Title: A Torch Against the Night
Series: An Ember in the Ashes #2
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Publication: August 30th 2016 by Razorbill
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Pages: 452 pages
Format: Library book
Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.
Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.
But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.
Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.
Shelf it on Goodreads
So here’s the alphabetical run down:
Tahir writes wonderfully complex characters. The chapters alternate between Elias, Laia, and Helene’s perspectives and you gain so much insight into their personalities this way, as you did in An Ember in the Ashes. I feel like Helene’s character comes to life a bit more in this story than the first and I really enjoyed getting to know her better. I also really loved that Helene and Laia are so different, but both such strong female characters. I feel like the strong female lead in fantasy novels can be a bit one dimensional, but this book has two and they are definitely not one dimensional.
I don’t dislike this cover by any means, but I’m not blown away by it either. I do like how it looks with the black and gold cover of An Ember in the Ashes. This one being white and blue contrasts well. I’m interested to see what the next TWO books will look like!!
Again with the character complexity; there are so many feelings flying around in this story! I’m not one to hate a love triangle, but this is a much more complicated shape than that. In the end though, I was happy with the outcome of the various romantic (or potentially romantic in the future) relationships.
After finishing ATATN, it’s taken me a while to write the review. I knew I loved the book, but I also knew that almost anything I said about the book would be a spoiler, and I try to keep all of my reviews spoiler free. So here is what I can say: ATATN picks up right where An Ember in the Ashes left off, which I love. I love when a series doesn’t skip a bunch of time and events between books and then tells you about them instead of showing you. ATATN is almost constant action, which I also love. It is fast paced and as violent as you’d expect from the world that Tahir created in AEITA. Also, I didn’t anticipate any of the large plot points that happened, which I always love. I love a series that can keep me guessing, not because the author makes terrible decisions with their characters, but because the story itself is actually that unique.
“Don’t look so worried. Most successful missions are just a series of barely averted disasters.”
“But you, Helene Aquilla, are no swift-burning spark. You are a torch against the night – if you dare to let yourself burn.”
“Don’t lock yourself away from those who are about you because you think you’ll hurt them or – or they’ll hurt you. What point is there in being human is you don’t let yourself feel anything.”
“Failure doesn’t define you. It’s what you do after you fail that determines whether you are a leader or a waste of perfectly good air.”
I think I may have loved AEITA just slightly more, but this book is an amazing addition to the series and definitely still deserving of 5 hearts.
I can’t believe that the next book in this 4 book series isn’t set to be published until 2018!! Have you read this series? What are your thoughts?