‘Tahir spins a captivating, heart-pounding fantasy’ – Us Weekly
The sequel to the explosive New York Times bestselling debut An Ember in the Ashes, that’s captivated readers worldwide.
After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt Elias and Laia as they flee the city of Serra.
Laia and Elias are determined to break into the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison to save Laia’s brother, even if for Elias it means giving up his last chance at freedom.
They will have to 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.
- ISBN13 9780008160371
- Publish Date 24 August 2017 (first published 30 August 2016)
- Publish Status Active
- Publish Country GB
- Publisher HarperCollins Publishers
- Imprint HarperVoyager
- Format Paperback
- Pages 480
- Language English
- URL http://harpercollins.co.uk
Whew this installment most definitely UPPED THE ANTE at every turn! I loved the first book but this was seriously just mind blowing! Consider me invested, entertained, & a *liiiiitttttle* (a lot, naturally) OBSESSED AF.
I love how far on her journey to becoming a TOTAL badass Laia is! My girrrllllllll! At the beginning of book one, she was really kind of inherently unlikable because her inner dialogue was running on a constant negative feedback loop that became somewhat arduous & utterly exhausting. NOT ANYMORE, MY FRIENDS! She’s an actually incredible person, & instead of feeling sorry for herself, will stop at nothing to help others. Plus, shes just plain cool AF. When, exactly, that happened, I am not even sure. BUT the fact remains that she is amazing!
I also effing LOVE Helena, now. I really do. Everyone is changing for the better!
So many things I loved about this book, but RTC! Because On to Reaper At The Gates!
*squeeeeee take 3!*
(Interestingly enough, there were a lot of aspects of this that brought the Poison Study books to mind, which is an added bonus because those are incredible!)
Also, though, I have to say the two things that brought this down .5 a star:
• HOLY HELL, I cannot stand love, erm, quadrilaterals? (Not a triangle, and pretty much involves 4 main people, so...) I REALLY hated how the most “involved” in a way didn’t even seem authentic to me. They made me feel NADA.
• WILL LAIA & ELIAS EVER CATCH A BREAK?!? Aagghhhh! I feel like there should be SOME reprieve longer than a brief, BRIEF moment. I love slow burn but this is like... RIDICULOUSLY frustrating, because these reasons don’t even seem like ones that should actually keep them apart?
*mild keyboard smash*
It's been around two years since I read An Amber in the Ashes, but even though it's been a while, I absolutely loved it, and really wanted to continue with the series. And A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir is an awesome follow up!
This is a difficult book to talk about plot-wise, because a lot happens that is quite spoilery. A Torch Against the Night starts off moments after the end of An Ember in the Ashes, and follows them as they escape and journey to Kauf, the prison where Laia's brother, Darin, is being held. The focus of this book is getting to Kauf to try and free Darin, so most of the book is the journey northward. Because of this, in some ways, it's a slower, quieter book, but that's not to say a large number of things happen along the way, things I can't talk about. But it's not just a boring story of them travelling from A to B. They discover a lot on their journey, various things happen to them, and things get very interesting, indeed.
It's told from the perspectives of Laia, Elias, and Helene, though we get more of Laia and Elias than Helene. I can't really talk about the character arcs or development for Laia and Elias without spoiling things, but they are so very interesting and exciting! Even so, I absolutely loved her chapters! She is a really complex and interesting character. She believes in the Empire, and their superiority to everyone else. But she hates the new Emperor, Marcus, and the Commandant, Elias' mother. Marcus has given her the mission to hunt down Elias, and she's torn between doing her duty and going after the man she loves, or not and risking her family. Because Marcus is a heartless, cruel and ruthless emperor, and will have the respect - or fear - of his people, and will absolutely follow up on his threats. I have conflicting feelings for Helene, because she's not a bad person. She has been brought up, like most around her, to believe that she is superior to others, that the Empire is everything, and the Scholars are below them. They're nothing, and their ill treatment is deserved. And it's just so difficult, because I definitely felt for her and the situations she finds herself in, the decisions she has to make, but at the same time, she doesn't bat an eyelid at the treatment of the Scholars, though we never see her treating anyone badly. So I switch between really liking her as a person, and feeling sorry for her, to feeling absolutely disgusted at some of the views she has, and wanting to scream, "What is wrong with you?!"
