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A Thief Among the Trees: An Ember in the Ashes Graphic Novel

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Taking place years before the bestselling An Ember in the Ashes novel series, this standalone original graphic novel follows three young military recruits: Elias, Helene, and Tavi, during their brutal training as soldiers for the Martial Empire.  WITHIN THE EMPIRE THERE ARE NO QUESTIONS, ONLY ORDERS. Elias, Helene and Tavi are Fivers --in training to become elite military r Taking place years before the bestselling An Ember in the Ashes novel series, this standalone original graphic novel follows three young military recruits: Elias, Helene, and Tavi, during their brutal training as soldiers for the Martial Empire.  WITHIN THE EMPIRE THERE ARE NO QUESTIONS, ONLY ORDERS. Elias, Helene and Tavi are Fivers --in training to become elite military recruits for the Martial Empire at Blackcliff Academy. When they’re sent on a dangerous mission to steal a heavily-guarded poison on Isle South, they soon find themselves up against surprising enemies -- including other recruits. As the true horror of their assignment is revealed, these three will begin to confront the harrowing realities of Martial rule, their place in the system . . . and the choices they must make to survive.   New York Times bestselling author Sabaa Tahir joins writer Nicole Andelfinger and artist Sonia Liao for an all-new original graphic novel revealing an early tale of Elias and Helene at Blackcliff, and a stirring standalone chapter in the An Ember in the Ashes mythology.


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Taking place years before the bestselling An Ember in the Ashes novel series, this standalone original graphic novel follows three young military recruits: Elias, Helene, and Tavi, during their brutal training as soldiers for the Martial Empire.  WITHIN THE EMPIRE THERE ARE NO QUESTIONS, ONLY ORDERS. Elias, Helene and Tavi are Fivers --in training to become elite military r Taking place years before the bestselling An Ember in the Ashes novel series, this standalone original graphic novel follows three young military recruits: Elias, Helene, and Tavi, during their brutal training as soldiers for the Martial Empire.  WITHIN THE EMPIRE THERE ARE NO QUESTIONS, ONLY ORDERS. Elias, Helene and Tavi are Fivers --in training to become elite military recruits for the Martial Empire at Blackcliff Academy. When they’re sent on a dangerous mission to steal a heavily-guarded poison on Isle South, they soon find themselves up against surprising enemies -- including other recruits. As the true horror of their assignment is revealed, these three will begin to confront the harrowing realities of Martial rule, their place in the system . . . and the choices they must make to survive.   New York Times bestselling author Sabaa Tahir joins writer Nicole Andelfinger and artist Sonia Liao for an all-new original graphic novel revealing an early tale of Elias and Helene at Blackcliff, and a stirring standalone chapter in the An Ember in the Ashes mythology.

30 review for A Thief Among the Trees: An Ember in the Ashes Graphic Novel

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sabaa Tahir

    This book was an absolute blast to work on and I love it so much. The script , the art, the lettering and the colors are all ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC. The book is a little slice of Elias's life when he was a 13 year old Fiver, sent out into the wilds of the Empire on a dangerous mission. Working on it gave me the chance to explore the moments when Elias realizes that there is more to life than just missions for the Empire. It was a joy to write and I hope hope hope you guys enjoy this look into life This book was an absolute blast to work on and I love it so much. The script , the art, the lettering and the colors are all ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC. The book is a little slice of Elias's life when he was a 13 year old Fiver, sent out into the wilds of the Empire on a dangerous mission. Working on it gave me the chance to explore the moments when Elias realizes that there is more to life than just missions for the Empire. It was a joy to write and I hope hope hope you guys enjoy this look into life as a Blackcliff student!

