(An Ember in the Ashes #2)
by Sabaa Tahir
Amazon | National Book Store
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.
“When the fear takes over, use the only thing more powerful, more indestructible, to fight it: your spirit. Your heart.”
I read An Ember in the Ashes earlier this year, really enjoyed it, and looked forward to the sequel just like everyone who have read it and experienced that ending that was most definitely not the end of Laia and Elias’ story.
A Torch Against the Night started right where An Ember in the Ashes left us hanging. It was action from beginning to end. For a huge book, I could’ve easily flown through it and devour the whole thing in one sitting. Alas, work is a demanding monster. But every time I pick it back up it’s so easy to get back into the world and connect with the characters and I was just compelled to turn one page after another until my reading time ran out. There are so many conflicts, political intrigue, and the EMOTIONS ARE OVERFLOWING. It’s a bloody, bloody book.
“So much death,” I say. “It’s everywhere. What’s the point then of living? Will I ever escape it?”
While the plot and the world isn’t that different from other fantasy books I have read, there is so much depth when it comes to each character. The addition of Helene’s perspective is probably the best thing to happen in this book. She was the girl I wanted to hate in An Ember in the Ashes but just couldn’t. And now I love her so much. She’s badass but the poor girl has to be the most conflicted character here.
“Loyal to the end. Loyal to whom? My family? The Empire? My own heart?”
The book took some very surprising turns which I wouldn’t have seen coming if I wasn’t spoiled. But even so I couldn’t get my emotions on hold. A Torch Against the Night is definitely a heart-pounding read, one that made me dread but at the same time anticipate the things that are going to happen with each turn of the page. I can’t wait for more.
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*Thank you Penguin Random House for sending me an ARC of this book for review.