Genre: YA, Fantasy
Source: a copy in exchange for an honest review
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A Torch Against the Night takes readers into the heart of the Empire as Laia and Elias fight their way north to liberate Laia’s brother from the horrors of Kauf Prison. Hunted by Empire soldiers, manipulated by the Commandant, and haunted by their pasts, Laia and Elias must outfox their enemies and confront the treacherousness of their own hearts. In the city of Serra, Helene Aquilla finds herself bound to the will of the Empire’s twisted new leader, Marcus. When her loyalty is questioned, Helene finds herself taking on a mission to prove herself—a mission that might destroy her, instead.
If you know me at all and have seen my twitter header, you’ll know how big of a fan I am of An Ember in the Ashes so you can only imagine how unbelievably excited I was when I was sent an early ARC of the sequel! Thank you to Jaime over at Harper Voyager UK!
I HAVE SO MANY FEELS ABOUT THIS BOOK. I have so many thoughts and feelings and I actually don’t know where to begin, so apologies in advance if I babble. An Ember in the Ashes is probably one of my favourite books in general. There are so many reasons why and if you’d like to read why, you can read my full review here! I know this book isn’t out yet so I will keep this review non-spoilery but if you have read it and want to fangirl etc. feel free to tweet me!
One of my favourite things about An Ember in the Ashes is the main characters. Elias, and Laia, and Helene are all so complex and interesting to read about. So I was so happy when we got Helene POVs especially with her new position as Blood Shrike. In AEITA, I liked Helene but there were times when she bugged me due to her infatuation with Elias but I feel like she was a lot more independent in this book and we got to learn a lot more about her, her position and her family. I was a little surprised by how much I preferred her to Laia in this book. Can I just say, I missed my cinnamon roll Elias so much and I loved reading more about him but also Sabaa Tahir broke my heart. But… I promised this would be non-spoilery.
If you’ve read AEITA,
if you haven’t close this and come back once you’ve read it, you know that the first book ended with chaos… the story picks up immediately and the tension just builds and builds. We see the characters go through so much and seriously, this story was such an emotional roller-coaster and I threw the book several times and the pages are stained with both happy and sad tears. So keep the tissues close by.
Sabaa Tahir’s writing is absolutely beautiful and breathtaking and I adore her world-building. We learn a lot more about the tribes in ATATN, including Elias’ adoptive mother and her tribe. This was also emotional and I wasn’t expecting new characters to be introduced so it was a nice surprise to see that there were indeed new characters and that the world expanded. Another thing that we see more of in this book is the fantasy and supernatural aspects of the story. This was touched on in book one, with Laia having certain abilities and we see more of her abilities in book two though we still don’t know what she is. We also meet some actual supernatural creatures, like… the soul-catcher… I’m sure you can guess what their purpose is from the name alone.
Seriously, A Torch Against the Night is one of my favourite books of the year and Sabaa has fast become one of my favourite authors. I can’t praise this series enough and I just have to add, if you didn’t enjoy An Ember in the Ashes too much, I would still recommend picking up A Torch Against the Night because of how much character and arc development there is. The plot is so action-packed and keeps you on your toes, I don’t know how I’m going to deal with the wait until book 3.
Overall, A Torch Against the Night exceeded all of my expectations and, I didn’t even know this was possible, but somehow I love it even more than I loved An Ember in the Ashes. Sabaa’s writing is beautiful, the world-building is full of depth and detail, and it was just genuinely an exhilarating and emotional read. Torch is over 400 pages and I couldn’t put it down, I ended up reading it in a single sitting. It’s book two and still, I feel like there’s still so much more of this world we can see and so much more plot development that’s waiting to happen so I really do hope this series is four books long if not more. I can’t wait to see this story continue to develop!
Update: deals for books 3 and 4 in this series have been confirmed since I drafted this review and I couldn’t be happier! You can find more details on that here!