  2. 5 out of 5

    The Burning Rose (Jess)

    oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god!!!!!!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Frank-Intergalactic Bookdragon

    Update October 2019 Whoever decided to reveal the cover and title this soon deserves a raise for not letting us suffer. Prereview September 2019 *slams to-read button so quickly I break my entire arm*

  4. 4 out of 5

    Taylor

    This was such a wonderful edition to the world of An Ember in the Ashes! The art was beautiful, and I loved the character designs for Elias and Helene. Gripping and full of heart, I couldn’t get enough of this prequel story! I’m excited for more!!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Leah Waters

    I expected this book to rip my heart out of my chest. It's Sabaa Tahir, after all. But the pain!!! I was not prepared. Really good graphic novel, with the intensity of An Ember in the Ashes. I recommend it for fans of Sabaa Tahir!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    3.75/5 This was a nice addition to the Ember world. I liked getting a small glimpse at a part of Elias and Helene’s past and training at Blackcliff. The art was great, especially the colouring! I don’t think this would be a good place to start in the Ember world. If you haven’t read at least the first book in the main series, you’d probably not get as much out of this, and might find it a bit confusing. Excited to see what else comes from these prequel graphic novels!

  7. 5 out of 5

    ash | novelly rooted

    got to meet sabaa not once, but TWICE at #alamw2020 and got a preview of this signed for me and another one for my bestie!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    I’m not sure if it was expected I wouldn’t give this 5 Stars... ANYWAY! I really enjoyed this, I think it was I retesting you see the characters so young. Hel and Elias were exactly how they expected to be and I loved the little cameos we saw from other characters as well. I hope that there’s going to be more of these because I would absolutely read them all!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sarah (The Book Marauder)

    Oh my heart 💔😭

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mena

    It was so good to read about my babies again. I loved the character designs, especially Helene's. The story was cool too. And though it is a prequel to the events in An Ember in the Ashes, I will not advise anyone new to AEITA to start the series here, because the novel doesn't tell you who is really who and why they are doing what. That said, MY HELENE ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ 😊😊❤️ ❤️ 😊😊

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nathalie

    Oh my poor heart. Being back and on a mission with Elias and Helene was breath-taking. This graphic novel follows the two of them and their friend Tavi on a mission during their fifth year of Blackcliff, the Empires greatest (and potentially deadly) military academy. The plot was amazing, and the art was perfection! This was very emotional, a story about violence, injustice, morale and friendship and so much more. It's just so good, I want to start all over again. My new favorite graphic novel. Oh my poor heart. Being back and on a mission with Elias and Helene was breath-taking. This graphic novel follows the two of them and their friend Tavi on a mission during their fifth year of Blackcliff, the Empires greatest (and potentially deadly) military academy. The plot was amazing, and the art was perfection! This was very emotional, a story about violence, injustice, morale and friendship and so much more. It's just so good, I want to start all over again. My new favorite graphic novel. If you like the An Ember In The Ashes series, this is a must read! And if you just like graphic novels, I think this works very well on its own, without the knowledge of the series. Either way, check it out, it's great!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lunabookaddict

    I LOVE EVERYTHING ❤️😭. I needed this graphic novel. Also can we talk about the drawing : THEY ARE GORGEOUS 🥺❤️. Also happy to see my baby bean elias. I’m not gonna say much bc I don’t want to spoil but Tavi ❤️❤️

  13. 4 out of 5

    Gretal

    I was a little confused at first because I have a terrible memory and this throws you right in, but I did really like this. I look forward to the other prequel graphic novels.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    OMFG OMFG OMFG MUST HAVE NOW

  15. 5 out of 5

    TJ

    I’ve been anticipating this for a while; I’m a big fan of Sabaa Tahir’s Ember in the Ashes series, so I was excited to see how her world translated to graphic novels. Sabaa didn’t write this book though, just to clarify; she came up with the story, but the script was not her. I enjoyed the book overall, but there was nothing really unique about it. It was predictable, since we know who survives from reading the books. The art style was nice and I loved the colors, but I had trouble telling Elias I’ve been anticipating this for a while; I’m a big fan of Sabaa Tahir’s Ember in the Ashes series, so I was excited to see how her world translated to graphic novels. Sabaa didn’t write this book though, just to clarify; she came up with the story, but the script was not her. I enjoyed the book overall, but there was nothing really unique about it. It was predictable, since we know who survives from reading the books. The art style was nice and I loved the colors, but I had trouble telling Elias and Tavi apart— they literally look almost identical. Also, every character was drawn extremely feminine, so I thought Tavi was a girl until they mentioned his gender halfway through. If you’re a big Ember fan, you’ll find something to like here; if you’re not... I’d say skip it. 3.5/5 stars.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    As much as I adore the EMBER series and will happily read them time and time again, this graphic novel just didn’t do anything for me. Although it was kinda cool to see a bit of Elias’s and Helene’s time as Fivers, the mission they were on was so ho-hum; it definitely felt like there were better stories to tell. I wasn’t surprised at any of the plot points, didn’t feel attached to Tavi, and thought the art became very repetitive after a while (all the blacks and jungle greens became one big blur As much as I adore the EMBER series and will happily read them time and time again, this graphic novel just didn’t do anything for me. Although it was kinda cool to see a bit of Elias’s and Helene’s time as Fivers, the mission they were on was so ho-hum; it definitely felt like there were better stories to tell. I wasn’t surprised at any of the plot points, didn’t feel attached to Tavi, and thought the art became very repetitive after a while (all the blacks and jungle greens became one big blur). All in all this was a very low-stakes low-reward read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    frida ♡

    A THIEF AMONG TREES JULY 2020 LET’S GOOOO

  18. 5 out of 5

    Karleah Olson

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is a great addition to the Ember universe, and a nice look back at young Elias in his earlier days at Blackcliff. I loved to see that he had his questions, and uncertainty and integrity even early on and it just made me love his character even more. Young Helene was brutal, but I guess that is her character, and what makes her so interesting later on in the series. This is definitely for fans of the series who already know the characters, it is a pretty contained story but I think you need t This is a great addition to the Ember universe, and a nice look back at young Elias in his earlier days at Blackcliff. I loved to see that he had his questions, and uncertainty and integrity even early on and it just made me love his character even more. Young Helene was brutal, but I guess that is her character, and what makes her so interesting later on in the series. This is definitely for fans of the series who already know the characters, it is a pretty contained story but I think you need to have the insight of how they all turn out for the story to really hit home. I loved the artwork, and some moments really foreshadowed coming events (in the novels) and made it pretty emotional. Obviously it doesn't have the depth, world building and characterization of the novels, but I didn't expect that from a graphic novel, and it is clearly intended to build on the existing Ember storyline.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sasha Zatz

    GUESS WHO HAS AN EBOOK IT'S ME I DO

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kerran Olson

    This graphic novel is a great prequel to the ember series, and gives a bit more insight into Elias and Helene. Their characters here both feel consistent with the novels, and the artwork is fantastic.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dustin Johnston (dragonarmybooks)

    I love Sabaa Tahir. I love Ember in the Ashes. I love Elias. And I love Helene. This made it incredibly easy for me to love this graphic novel! A Thief Among the Trees is a prequel graphic novel where we follow a young Elias, Helene, and a new third character, Tavi, on one of their deadly missions as Fivers at Blackcliff Academy. I typically judge graphic novels by three categories: artwork, dialogue, and story. Artwork - Cute, pretty, detailed. It's not jaw-dropping like you get every once in a w I love Sabaa Tahir. I love Ember in the Ashes. I love Elias. And I love Helene. This made it incredibly easy for me to love this graphic novel! A Thief Among the Trees is a prequel graphic novel where we follow a young Elias, Helene, and a new third character, Tavi, on one of their deadly missions as Fivers at Blackcliff Academy. I typically judge graphic novels by three categories: artwork, dialogue, and story. Artwork - Cute, pretty, detailed. It's not jaw-dropping like you get every once in a while in some graphic novels. Neither is it ugly or distracting like you also find in many graphic novels. Here, the artwork was an aid to tell the story, and it did that well. I only questioned some of the character art decisions, but after a few pages in, I no longer cared. Dialogue - Sometimes dialogue can come off forced and very explanation heavy in graphic novels. It did NOT feel this way here. Dialogue felt smooth and natural and felt true to the characters we know and love. Story - This is where Sabaa always shines. She is one of my favorite storytellers for a reason. The story is simple. The Fiver trio arrive at an island to retrieve a poison to bring back to Blackcliff. However, the island is guarded by advanced soldiers and there are other Fivers to deal with as well. That's the premise, but there is always a deeper story being told. Through the events that occur on the island, we see Elias's feelings and motivations starting to form. We see Helene's start to solidify. I loved this quick glimpse at their lives before things became much more weighty. It's a wonderful graphic novel for fans of the series. If you haven't yet read An Ember in the Ashes, read it first!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Shira

