- Page Count: 464
- Release Date: August 30, 2016
- My Rating: 5 stars
A Torch Against the Night takes readers into the heart of the Empire as Laia and Elias fight their way north to liberate Laia’s brother from the horrors of Kauf Prison. Hunted by Empire soldiers, manipulated by the Commandant, and haunted by their pasts, Laia and Elias must outfox their enemies and confront the treacherousness of their own hearts.
In the city of Serra, Helene Aquilla finds herself bound to the will of the Empire’s twisted new leader, Marcus. When her loyalty is questioned, Helene finds herself taking on a mission to prove herself—a mission that might destroy her, instead.
That was absolutely brilliant. Easily one of the best books of 2016!
“But you… are no swift-burning spark. You are a torch against the night – if you dare to let yourself burn.”
When I finished An Ember in the Ashes I felt like no words could do that book justice, and now I’m sitting here in the same position. I cannot express what an emotional rollercoaster this book was or how completely amazing every single character’s story was! Aaaahhh I would not change a single thing.
This story has a slightly different feel to it than the first book since it’s more spread out and there are more threats. It feels somehow darker, yet more hopeful at the same time? And it’s SUCH an intense mess trying to figure out everyone’s motivations and loyalties. I won’t summarize the plot here because pretty much everything feels like a spoiler and if you read the first book you know where Elias & Laia are heading and what Helene needs to do. AND I JUST WANT EVERYONE TO BE HAPPY so of course it’s all sorts of drama.
I like stories where characters are stuck with impossible choices or are in situations which lead them to do understandable things that I hate to see happen. This fails in the execution with some books and comes off as characters making idiotic choices instead, but Sabaa Tahir is brilliant. She wove everyone into the trickiest corners!!
I actually thought Elias and Laia were pretty much in character and just felt a bit different because they were dealing with a lot of stuff in their own fitting way.
I know some people have also complained that the pacing is a bit slower, but I thought that just added to the drawn-out tension. The slower scenes made me panic even more because everyone was in such a dire situation… like every single POV is racing towards something & away from some horror at the same time.
I also liked that nothing felt forced or unnecessary for the plot & character development, which was really wonderful to see for a change. AND THAT PLOT TWIST — did not expect that.
There were scenes that reminded me of Six of Crows, The Two Towers, and Game of Thrones, but even then the story had a completely original feel to it. Like I’m pretty sure Marcus is almost worse than Joffrey at times… ugh he was brilliantly vile. But the Warden and the Commandant were somehow even MORE evil.
Basically, every single character was so solid that I was invested in them all despite their conflicting interests. Helene was one of my favorite characters in the first book and I loved her even more here! Her character went through SO much and ughhh there were just too many emotional scenes throughout this brutal story. Like NOBODY is safe and the sense of humanity was so strong when you least expected it.
Other random thoughts:
– I love Tas so, so, so much.
– SO many wonderful villains. I had no clue who was double-crossing whom or which person was actually running the show.
– The Soul Catcher stuff & other slightly supernatural aspects were really cool!
– There’s what feels like magic but yet it also somehow feels normal??
– Helene’s sister played a really cool role
– I TOTALLY FOUND A NEW SHIP
The only aspect I wasn’t as huge on was how Elias and Laia’s feelings and actions could be partially attributed to… some other plot stuff… instead of just themselves. I thought their actions were totally understandable, stronger coming just from them, and made me love these flawed characters who were dealing with so much even more.
Otherwise the writing was AMAZING and everything is perfect. Except the wait for the sequel. That’s going to be harsh.
Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC!