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.
Rating: 5 Stars
Book Title: A Torch Against the Night
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Release Date: August 30th, 2016
Poor Laia always seems to be on the run. At the beginning of An Ember in the Ashes she was running from the Mask who shows up at her grandparent’s house, and by the end of the book she’s running for her life once again, only this time with Elias. Part of the reason I was so hooked by the end of the first book in this series is because of the ending. I wanted to know NOW what was going to happen to the two of them, and how the Empire was going to survive under new rule. Not only that, but there were so many separate stories going on at the end of the first book (Elias’s and Laia’s, Helene and Marcus, Izzi and Keenan) that even if you didn’t care for one or more of the characters, there were still so many elements of the plot going on at once that you couldn’t not be invested in at least one of their outcomes. For me, Helene was the only character I wasn’t overly thrilled about going into this book. I would be lying if I said I didn’t hold any grudges against her in book 1, but I was shockingly surprised to find her personality growing on me in this book.
o Helene’s story: With Elias and Laia being on the run, it would be hard to see what was taking place in the Empire WITHOUT Helene’s story getting told the way it was. I liked the mix between scenes with Elias and Laia, and scenes with Helene and her job as the Blood Shrike to Marcus. Reading these portions of the book helped fill in some of the plot gaps that we didn’t get to see during the parts of the book with Elias and Laia. I also secretly started to enjoy Helene as a character overall, and I could side with her a little bit. Initially I think I was so irritated with her because she never seemed to do the right thing, like Elias, and I was constantly comparing her to him. In A Torch Against the Night though, doing the right thing isn’t as easy of a decision as it was in book 1, because this time her family and friend’s lives are at stake.
o The fantasy elements: HELLO MAGIC. You would have to be daft not to have noticed at least some foreshadowing to this in book 1 (I apologize if you did not realize it, I was only joking;) ), but A Torch Against the Night really started to incorporate more of the fantasy aspect of this world. I also loved the inclusion of the Soul Catcher and the role she played in Elias’s journey with Laia. I think if you loved the Exquisite Captive Series by Heather Demetrios you’ll also love this one as well.
Not So Favorite Bits:
o The deaths: There were one too many deaths in book 2 for my liking, but then again I could just be a big sap :)