    See my review on No Flying No Tights. See my review on No Flying No Tights.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Litfox Ag

    I am a huge fan of AEITA and this graphic novel was one of my most anticipated books. Firstly we all need to take a minute and say that the art of the book is the best, such a good work! About the story: I wanted more... I thought that with this prequel we will learn more about the chracters,but we only see one of their mission.So do not expect to learn anything new about them. I felt kind of dissapointed about it but seeing young Elias and Helene, so cute!! I would really like to see some more pequ I am a huge fan of AEITA and this graphic novel was one of my most anticipated books. Firstly we all need to take a minute and say that the art of the book is the best, such a good work! About the story: I wanted more... I thought that with this prequel we will learn more about the chracters,but we only see one of their mission.So do not expect to learn anything new about them. I felt kind of dissapointed about it but seeing young Elias and Helene, so cute!! I would really like to see some more pequels ;)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    I really love the world building and depth of An Ember in the Ashes series, and I can't wait to read book #4 at the end of 2020. A Thief Among the Trees: An Ember in the Ashes Graphic Novel is the first of a trilogy of prequels. I think readers of the series will love the opportunity to return to this world and see Elias and Helene training and coming to understand the empire they serve.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Alya

    "We may have been forced into this, but it doesn't mean we have to let them dictate our lives completely." Fast-paced story. Me like it! Elias was sooo much better here and I like this version of him! Helene was still loyal to the Empire blindly. And our new character (I forgot if he ever mentioned in the series? I have a *cough* bad memory) Tavi was the star in this book! Also love the art!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kotarah

    Omg *tears* I was NOT expecting to get this in the mail three days early. I absolutely loved being in this world again and getting to know Elias and Helene as kids. I'll admit when I first heard that Ember was getting a graphic novel prequel I was nervous. I was scared that it'd be too light and fluffy and the story would suffer. But this was so well executed. I cried multiple times. I loved seeing how this shaped Elias as an adult (my favourite book boyfriend). And I loved how you could already Omg *tears* I was NOT expecting to get this in the mail three days early. I absolutely loved being in this world again and getting to know Elias and Helene as kids. I'll admit when I first heard that Ember was getting a graphic novel prequel I was nervous. I was scared that it'd be too light and fluffy and the story would suffer. But this was so well executed. I cried multiple times. I loved seeing how this shaped Elias as an adult (my favourite book boyfriend). And I loved how you could already see their characters forming so strongly. The story was so good and it's such a great edition to the Ember world. Plus the artwork was stunningggggg! Now I just can't wait for Ember 4.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Angie Haas

    I’ve never actually read a graphic novel before, so I have nothing to compare. However, I thoroughly enjoyed this short prequel about the lives of Elias, Helene, and the other Fivers of Blackcliff. I hope she Tahir does more, as I would love to have a bunch of these short story graphic novels for my bookshelf.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Danni Werhane

    “What’s the point of being brave if your not brave for the right reason?” This shook me to the core. She’s done it again. It says on the back of the book that it’s a standalone? But there are two other of these on goodreads so. . . I hope that happens

  29. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

    My sweet Elias!! I saw his heart in this story and can see how it is the same heart at the end of Reaper. I'm so thankful for this story and all it showed us if Elias and Helene because it is the starting of who they become and why! A must read for Ember fans!

  30. 4 out of 5

    ATheReader

    Wow this was a great graphic novel. I love the Ember In The Ashes series and this was a great background book. I really recommend this- it has a cool insight/plot and beautiful drawings. (Only thing I can criticize is I kept mistaking Elias for Taz because they look similar from the back.)

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