Unpopular Opinion: An Ember in the Ashes Series by Sabaa Tahir

So, shortly after I wrote my review for A Torch against the Night, I uploaded it to Amazon. After a few days of it being up, someone marked it as “unhelpful,” which is totally fine, as everyone is allowed to have their own opinions! (Who knows–maybe I wasn’t thorough enough for them. *shrugs*) It especially didn’t bother me, because they probably only down-voted it since I didn’t enjoy their favorite book.

This did, however remind me of the many unpopular opinions I have, and I decided I should more fully explain my feelings on this series (through lists of pros and cons like last time):

**potential small spoilers from here on out**

An Ember in the Ashes| My Rating: 4.5/5 stars

An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1)


  • Beautiful writing (even though first-person, present-tense usually annoys me, Sabaa’s talent for writing allowed me to look past it)
  • Blackcliff and its well thought-out hierarchy
  • Elias and his mother‘s abnormal relationship and the hatred they harbored for each other
  • Fast-paced plot with multiple POVs
  • Great, dramatic and suspenseful ending!


  • Helene was the classic friend-zoned third wheel who didn’t add much other than angst
  • Besides that, no real cons! (except maybe that I wanted to see more of the world, which I was okay without, because I could wait another book for it)

A Torch against the Night | My Rating: 2/5 stars

A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes, #2)


  • HELENE! She really went from zero to hero; her character development was the only thing that kept me pushing through the book.
  • Sabaa’s writing–her ability to weave words together so effortlessly–was still pretty sound


  • The plot–or complete lack-thereof (like, real talk here, if this became a movie series, they’d have to combine this book with the next, because otherwise it would just be 2-hour footage of the characters running from place to place)
  • Slow-pacing (it felt like the book would never end)
  • Absolutely no more expansion on the world (though the characters cover a great distance of land, I learned nothing at all)
  • Laia became whiny and relentlessly annoyed me, while Elias just bored me

At the point in time when I read AEITA, it was only supposed to be a standalone, and that’s what grabbed my attention. I was excited for a fantasy story that wasn’t going to be as long as the others tend to be–I was ready for a short and sweet, action-packed story with diverse characters and possibly a small hint of romance. Of course, upon reaching the end, I knew that the story wasn’t over–it couldn’t be with that ending and so many loose ends left untied.

A short while later, it was announced that AEITA was getting a sequel and would now be a duology. I was thrilled! I didn’t mind that it was now two books instead of one, because two felt like the perfect amount for Elias and Laia’s world.

I figured in number one, we could meet the characters, form a basic idea of how the Empire worked, and form predictions about the intriguing supernatural elements woven into the story; and in number two, we could connect with those characters and their development, while enjoying their attempts to overthrow this corrupt government, and finally understand how those supernatural elements fit into the big picture.

This is not exactly how it went, though.

Halfway through Torch, I yet again knew that this couldn’t possibly be the end to the series, and I was right–Sabaa soon announced that Ember was going to be four-books long. In this, I came to the realization that I probably wouldn’t be continuing it, as I have no wish to sit through any more filler books like Torch. I wanted my short, powerful read, but didn’t find it here. Oh well.

I think my pros and cons lists pretty much cover why my feelings changed so drastically, so I think I’m just going to end it here. You can also click on the link to my review at the top, if you still want to know more.

Short post today, but I’d love to know what you guys thought–am I really in the minority here?

– Taylor



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