A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir




A Torch Against the Night was pretty much everything I could have wanted in an AEITA sequel. It’s bloody, thrilling, and non-stop from start to finish. It’s possible my family thought it was surgically attached to my arm the past two days as I carried it around with me everywhere so that I could fit in a page here or a page there (the whole time longing for some uninterrupted “me” time to read it straight through).

“Failure doesn’t define you, he said. It’s what you do after you fail that determines whether you are a leader or a waste of perfectly good air.”

Most of this book is centered around Laia and Elias’ quest to free her brother Darin from the highest security prison in the Empire. I really liked how quickly everything moves in this book. I thought it had a faster pace even than book one, and I was always racing through it trying to keep up with all the happenings.

Some key points:

  • WE GET MORE ELIAS BACKSTORY. Heck to the yes – I looooove me some Elias backstory. Getting to meet his adopted Mammie from Tribe Saif was a HUUUUGE highlight for me. She’s freaking awesome and I am begging begging Sabaa here… PLEASE include more of her in book three.
  • THERE IS PLENTY OF EVIL TO GO AROUND. So, for those of you who, like me, kind of adored hating on The Commandant every second of book one, don’t worry – there is plenty to hate her for in this book. She is just as twisted, manipulative, and sadistic as before, only we don’t see her quite as much as we did in Ember. To make up for the slight demotion in page time, we get The Kauf Prison Warden, who is an equally f***ed up piece of crap human being who does super evil things and smiles while doing them. Top that off with a whole lotta Nightbringer and I’d say it’s safe to say that A Torch Against the Night is DARK with a capital D. While it’s always fun to find a villain you kind of fall in love with (I’m looking at you Darkling) it’s almost more fun to find a villain you absolutely hate with a burning passion – I’m talking Dolores Umbridge level hate – and Sabaa is so good at bringing in those types of characters. I was a ball of vengeful rage for at least half of this book.
  • LAIA DISCOVERS SECRETS. This book has an additional layer of mystery and magic that book one didn’t have, and while I’m sure that might throw some people, I dug it. For one thing, An Ember in the Ashes did a great job introducing magical creatures and foreshadowing that we’d see a lot of more of them later on, so it wasn’t shocking to me when heavy doses of magic started dropping out of the sky here. I’m excited to see where all the magic leads in the next book.
  • HELENE IS BETTER THAN EVER. I liked Helene in book one, but I LOVED her in book two. She is freaking fantastic, and you can just tell that her storyline is going to be a bloodbath a la Game of Thrones. Marcus is such a crazy person (but there is a ghost involved in his storyline whom I love), and Helene has to deal with a huge amount of stuff here that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. But what I love most about her is that she does horrible things but she often does them for good reasons. She may not have the pure protagonist heart Elias has, but she’s a very gray character, and that makes her suuuuper interesting to read about.

There are so many things to love about ATATN. It’s full of twists and turns, and while it’s definitely hard to compete with AEITA, I think Torch manages to hold its own and then some. You can tell it’s all leading up to an even bigger climax, and it’s truly hard to imagine what Sabaa has in store for us next, but I know that I absolutely cannot wait to find out.

Rating: 5/5 stars 

TALK TO ME: Have you read An Ember in the Ashes yet?? Did you love it? What are you most looking forward to in the sequel?

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