We finally made it to the third book in the An Ember in the Ashes series and things are getting real. Laia, Elias and Helena are basically on their own as they deal with the many crisis’ going on in the Empire. Laia is focused on one two things, bringing down the Nightbringer and saving her people. Elias is the new Soul Catcher but having trouble in his new role. Helena is the Blood Shrike, trying to defend the Empire and the Emperor who she doesn’t like and defending what is left of their family. As they go about their business, they have no idea that they are doing exactly what the Nightbringer wants them to do. It frustrating as it is interesting to read as the reader knows that the characters are playing into their enemies hands but are unsure as to how exactly and horrified that they is nothing they can do about it. I spent a fair amount of my time reading wanting to scream at Laia, Elias and Helena to STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING! YOU ARE MAKING A DUMB MISTAKE! Especially, Helena who was supposed to be one of the smartest in her class at the Blackcliff but time and time again was easily out maneuvered by The Commandant or the Nightbringer. He biggest mistake is that she assumes that everyone loves the Empire as much as she does and will play fair and is shocked to find that’s not the case and even though she is told this many times she continues to make this mistake. (I think a certain political party is the same way and is why it keeps losing) Her unwillingness to believe or play that game keeps costing her and is even more frustrating because the one time she does, she won. Anyway, this was a great set up to the final book that will definitely feature more pain. Let’s hope our characters learn from their mistakes in this book.