Title: A Torch Against The Night
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Pub. Date: August 30, 2016
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥
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.
Even though I own a physical copy of this book, I decided to listen to it via audiobook – and I was not disappointed. In my Six of Crows Book Review I talk about how nervous I was trying out audiobooks – you can click the link and read why.
I initially read An Ember In The Ashes earlier this year in the Spring and loved it. I loved how it mixed Ancient Rome with Middle Eastern Mythology and how that created this unique fantasy world that draws the reader right in and captivates.
I really enjoyed the different point of views, and how they provided a more cohesive story. So much is happening in the Empire, and seeing how 3 different people see that was fantastic. I enjoyed the pacing, never finding it too slow or two fast. There were characters I HATED, but the good kind of hate. The kind of hate where the Sabaa did her job so effortlessly that their characteristics and actions led them to be bad. I love when I have a real reason to hate a character.
One thing that did surprise me was that I actually grew to like Helene. In the first book, I honestly didn’t care about her. She was an interesting character, but I wasn’t swayed either way on her. In this book, I found myself actually looking forward to her chapters, and seeing the internal and external fight she was up against. Out of Elias, Laia and Helene, I think Helene had it the worst. Her life was torn out from under her, and she had to survive in the heart of a world that would sooner see her dead if she stepped one toe out of line. I loved how much she changed over the course of the book, and I cannot wait to see what hell she rains down upon the Empire in book 3!
Overall, I loved this book, and would recommend it to anyone who loved a unique fantasy with deep characters – I honestly don’t think you’d be disappointed…just make sure to read An Ember In The Ashes first!