Title: A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2)
By: Sabaa Tahir
Published: August 30th 2016
You can buy it HERE: Book Depository
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.
|| Goodreads ||
“So long as you fight the darkness, you stand in the light.”
OMG these books are going to be the end of me. I found myself reading slower just so this book wouldn’t end, so of course, I really liked it. I think it’s such a fascinating story and every time I read about these characters, their journeys and their stories, I like them more and more, it’s almost like being there with them, feeling their losses and their battles. Honestly I feel super emotional for this book, it was incredible!
I can’t really talk much about the things that happened as such because it’s a second book, you already know that, but anyway, I’ll tell you a little about my feelings while reading it and what I think about it, spoilers free.
Well, in this book I found a more complex, deeper and darker plot than in the first book, especially because it touches much more the paranormal aspects and the myths that surround the world where the story unfolds, and that was very interesting for me, I think the world is so rich, it never stop to surprise you. It was also much more informative, political and even more cruel, I would say, than the first one, and I really enjoyed that too. The emotions were so intense, I lived from beautiful moments that I expected a lot, to surprising moments that broke my heart. I literally I cried twice with this book, it was too much for my heart. .So for all those who warned me that this book would play with my emotions, you were right
The world building was SO GOOD. The scenarios are always different, the characters are in constant movement, so we’re always in different places.We went from desert places that characterize this story so much, (as you remember this based in ancient Rome), to places with more vegetation and forests, and even places with snow, and I love that because there’s no way to get bored of always be in the same place. I think the author does a wonderful job about the world, and with her descriptions it’s very easy to imagine that you’re there along with the characters
Speaking of characters: They’re my favorite part of the book, and of the series, so far. The author has given personalities very marked, deep and real to each of the characters, therefore it’s very interesting to follow each point of view. Apart from the characters that we already knew from the first book, here also many new ones are incorporated that will be very important for the plot and its twists.
Let’s start talking a little about Laia. I love her, I think she’s a character that grows a lot, and in this book we continue to see her stronger, loyal and kindly side and I love as she always take risks for those she loves the most. I respect Laia a lot, because despite all that she has had to go through, especially in this book, where she’s faced with unexplained and difficult situations, she proves to be a very good , sensitive and strong person , and I can’t wait to read more about her.
Moving on to Elias, whom I also LOVE, he’s such an incredibly strong character. We see him suffer a lot in this book, OMG I was so scared for him, and yet he shows that he can against anything, and seeing all the sacrifices he’s willing to make, all that just make me love him even more.
Then we have Helene, whom I have a strange relationship with, on the one hand I like her, because I feel she’s strong and always fights for what she believes, besides, being honest, only she could survive such injustices. I suffered a lot with her in this book, but on the other hand, I can’t fully connect with her yet .
Something new that we have in this book is, in addition to Elias and Laia POVs, it’s also a third POV, what is Helene’s, and I enjoyed it even though sometimes I don’t understand how her mind works, we meet very interesting characters from her point of view, as well as revelations and scenes that will leave you breathless
Then we have other characters like Keenan, Darin, Izzy, Afya, Tas and many more , but I prefer to reserve my thoughts as I know that I’ll be all emotional about it and there will be many spoilers lol. But what I can say is that even the most secondary character has a great participation in the plot and that, for better or for worse, is sensational.
“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.”
The writing style it’s great, it’s very deep and a little dark at times, but in this book in particular, seemed slow pace. The first one was much quicker to read, but I feel that this is perhaps because of the whole journey that the characters take and the places they visit, all this requires a lot of description. Even so if you take the time to read it slowly it’s VERY enjoyable.
It has a couple of good plot twists, one of them I saw it coming, it wasn’t so surprising, I think it was that kind of situation that is leaving clues so you can deduce what’s happening, but the other was quite unexpected. Both will give you another perspective on the story and I’m excited to see how it will continue
This book also has many action scenes, so if it’s something you enjoy in books, you’ll surely love it.
What I liked besides the action was, that these scenes also count with a lot of tension, and that’s what makes them so good. On the other hand, we have the romance, there’s something that’s being built between the main characters and other things that are dissolving, and I love every part of that. I still don’t know if it could be called ROMANCE as such, but I think it’s the construction or the beginning of one, and the fact that it’s a slow burn kind of thing, makes it even better
I really liked the end, I definitely feel that I should read the next book soon. I highly recommend these books if you like fantasy, a world building as real and cruel as well as beautiful, and above all, characters that you’ll love. Prepare yourself for the feels and pick up the first book if you haven’t done it yet!