Title: A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2)
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Published by: Harper Voyager
Release date: September 8th 2016
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.
Thank you so much to Harper Voyager for sending me a proof of A Torch Against the Night to review!
I absolutely loved An Ember in the Ashes – it was one of my favourite books of 2015, and so I was beyond excited to read the second book. But, I have to admit, I was also a little nervous – would A Torch Against the Night live up to An Ember in the Ashes? Is that even possible? Well. I need not have worried, because ATATN not only lived up to AEITA – it completely exceeded my expectations. I had to take a break after reading it to just sit and think about how I’m going to deal with the wait for book 3, and to just stare at the book in complete awe, because I’m normal like that.
So much happens in this book, without there ever being too much going on. But it is one hell of a roller coaster – there is so much more horrifying brutality in this book, so much action, heartbreak, tension, emotion and so many tears to be shed. At the end of every chapter I was dying to know more, to keep reading.
A Torch Against the Night begins immediately after An Ember in the Ashes ended, and so we’re thrown into the action quite early on in the book, but it wasn’t jarring in the slightest. I found that I immediately picked up the same feeling as the end of the previous book – and couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. We get to see a lot more of this world in ATATN, as Laia and Elias escape from the city and make their way across different lands on their quest to break Darin, Laia’s brother, out of prison, and I loved how fast paced and riveting the plot line was, despite the characters spending the most part of the book on the run.
I mentioned in my review of An Ember in the Ashes how much I loved the strength of characterization, and that continues into its sequel. I loved seeing the added perspective of Helene, along with Elias and Laia. All three of them are spectacular characters, and their development continues into the second book – particularly Helene, who struggles a lot throughout the book, being torn between her loyalty to Elias, her family and the Empire. I am desperate to know how her story continues. And Elias’s story – I wasn’t sure how much my heart could take! He truly is an amazing character and his strength really shone through in this book. Laia, likewise, is so strong and wholly focused and determined to save her brother. I could gush about these three all day!
I’d almost forgotten, in the year it’s been since I first read An Ember in the Ashes, just how beautiful Tahir’s writing is and I found myself being completely blown away again. It is so absorbing and wonderful. She has created two spectacular books and I seriously cannot wait to read more of her work.
Rating: This book seriously deserves all the stars. ★★★★★