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A Thief Among the Trees

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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 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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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 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

  1. 4 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. 5 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

    Zain ✨

    I don’t really have much to say except for THAT WAS HEARTBREAKING 😭 SABAA TAHIR REALLY LOVES TO BREAK MY HEART AND I DO NOT APPRECIATE THAT!

  5. 5 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!!

  6. 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! 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!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sarah (The Book Marauder)

    Oh my heart 💔😭

  8. 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!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Yas

    “When your body is broken, and your heart is crushed. When they’ve honed you and molded you and beaten you into their perfect soldier...your spirit is the one thing they cannot touch.” In typical Sabaa Tahir fashion, you cannot finish one of her books without getting overly emotional. Yes, even her graphic novels. Not to unintentionally spoil anything but Tavi is the best character in the book. Helene is the same as she always is, fierce and committed to the Empire. Though nowadays that commi “When your body is broken, and your heart is crushed. When they’ve honed you and molded you and beaten you into their perfect soldier...your spirit is the one thing they cannot touch.” In typical Sabaa Tahir fashion, you cannot finish one of her books without getting overly emotional. Yes, even her graphic novels. Not to unintentionally spoil anything but Tavi is the best character in the book. Helene is the same as she always is, fierce and committed to the Empire. Though nowadays that commitment is fluctuating. If you know, you know. Elias and Tavi seem like such good friends and they have the same morals and goals. Seeing them communicate with each other about trying to solve problems was so heartwarming. You get to see how the kids of Blackcliff are ruthlessly thrown out into the open, trying to survive and complete whatever tasks that were given to them. This graphic novel adds a level of depth to the series, and you get to see the moment when Elias starts to question the Empire’s behavior. I wouldn’t pass this graphic novel up, especially when the art is this good!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lucy Tonks

    "My spirit is the one thing they cannot touch." An Ember in the Ashes is one of my all time favourite series so of course I had to pick this up. I had a great time reading this book and being back to this world. I would read anything that Sabaa Tahir writes, no matter the format. We follow Helene and Elias along with their friend Tavi when they are Fivers - training to become elite military recruits - are sent to on a dangerous mission to steal some heavily guarded poison. Soon they find themsel "My spirit is the one thing they cannot touch." An Ember in the Ashes is one of my all time favourite series so of course I had to pick this up. I had a great time reading this book and being back to this world. I would read anything that Sabaa Tahir writes, no matter the format. We follow Helene and Elias along with their friend Tavi when they are Fivers - training to become elite military recruits - are sent to on a dangerous mission to steal some heavily guarded poison. Soon they find themselves against surprising enemies. I liked reading more about Elias and Helene's lives before the events of AEITA. I really liked the plot of this graphic novel, Sabaa Tahir has once again done an amazing job at telling their stories, but I felt like the ending was a bit abrupt. I feel liked there could have been a few more pages and this book would have ended more nicely and had a more satisfying ending. I loved seeing this characters as kids and what they were going through then. God, I'm not even sure how old they are in this book, but they still were kids and they were encouraged to kill. From that young age, they were already killing people. That's so messed up. If you are An Ember in the Ashes fan and you want more of the characters we've come to love in that series, I highly recommend you pick this graphic novel.

  11. 4 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!

  12. 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! An Ember in the Ashes - 5 Stars A Torch Against The Night - 5 Stars A Reaper at the Gates - 5 Stars A Sky Beyond The Storm - 5 Stars A Thief Among 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! An Ember in the Ashes - 5 Stars A Torch Against The Night - 5 Stars A Reaper at the Gates - 5 Stars A Sky Beyond The Storm - 5 Stars A Thief Among The Trees - 5 Stars

  13. 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 ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ 😊😊❤️ ❤️ 😊😊 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 ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ 😊😊❤️ ❤️ 😊😊

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bhavya

    I might read this but I don’t know tbh. I’ve never read graphic novels before.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mefab✨

    I think I am gonna stick to the novels only through it was a nice book. Got to see through a different time period.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    OMFG OMFG OMFG MUST HAVE NOW

  17. 4 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!

  18. 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.

  19. 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 ❤️❤️

  20. 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.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Just Josie

    Beautiful illustrations, solid and deep story and just extremely satisfying to read. ▪️ I really liked it▪️ Loved seeing the characters that I have grown to love in the “Ember ”- quartet. Read: 08/01/2021 1st rating: 4 stars Genre/tropes: Fantasy/YA/Graphic novel Cover: 4 stars Art: 4 stars Will I recommend: Yes

  22. 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.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Klemiki

    Artwise? This book is gorgeous - play of colours, amount of details. But I really wish the story was a bit different, AND that everyone wouldn't look that feminine 😅 I get it that they're all about twelve yo, but it was really bothering me. I hope this ain't the last spin-off comics we're getting 💓 Artwise? This book is gorgeous - play of colours, amount of details. But I really wish the story was a bit different, AND that everyone wouldn't look that feminine 😅 I get it that they're all about twelve yo, but it was really bothering me. I hope this ain't the last spin-off comics we're getting 💓

  24. 4 out of 5

    day

    i loved this so much. i need more aeita books asap

  25. 5 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.)

  26. 4 out of 5

    frida ♡

    A THIEF AMONG TREES JULY 2020 LET’S GOOOO

  27. 4 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.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sara Saif

    Cool, but pointless; my eternal complaint about prequels, especially graphic novel prequels. All this one did was let the readers observe the beginning of Elias's contempt for the Empire. I think the first book did a good enough job of that. Cool, but pointless; my eternal complaint about prequels, especially graphic novel prequels. All this one did was let the readers observe the beginning of Elias's contempt for the Empire. I think the first book did a good enough job of that.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mora

    idk what i'm doing reading this when i've only read the first two ember books and even then only the first one again recently (so much for rereading to continue the series lol) however i wanted to read a graphic novel and this was available on libby so i was like "sure why not" idk what i'm doing reading this when i've only read the first two ember books and even then only the first one again recently (so much for rereading to continue the series lol) however i wanted to read a graphic novel and this was available on libby so i was like "sure why not"

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sasha Zatz

    GUESS WHO HAS AN EBOOK IT'S ME I DO GUESS WHO HAS AN EBOOK IT'S ME I DO

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