Monday, March 19, 2018

A Torch Against the Night - Review

A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2; Ember Quartet #2)

By: Sabaa Tahir

Published: August 30, 2016 by Razorbill

456 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Source: Personal Kindle Library

(Goodreads / Amazon)

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.

This is the updated book cover. When I first purchased the kindle version of this story, the new covers hadn't yet been made. I like them a lot better. I love when book covers, especially fantasy book covers, tell a story all on their own with characters who are easily recognizable.

It appears that I read and reviewed An Ember in the Ashes in June of 2015. That was a long time ago! You would think that after nearly 3 years, this series would have fallen off my radar, but not so! I purchased book two at least a year ago, if not more, and had every intention of reading it quickly. But as time goes on and reading genre preferences change, I found myself looking at this one and passing it over for something else. So here I was, the beginning of 2018, and the story of Laia and Elias was continually on my mind, so I knew it was time to pick up book two. Sometimes you have to go with your gut on these kinds of things. Otherwise, if you're like me, and you pick up another book in a series just for the sake of continuing on with it, but you really aren't in the mood for it? It can be disastrous for both your overall enjoyment of the story and thus your review.

I'm sure some details were fuzzy for me going in to book two, simply because so much time has passed since I read book one. However, the characters and their situation was still fresh on my mind still. A Torch Against the Night picks up right where I remembered An Ember in the Ashes ending. Laia escaping the city with Elias as her guide to rescue her brother.

"He is Elias Veturius, heir to one of the Empire's finest families. He is a former Mask - an elite soldier of the Martial Empire. And he is my ally - the only person who can help me save my brother, Darin, from a notorius Martial prison." 

I'm going to be extremely vague and non-descriptive about the details of this story. When it comes to most fantasy stories, to give more away in the later books in the series, is to give away a great deal of the plot. Suffice it to say that they can't escape as easily as they would like. They have an entire army set on finding and stopping them, all because the new emperor has given an order to his new Blood Shrike to kill Elias. The problem with that, is that they used to be close friends.

There is a bit of a love triangle in this story that bugged the stew out of me! It felt all wrong to me and it felt forced. There's a quote that comes out of nowhere about this "unspoken love" and I remember thinking to myself "I guess I missed this emotional buildup between them". It was a head scratcher for me! And when the revelation comes surronding it, it made more sense why I was never on board with this triangle.

I can't say I'm stoked about the ending of this one. There's a bit of a cliffhanger, but not a jaw dropping one. Knowing there's more to come, and that most likely means more twists and surprises, I'm hopeful enough to see some things I'd like to happen. I've got fingers crossed for it anyway!

Top 5 Favorite Quotes:
"Family is worth dying for, killing for. Fighting for them is all that keeps us going when everything else is gone."

"As long as there is life there is hope."

"You are my temple," I murmur as I kneel beside her. "You are my priest. You are my prayer. You are my release."

Laia and Elias are each other's countermelodies.

"Failure doesn't define you. It's what you do after you fail that determines whether you are a leader or a waste of perfectly good air."

Language: 1 (light)
Mature Content: 1 (light)
Final Rating: 4 stars


  1. I haven't read this series, but I agree that I like the new cover better. Also just wanted to say that I was excited to see you get another review up! :)


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