Title: A Torch Against The Night ( An Ember in the ashes #2 )
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Published by: RazorBill, an imprint of Penguin Random House
Published date: August 30, 2016
Format: Hardcover 464 pages
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.
Warning: Slight Spoiler ahead, read at your own risk
A Torch against the Night has everything you want in a sequel and more. The novel takes the reader where it left off. Elias and Laia are on the run, from the empire, from Marcus and even from Helene. But, they know their time is running out. Every turn is a trap and every step can be their last. Laia is determined to reunite with her brother, while Elias struggles to overcome the guilt of leaving Helene.
There’s so many plot twists and turns that take the readers to a whole another roller coaster ride.
There are moments like this:
It is just so hard to figure out everyone’s motivation and loyalties.
We also get another point of view, Helene. As the BloodStrike and she know what she must do to win the Empire’s trust and save her family. Her story is just as heartbreaking as it is powerful. Through Helene perspective, we see her transformed into such a strong heroine, that I failed to see in The Ember in the Ashes.
“But you, Helene Aquilla, are no swift/burning spark. You are a torch against the night- if you dare to let yourself burn.”
I almost hope there’s a change in Commandant when I first begin the book as she would have any love for her son, Elias at all.
However, Torch has such a different feel to it than the first book. It really shines light on the brutality of the Empire. It somehow feels darker and more depressing. It is almost as Elias and Laia are fighting a losing battle with s much pain and suffering. Torch is tangled with immense action.
It will also leave you will burning questions, questions that may be answered in the next two books.
Thanks to RazorBill for their generosity in providing this arc for review.