An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
The Hunger Games. Eragon. Star Wars. Odds are you’re already perfectly familiar with these stories, in which case there is no reason for you to pick up Sabaa Tahir’s new novel. For me, An Ember in the Ashes reads like a half-hearted cut-and-paste of all the fantasy/sci-fi books that came before it, an unapologetic catalog of tired genre clichés—romantic tension! teenagers fighting to the death! orphaned protagonists! unimaginative fantasy names! faceless demonic warlords!—without a single page of original material. Faced with such an apparent lack of inspiration, the author repeats her ideas and plot points thirty times throughout the book. That’s standard practice with many YA authors, unfortunately, when it comes to romance (“Does he love me or doesn’t he?”), but it gets downright tiresome when we have to hear this sentence repeated ad nauseam: “As my grandmother always told me, ‘Where there’s life there’s hope.’” According to the American Library Association, there are approximately 5,000 YA books published per year, and I can safely list (without much exaggeration) about 4,999 new books that are more worth your time than this one. I was not a fan.