Stealing Embers Review - Stealing Embers Book Review

Book Review: Stealing Embers by Julie Hall

“My name is Emberly, and everything I’ve ever been told is a lie.

Monsters don’t exist. Wrong.

The nightmarish spectrum world is just my imagination. Wrong.

In a few months, I’ll finally be free. Wrong.

It takes being dragged to a secret training academy in the mountains to unravel the truth. My captors–an elite race of angel-born warriors called Nephilim.

The deadliest of them all is an arrogant shape shifter, Steel. He’s gorgeous, lethal, hot-headed . . . and convinced I’ll be the death of them all.

Maybe he’s right. As soon as I show up, the monsters that have haunted me my entire life breach the academy walls. … I have an impossible choice.

Stay and fight for a place to belong . . . or decide once and for all that I’m better off alone.”

Excerpt Shortened.

AUTHOR: Julie Hall

GENRE: YA Fantasy/Paranormal

AGE: 14+

RATING: 5/5

Stealing Embers in a Nutshell

Do you ever feel like a book was written for you? Like the author jumped into your head, picked out some of what would be the coolest things you can imagine, and wrote it down on paper?

That was Stealing Embers for me. As I was reading this book, I went from “Oh, that’s cool.” to “Woah, that’s really cool….” and finally, “Man, I friggin’ love this book!”

17-year-old Emberly knows she’s in trouble. After years of bouncing around the foster system, with numerous adults trying to cage her in mental institutions, she decides that her best chance of survival is living on the streets. You see, Emberly isn’t like other girls. Not only was she born with weird hair and freak superstrength and speed…sometimes she slips into another dimension. A dimension with flying beasts trying to kill her.

Then one day, she discovers the truth: she’s actually a descendant of a fallen angel, a nephilim. With the hope of learning more about herself and training for survival, she goes to Seraph Academy. Think Hogwarts, but for half-human/half-angel hybrids. 

Cue the Mean Girl standoffs, enemies-to-lovers tropes, and the cool power discovery scenes. 

At first she’s hopeful that she’s finally found her place in the world, but as her powers grow, so do the Fallen attacks on the academy. Soon Emberly’s forced to confront the monsters that have chased her for so long. 

Stealing Embers is a Harry Potter meets Vampire Academy meets Constantine novel. All written by a Christian author and with totally clean content (with the exception of one cuss word and some family jewels kicking). 

The pacing is fantastic. From the first page, I was hooked. I read it at my kid’s dentist appointment, while my husband drove us to the mall, and every single time my kiddos were distracted with toys (#badmomstatus). There wasn’t a single time where I felt like putting it down. 

What I Liked About the Book: 

The Powers, the Lore…

 Angels, the Fallen, Nephilim, the Creator…I’ve read books with these elements before but Julie Hall created an original world that makes me hungry to learn more. 

Not to mention, Emberly is my hero. Nephilim powers. Cool. Emberly’s powers? AWESOME. 

She. Kicks. Butt.

 She kicks Fallen butt. She kicks Steele’s jerk-face butt. BUT. She also struggles to find her powers, so that makes the butt-kicking much more enjoyable.

Sorry for all the butts.

The Passion

While my one hang up with the novel was Steele, let me just say that the passionate scenes between them are fire. Julie Hall is a craftsman about building a steamy yet clean scenes. I love their connection and the attraction between them. I also love that Emberly does not put up with his disrespectful actions and puts him back in his place several times. 

The Characters

Stealing Embers doesn’t do tired stereotypes. In fact, the author literally takes YA, high school stereotypes and crushes them. 

I think all of the characters are very well fleshed out, but Emberly is certainly my favorite. She doesn’t take crap from anybody. When Steele is being a butt, she’s not the type of heroine to let his behavior slide. She gives it right back to him. She stands up to mean girls without stooping down to their level. And on that note, the mean girls respect her after a confrontation.

What I Didn’t Like:

Steele

I loved almost everything about the novel except for Emberly’s main love interest, Steele. He’s just a jerk sometimes and I have a hard time with that. To be fair, Emberly acknowledges his jerk-status and refuses to get involved with him out of self-respect. She also attempts to stay away from him rather than letting him have his way. 

However, in future novels, I would need to see a lot of character development before I would be on board with him being a legitimate love interest.  

Would I Recommend?

I do not hand out 5 stars. A book has to really impress me.

Stealing Embers checks off all the boxes. Catches you from page one. Strong characters. Intriguing plot. Unique world. And enough action and romance to compel some page turning until at least 3 am. If you liked Mortal Instruments or Vampire Academy, I think you’ll love this one!

By now the sequel has released with special editions (including beautiful artwork) available. I highly recommend getting your copy!