrase “infinite sea.” I get it. It’s the title. It’s symbolic. Fine. Can we stop now?

Risk was also really important to Ringer? She loved to point out how the risk to the Others didn’t make sense. If they’re just intelligences on the mothership, not bodies, why do they need Earth? Why bother with the risk? Why are they doing this in waves to try and preserve a planet they don’t need? Same, Ringer.

The ending to this book is a lot less lazy than in the first book: there is a resolution, we know where everyone is headed, and we know the status of all of our characters. One thing I don’t know is how long Yancey wants me to think Parrish can live with that damned infected bullet wound.

If you really want to, you can purchase this novel at literally any bookstore that sells new books.

Look for my review of the last installment in this series, The Last Star, sometime in June!

TL;DR

  • 3/5 stars
  • Cassie is still fab
  • Ringer is pretty rad, too.
  • Rick, stop trying to make symbolism fetch happen! It’s not going to happen
  • W2G for learning how to end a novel properly