I received this galley in consideration for an honest review.A Torch Against The Night by Sabaa Tahir
Series: An Ember In The Ashes #2
Published by Penguin on August 30, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
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 a book like An Ember in the Ashes comes out, there is always so much pressure on the second book to be just as good. I have to say that A Torch Against the Night did not disappoint! It pretty much picks up right where book one stopped and you are right back in the tunnels with Laia and Elias, who are running for their lives. Traditionally, second books are when the hero and heroine are separated, and I suppose you could say that is the case in A Torch Against the Night, although it wasn’t for the entire book. There are three narrators in this story, Elias, Helene, and Laia, which I loved because I am a big fan of multiple points of view. I have to say that I wasn’t a huge fan of Helene in the first book, but by the end of A Torch Against the Night I felt like I knew her and I really felt for her, as well. Laia and Elias aren’t the only ones in terrible and seemingly unwinnable situations. The brutality of the Emperor and the Commandant is highlighted through Helene’s eyes and Helene’s story really helped to round out the world and allowed me see the brutality from all sides.
A few things that happened surprised me and there was one big reveal that I kind of saw coming, but that didn’t lessen the impact because it will certainly have a big role to play in the next book. Every time I thought the story might need to change direction in order to keep the momentum, it took a turn that made it very difficult to put down every night. There is heartbreak, for sure, and just as he did in book one, Elias kind of breaks my heart. He is a beta hero in an alpha hero’s clothing and I love him for it. Laia continues to demonstrate her intelligence and determination to find her brother and perhaps save the Scholars from annihilation, and it’s her story and character arc that makes this series so engrossing. The relationships between all of the characters, romantic and platonic, developed in a way that not only kept the story moving, but made them seem even more real. I felt even more invested in the characters than I did at the end of book one, and that is saying something. A Torch Against The Night was a definitely a book that made me wish for more, but the good news is that there are two more books in the series!