- 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.
“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 had the hardest time conveying what an emotional rollercoaster that book was and now I’m sitting here in the same position. Every single character’s story was amazing!
This book has a slightly different feel to it than the first one 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 (instead of what feels like random idiotic choices). Sabaa Tahir is brilliant with how 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 still 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 are still winning at 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!
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
- nobody is safe and the sense of humanity was strongest when you least expected it
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 and stronger coming from them.
Otherwise the writing was AMAZING and I just really love this series.
Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC!