Author: Sabaa Tahir
Publication Date: August 30th 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopia, Romance
Pages: 452 pages
My Rating: 10/10
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.
“Don’t you see? So long as you fight the darkness, you stand in the light.”
A Torch against the Night was everything I need in a book! I had to stay up all night every night reading until I finished it because, I couldn’t bear to be parted physically nor mentally from my precious characters for too long! I was amazed by how the sequel turned out so great I even thought it was better than An Ember in the Ashes! We were swept into the action immediately without any training or safety belts which made the book even more exhilarating!
It was written in such a way that I could easily imagine everything without any struggles and I’m really proud of that, because I usually imagine settings and people wrong. I think it’s because Sabaa always writes all the details and descriptions of a characters or a setting together so it stays in my mind. I just wish there was a map for me to look at and see how the characters travel from one place to another, which would’ve made the series more magical.
This book was bloody and by bloody I mean I could imagine blood dripping from the pages. There was TOO MUCH DEATH! It was intense and very fast paced with complex characters, who were constantly suffering. Someone was always in danger so I was always distressed and on edge with more of my nails being bitten!
The world Sabaa builds becomes so much bigger and we get to see lots of new settings in the book that only add to magical gory dark world. This book had much more magical creatures that I thought were pretty wicked and gruesome giving an element of creeeeepy! There were unexpected plot twists around every single corner, I was freaking out most of the time and gasping at the events I was reading about. I was texting my friendwho already read the bookwhenever something surprising happened and all my texts consisted of: “WHAAAAT IS HAPPENING??? WHY DOES THIS HAVE TO HAPPEN? OMG NO! DOES THAT MEAN THEY’RE GOING TO DIE?? And so on..” I was so engrossed reading that I didn’t even notice the book ending. That ending was as I love it: emotional, with a promise for more, with a hint of hope.
If you haven’t read these two books yet, run to the closest bookstore/library and start reading them because they are just great and deserve so much appreciation from readers, you won’t be disappointed, Saba is a master at story weaving!
(! SPOILER ALERT !)
“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.”
Laia was on the run from the Martials alongside Elias, on an impossible mission to rescue her brotherDarinfrom the most heavily guarded prison (but you might as well call it a torture camp instead of prison though). She has become much stronger than she ever thought she could be and the fact that she managed to survive on her own when Elias was sick and dying just proves that she’s a tough character no matter what everyone else thinks. After Laia gets touched by an efrit she develops the cool power of invisibility, which I envy her for, I want to be touched by an efrit and get powers too! She’s made a lot and a LOT of mistakes that cost people their lives but she still never gives up nor hesitates, she just keeps blaming everything on herself while moving forward. There’s still more to Laia than her armlet and invisibility powers that we still don’t know because the fey can’t seem to harm her. I also feel bad for Laia, she was in love with Keenan who only wanted to take advantage of her so he seduced her and then left her! But I’m glad the love triangle issue’s been resolved so I can ship Laia with Elias now! YAY!
“Laia and Elias are each other’s countermelodies.”
Elias is my precious gem and I am prepared to fight anyone for him! From the very beginning he was pushing himself so much and he managed to fight his wicked horrible excuse of a mother and get poisoned! Then he starts seeing the Soul Catcher and the Waiting Place, and all that just confused me and gave me a bad feeling. I LOATHED the Soul Catcher for coming between Elias and Laia by convincing him that he hurts everyone he loves! Which, by the by, is ABSOLUTELY incorrect and that just made me frustrated with Elias. Oh, but the scenes with Elias and his tribe and Mama Ralie were beautiful and mesmerising! Everything was going smoothly until he learned about his death date and then left Laia behind with Keenan and the rest. His encounters with Tristas broke my heart, because he will never forgive himself for tormenting Tristas. That lovely twist in the end when I found out who Elias’s dad was and that his brother’s Avitas Harper, had me open-mouthed and delighted. There always has to be a surprising reveal in families for some reason and it makes me laugh like a maniac! Now Elias is Soul Catcher and the fact that he accepted that job to save his friends and punish himself further KILLS me! Why does he have to be so god-damned loyal and noble to the core like that?
“Most people are nothing but glimmers in the great darkness of time. But you, Helene Aquilla, are no swift-burning spark. You are a torch against the nightif you dare to let yourself burn.”
Helene! I’m so glad we got her POV along with Elias and Laia’s to see into the Empire. The first thing we read about Helene: was her being tortured for information on Elias. I disliked her in the first book because she was merely a love interest which I didn’t care about however, in this book, she became a totally different person who’s been hardened by life, and I liked that. She faced impossible decisions each worse than the other and I could see how every failure weighed down on her soul. The choices she had to make were insane like having to choose between her childhood best friend and family! Now that the love triangles are over, I totally ship Helene with Avitas!! I’m completely ready to read about Helene kicking the Commandant’s tiny butt to Hawaii!
What I mean by saying that this book was bloody means that, there was too much death! The sheer number of people that were killed terrifies and disturbs me. Slaves and Scholars were all being massacred and nobody could do anything except stand and watch! The FREKAING Commandant was unleashed to those poor undeserving people! How can the people of the Empire think that the way things are is correct? How can Martials still believe in honour and loyalty to their emperors? I would wince in pain whenever another person was being killed. IZZY! Why did she have to die? I have no idea as to what purpose would Izzy’s death serve! I got even more heart broken when Elias found her in The Waiting Place meaning that she hasn’t moved on yet.
The villains only managed to increase in number and notoriousness in this book. The Commandant utterly terrifies me, she’s just pure EVIL EVIL EVIL for no apparent reason. She went on blind killing sprees killing anyone and everyone that stood in her way and enjoyed the killing too! The Warden was a completely different kind of lunatic evil than the Commandant. He spooked me out so much that I couldn’t stop thinking about him holding the poor baby and cutting the baby with a fascinated expression on his face and seeing him break all the bones in Elias’s hand agonisingly slow. He’s a creature from people’s worst nightmares and I’m more than thankful that he died in the end because of his own underestimations.
I would never have guessed what Keenan was! Never! The fact that Keenan was the Nightbringer all along blew my mind! I was such a fool, believing in Keenan! His story was a devastating one, so I could feel nothing but pity towards him, I can’t consider him as a proper villain because he really just wants to free his people. I wonder what will become of him now that his identity’s been revealed.
“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.”
Overall, A Torch Against the Night couldn’t have been better and I enjoyed every page of it! I just have to wait for an entire year for the next book to come out!
I hope you guys enjoyed my review. Have you read this book or plan on reading it soon? Let me know what you guys think.
Until next time my lovely readers.