Welcome to the Who Needs a Hero Event! Each day during the event we are featuring heroes from young adult novels! Today we have Elias from An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. An Ember in the Ashes is Sabaa’s debut novel. It is a high fantasy novel and the first in a new series! I had a chance to read an early copy of this book and loved it to read my full review go here! This novel released on April 28, 2015 by Razorbill.
*Enter to win a finished copy of An Ember in the Ashes at the end of this post! Don’t forget to enter here for the Who Needs a Hero International giveaway!*
An Ember in the Ashes is a YA fantasy novel told from two points of view. One of this POV’s is Elias Veturius, a soldier of the Martial Empire, who has trained at the brutal Blackcliff Military Academy for 14 years. Elias is on the verge of graduating and leaving Blackcliff behind forever. But before he can, he’s ordered to participate in a series of trials whose outcome will determine the fate of the Empire.
When I was a kid, I thought that being heroic meant having physical strength and bravery. But while Elias Veturius has both, I think it’s his other traits–intelligence and kindness—as well as his imperfections—that make him a hero. Tormented by questions of morality, Elias is always attempting to do what is right. And though he has flaws—his single-mindedness, his tendency to jump to conclusions about those closest to him—he is always struggling to be better. That, I think, is what makes a true hero.
Interview with Elias
DFT: You didn’t really grow up in the best environment which must have been very difficult for you. What do you think is one of the best qualities you possess that helped you survive Blackcliff?
Elias: A sense of humor.
DFT: Fighting to be the next Martial Emperor is a great honor, but the competition is very brutal. If you were chosen to be the emperor what would be your first command to your people?
Elias: To stop being horrible and murderous, maybe. Whatever it was, it would probably get me assassinated within about five minutes.
DFT: Personally I think that one of your most heroic qualities is your how you retained your humanity through the process of becoming a Mask. Unlike most of your other comrades you dislike hurting others even though you are extremely good at it. How hard was it to resist letting go of your emotions and letting yourself become the monster you were trained to be?
Elias: Killing is instinctual for a Mask. We are trained not to think. Not to feel. Only to act. Not killing, then, isn’t about battling emotion. It’s about fighting against instinct.
DFT: I know that this interview is suppose to be about getting to know you better but I can’t help asking just a few questions about Laia. What was it about her that first drew you to her?
Elias: Like me, she was trapped. But she hadn’t given up. I could see it in her eyes. She wanted her freedom the way I wanted mine—like it was something we could still have, if we just reached for it.
DFT: An Ember in the Ashes ending left things pretty open and I am very excited to see where your story goes next. If you can without spoiling anything tell us what we can expect to see from your on the next leg of your journey?
Elias: Laia and I are heading north, through the heart of the Empire.
Hopefully, we survive.
Spent my childhood in the Mojave Desert, where I didn’t have cable and thus chose to entertain myself with books and radio. My parents assured me that I wanted to become a doctor, but a brief stint working in a hospital changed my mind.
I left the desert for university at 17, graduated from UCLA a few years later, and went to work for The Washington Post directly after. Five years later, I left the Post and started working on a book.
If I could be anything, I’d be a space explorer, but a cool one, like Jean-Luc Picard.
I’m represented by Alexandra Machinist at ICM.
Want to read more from Sabaa Tahir?
This contest is provided by Penguin Teen!
One lucky reader will win a finished copy of An Ember in the Ashes!
Available April 28, 2015 by Razorbill
About this Book:
Laia is a slave.
Elias is a soldier.
Neither is free.
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.
Click HERE to read an excerpt