15 May 2015

An ember in the ashes - Review

Available 4th June 2015

What's it about?

What if you were the spark that could ignite a revolution?
For years Laia has lived in fear. Fear of the Empire, fear of the Martials, fear of truly living at all. Born as a Scholar, she’s never had much of a choice.
For Elias it’s the opposite. He has seen too much on his path to becoming a Mask, one of the Empire’s elite soldiers. With the Masks’ help the Empire has conquered a continent and enslaved thousands, all in the name of power.
When Laia’s brother is taken she must force herself to help the Resistance, the only people who have a chance of saving him. She must spy on the Commandant, ruthless overseer of Blackcliff Academy. Blackcliff is the training ground for Masks and the very place that Elias is planning to escape. If he succeeds, he will be named deserter. If found, the punishment will be death.
But once Laia and Elias meet, they will find that their destinies are intertwined and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.
In the ashes of a broken world one person can make a difference. One voice in the dark can be heard. The price of freedom is always high and this time that price might demand everything, even life itself.
My review
An ember in the ashes, for me was one of those books that had been so hyped up that I went in with my expectations way too high and came out the other end underwhelmed. While it is a good book, I found it had a slow start and just wasn't as exciting as I'd been expecting.
The description and title give the impression that something small one of the characters does sparks a revolution and while this is kind of true, its not until the end, the rest of the book feels like more of a build up, except its a standalone novel which has left me confused. With the steady build up of tension and an ending left pretty open, it seems perfect for a second book, a second book I would definitely read.
Because while I didn't enjoy this book as much as I'd hoped, it's clear the author is very talented, she's done an amazing job of building an intricate and believable world. There's a class system that can be identified with, complex characters, just a hint of magic to give it a fantasy side and some scary bad guys. An ember in the ashes ticks all the boxes for an epic fantasy and sets the scene for so many further adventures.
Told from both the point of views of Laia, a scholar girl and Elias, an elite soldier in training we get to see how the world works from both ends of the spectrum, and then see how they end up coming together. It worked well and I felt both characters had completely different voices and were likeable. I liked how they both go through personal growth which is what brings them to the conclusion of the book. Laia is determined despite everything she goes through, her strength is really tested. Elias on the other hand has his morals tested and has to decide if he wants to stand up for and maybe even die for what he believes is right.
It's well written and I certainly won't be saying no to more books by this author in the future, because next time I'll know exactly what to expect.

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12 May 2015

The territory - Review

The territory by Sarah GovettAvailable now
What's it about?Limited Space requires Limited Numbers
The year is 2059. Noa Blake is just another normal 15 year old. Except in the Territory normal isn’t normal. The richest children can download information and bypass the need to study. In a flooded world of dwindling resources, Noa and the other ‘Norms’ have their work cut out to compete. And competing is everything – anybody who fails the TAA exam at 15 will be shipped off to the disease-ridden Wetlands, to a life of misery, if not certain death.
But how to focus when your heart is being torn in two directions at once?
My review
The Territory was an interesting read which really explores a lot of thought provoking subjects. Like how far can a government go before anyone will truly oppose it? When there just isn't enough to go around, what's really the fairest way to decide who deserves it? In The territory where Noa lives all children are tested at the age of fifteen and only the ones who pass are considered smart enough to be a credit to society and can stay. The kids that fail are sent out into the wetlands, which everyone knows is pretty much a death sentence.
First of all, just imagine the stress of that for a fifteen year old, one test will literally determine your future, It really plays on the reality of the pressure that is put on kids to do well in school.
While The territory had an interesting subject and an obviously well thought out setting, I think I would've enjoyed it more if Noa had been slightly more grown up.
I did like Noa for the most part, but sometimes she can be a typical immature fifteen year old, however she's not stupid, she sees and understands more than the adults in her life realise. I liked that she asked a lot of questions about how things are run and had her ideas of what would be better, she's actually very clever.
As the story goes on, it becomes more intense and there's some shocks in there too, by the end, I wasn't sure what was going to happen.
I'd certainly recommend it to fans of the genre and will be looking forward to book two.

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