An Ember in the Ashes #1

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This week, I read from page 14-32. But this post will be on the first 32 pages of the book. I didn’t meet my goal of a hundred pages, I only had 10ish minutes to read. But I read enough to write about something.


  • Laia- Main protagonist; her parents and older sister are dead and she lives with her grandparents and brother
  • Darin- Laia’s older brother
  • Pop and Nan- Laia’s grandparents
  • Elias- Protagonist; he is about to graduate Blackcliff as he does not agree with its brutal ways. 
  • Helene- Elias’s best friend; she is the only female Mask at Blackcliff other than the Commandant. She is a strict follower of rules; even if she doesn’t agree with them. 
  • Demetrius and Faris- Minor characters; they are the same age as Elias and Helene and are about to graduate.
  • Marcus and Zak- twins; they are also about to graduate and Elias describes them as evil.
  • The Commandant- Elias’s mother; she is the head of Blackcliff and the only female Mask other than Helene
  • Falconius Barrius- about ten years old; he is the deserter


  • Laia’s house
  • The Catacombs of Serra
  • The tunnels beneath Blackcliff
  • Blackcliff

What’s happened so far? CONTAINS SPOILERS 

  • LAIA is waiting for her brother to come home; she saw his sketchbook and is worried her is working for the Empire. The Empire is run by the militaristic Martials who have been oppressing the Scholars for 500 years, following their conquering of the Scholar Empire.
    • Darin begins to explain that Laia is mistaken, but before he can, there is a raid. Her grandparents tell her and Darin to leave through the back window, but they are found by a Mask (a highly trained soldier from Blackcliff). 
    • The soldiers kill Nan and Pop and arrest Darin. Laia manages to escape and runs, but is haunted by the fact that she left Darin behind. She wanders the Scholar Quarters, before remembering that the Resistance has to help her because they are the reason her family is torn.
  • ELIAS is about to graduate Blackcliff but planning on deserting, and is down in the crypts to store is supplies.
    • A younger trainee has deserted and has created a distraction, giving Elias a chance to prepare. But Helene, his friend of 14 years, finds him and begins to question him. However, the deserter is found before Helene can figure out what he is planning.
    • He and Helene go to Blackcliff’s bell tower and witness the deserter’s cruel punishment. The deserter ends up dying and, although Elia does not agree with Blackcliff’s brutal ways, he forces himself to act like he agrees so they do not grow suspicious of him.


  1. So, this time I noticed that I’ve been misreading Commandant. I’ve been reading it as “commandment” and its really bothering me.
  2. It’s kind of weird knowing what happens to the characters in later books, but I realize that I’ve forgotten a lot of what happened.

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