As I've said several times, there's a lot I can't talk about. But there are a number of discoveries, things that are sure to become important later down the line, there are interesting developments, there are a number of questions that aren't answered, and there are a few jaw-dropping twists that I absolutely did not see coming, and they are just so exciting! It's a real emotional rollercoaster, and I seriously just want to give both Laia and Elias a hug! A Torch Against the Night is an incredible sequel, action packed and completely captivating! I absolutely cannot wait to read A Reaper at the Gates, and see where the story takes our characters next! I have a feeling it's going to be epic!
Full review to come!
The first tale had two POV’s those of Elias and Laia, but in A Torch Against the Night Tahir introduced Helene’s narrative and it was bloody brilliant. Helene has become Blood Strike, and her story at times stole the show. She is given the impossible task of capturing and killing Elias. Elias and Laia are on a quest to rescue her brother Darin. Their quest is filled with danger and discoveries. Tahir delivered an addictive story with twists, turns and betrayals. At times I could do nothing more than stop in place, hold my breath and listen.
“But you, Helene Aquilla, are no swift-burning spark. You are a torch against the night - if you dare to let yourself burn.”
Saab Tahir continued to flesh out the world, giving us a firmer grasp of the hierarchy, political climate and supernatural elements of this world. Laia continues to surprise, and I am curious about her ultimate role as this story continues.
Tahir’s writing is vivid and her prose like musical notes to my ear. Not only did she capture the emotions of each character she brought each scene to life. As Elias and Laia traveled a sandstorm kicked up, and she allowed me to experience it. I could taste the sand and hear the relentless wind. We travel through villages and forests as we make our way towards the prison. Along the way, we learn more about the characters face Helene’s pursuit and pick up allies. It was intense and Tahir did not spare our feelings as she conjured up this brutal world.
“It takes only a split second for life to go horribly wrong. To fix the mess, I need a thousand things to go right. The distance from one bit of luck to the next feels as great as the distance across oceans. But, I decide in this moment, I will bridge that distance, again and again, until I win. I will not fail.”
Tahir’s writing lends itself perfectly to audio and the narrators certainly enhanced my experience. I adore Fiona Hardingham accent and it lends itself perfectly for the voice of Laia. Steve West brings Elias to life. I particularly loved Katherine McEwan’s rendition of Helene. I felt she captured Helene’s insecurities and struggles. At this point I cannot imagine enjoying this series any other way.
Audio provided by publisher, This review was originally posted on Caffeinated Book Reviewer
What can I say other than amazing. A Torch Against the Night is without a doubt one of my top reads of 2016. Picking up exactly where An Ember in the Ashes left us, we start with Elias and Laia attempting to escape Blackcliff and Serra intact. While Ember had only their points of view, a third is added into Torch, that of Helene, Elias's best friend during his training at Blackcliff. At first I wasn't sure I wanted to know her point of view, however she became almost as important as the other two.
There is almost no down time in Torch, for anyone. The entire story had me anxious to see what happened next, but nervous to find out. We see many familiar faces, and there are a few moments where our heroes get to enjoy some peace, but those are few and far between. I was shocked and destroyed a few times, and there was a twist I did not even a little bit see coming that wrecked my soul in the worst and best possible way. I can't really explain it here without ruining the story for you, but read it and you will see what I mean. And I am happy to discuss it with you privately. Email me, message me, tweet me - I need NEED to discuss this with someone.
The ending was pretty much exactly what I needed. It obviously doesn't wrap everything up because this is a trilogy, but it doesn't leave us in the middle of an escape like Ember did. So if you are one of those people that don't like to read cliffhangers, relax, this is one you can read before the next book comes out.
If you have yet to read Ember, what are you waiting for? It is one of my all-time favorite books (I own an ecopy, the audio book, AND hard cover) and Torch does not suffer from "second-book syndrome." Read it. Love it. Then talk to me about it.
Be ready their is a lot of heart ache to be had in this story. I really liked that we got to learn a lot more about Helene character and how she comes in to her role as the blood shrike you really hurt for her as you follow her story line she gives up so much for the empire in this book, ya just want her to get her happily ever after though it does not look like that happens in this book by the end.
One other thought i had on this book is that it did a really great job of sharing the culture of the empire. I feel like i really know this world that laia, helene, and elias are growing pu in. Their a lot of hurt and i hope that at some point we get to see a great remaking of this world.