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A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

I can’t believe it took me so long to get to A Torch Against the Night, the sequel to the acclaimed An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir!

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 had such mixed feelings about this book it took me awhile to come to terms with them. So one of the things I enjoy the most about this book is that it is fast paced. I love a book that keeps the action moving, however, this one seemed like too much action. Like all the time, like they rarely got a friggin fraggin break.

And the violence. To be sure, the first book is violent. And I guess that’s why it became popular was because it was so violent that the more folks heard about it the more they wanted to read it for themselves. So I expected the second book to be violent as well. So I guess the violence didn’t bother me as much because I was expecting it but it seemed senseless. So much killing.

And the love triangle. That I enjoyed but had mixed feelings about (as you should I suppose). Does Laia love Elias? Does Elias love Helene? Does Helene love Elias? And who’s this new guy who moves in on Laia? Is Elias jealous? We know Helene is jealous. Well played Tahir, well played.

I’m not sure if they’ll be another installment. If so, I’m not sure that I’ll pick it up. I kind of got the closure I needed from this book. I’m not really sure who else is left to kill? Well, I know, but I don’t want to see that.

Thanks for an entertaining read Sabaa Tahir!

By Pam

My passion is advocating for diversity in children's and YA literature.