A Torch Against The Night by Sabaa Tahir

A Torch Against the Night Review

atatnBook: A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
Series: An Ember in the Ashes #2
Pages: 452
Publisher: Razorbill
Date Published: August 30th, 2016
Source: Owned
Date Started: October 5th, 2016
Date Finished: October 13th, 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.

I just finished A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir a few minutes ago and I couldn’t wait to write my review. This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2016, and I couldn’t wait to just dive into it.

All the same feelings, but different at the same time.

I read An Ember in the Ashes last year, but I never did a review of it because I read it during a time when I was recovering from surgery. I decided to reread it this year in anticipation of the sequels release, and I was really glad that I did. I loved diving back into the world of Elias and Laia. One of my favorite parts of this series is how much history and culture is mixed with fantasy. If you didn’t know already, there are some influences of  ancient Roman military culture in this series. Its got the rigorous military training, the politics, the hierarchy of families, or gens, and so much more. A Torch Against the Night still has that familiar feel, but its also different at the same time. The first book mostly took place inside the military training center, Blackcliff. In the sequel, we see much more of the world. More of the tribal lands, the dangerous and dark Kauf prison, and of course more characters to meet and fall in love with. But theres also more fantasy elements in this book. I think book one shines with its world building, and book two shines with its fantasy elements.

Slowburn #1: The Action.

In book two, you can expect the same kind of pacing that was in An Ember in the Ashes. Weeks and months go by. It isn’t a whirlwind story that all takes place within the confines of a week. Things take time to build up. I think this is really important because when dealing with politics and revolutions, it takes time for planning and for plans to actually be made into action. When things come together, the action is nonstop and the waiting really pays off. But don’t be discouraged. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep you on your toes in this one. I kept thinking that I had it all figured out, that this was going to turn out this way, or this is going to happen to this character. But I was surprised time and time again to find out that I was wrong. I love books like that. That means they aren’t predictable. They keep you hooked.

Slowburn #2: The Romance. Just Kiss Already.

The romance in this story is the slowest burn I have ever experienced. Its killer. I keep thinking “will you two just kiss already?” but at the same time I enjoy the slow burn. Because you know what happens at the end of a slow burn. Things are explosive, and the wait is so worth it. Also, I really appreciate that the romance doesn’t take the spotlight in this story. Whenever I read books with lots of action, revolutions, or anything similar, I can’t help but think “who in the hell has time to fall in love at a time like this?”

Will it be One POV, or two? Three??

This book is told from the perspective of three people, instead of the two perspectives of book one. I wasn’t sure how I was to like that because I was only ever interested in Elias’ and Laia’s perspectives. But after finishing the book, having Helene’s perspective was really important to get the full story. It made it a lot of fun to read one person’s point of view and read it from another’s and at the same time say things like “you idiot, thats not what happened!” The characters in this book have gone through a lot of changes, and I really loved the character development. Laia’s development was really interesting because it wasn’t just a straight line change. She falters from time to time due to her circumstances, and I really enjoyed that. Its nice to see characters that don’t just automatically change and end up an entirely different character, when in fact its a process that goes back and forth. It’ll also be interesting to see what becomes of Elias, Laia, and Helene. I have no idea where the story is going, and I love the suspense.

Final Thoughts. 

This was a great read and I can’t wait to read book 3, even thats far off and not until 2018. If you love books with historical influence and blends fantasy, then this might be the book for you. Sabaa Tahir has created a fantastic world that has quickly become one of my favorites.

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