Title: A Torch Against the Night
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Series: An Ember in the Ashes #2
Genre: YA Fantasy
Blurb: 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.
Review: I am so glad to be finally reviewing this book!!!! It took me so long to finish it, because I had so much else going on, so the fact that I have finished it and can review it now is awesome!
I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this series, An Ember in the Ashes. I can say for sure that this second book takes what was great in the first book and expands upon it. It was wonderful to see more about this world and the mythology behind all of it. We spent a lot of time with Laia and Elias in the first book, but this time we also get some first person perspective from Helene as well, who is probably my favorite character in the series so far. You want to talk about a character who has so many conflicts going on, both internal and external? Helene is your girl. Figuring out her feelings for Elias. Figuring out how to keep her family safe. Navigating her position as Blood Shrike to an Emperor who she knows is a horrible person. She’s also a bad ass, which I always enjoy.
Also a bad ass – Laia. She is not your archetypal bad ass heroine because she is pretty meek and mild. She’s not a natural fighter, but her dedication and determination to rescue her brother drives her to overcome any doubts and fears so has. While Elias is also very brave, he was raised to be a fighter. Still, this strength is put to the test since Elias is wounded with a poisoned blade at the very beginning of the book and spends the rest of the book slowly weakening and dying. Even so, he still does everything he can to help Laia.
As far as villains go, Keris Venturia is one of the best. She is absolutely cold blooded and this makes her completely terrifying. We also meet a new villain who may have been briefly mentioned in the first book (I honestly don’t remember) but we learn so much more about this go around: the Nightbringer. Scary. Just super scary. I also love that we get to know the Soul Catcher as a character, especially as her “relationship” with Elias deepens as he gets closer and closer to death.
This story is gripping and exciting and I cannot wait to see what happens next. I will definitely be reading book 3 a lot faster than I did this one, even though I know that book 4 isn’t out yet and won’t be for a while. I need to know what happens next!
GoodReads rating: 5 stars. It keeps getting better!
Categories: Books I've Read