Author: Sabaa Tahir
Series: An Ember in the Ashes #2
Release Date: August 30, 2016
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewer: Jessica Higgins
A stellar follow up to the amazing debut novel by Sabaa Tahir. A Torch Against the Night is not to be missed!
Now that Laia has freed Elias, they are on the run to stay alive and free Laia’s brother who is in Kauf prison. Being one of the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prisons, this is no easy task. Elias has vowed to help Laia but it might cost him his own life. Together they will have to fight their enemies at every turn, and they will not be playing fair. They are going against Emperor Marcus, Elias’s mother, the Commandant, the Warden of Kauf, and Helene, Elias’s former best friend and the Empire’s new Blood Shrike. Helen has the hardest mission of all, find them both and kill them. If she doesn’t, she risks the lives of her family and possible her own. There are those that don’t want to see her succeed and even put spies within her guard to thwart her every move. They are all on a treacherous path and not everyone will make it out alive.
I don’t think anyone realized how popular An Ember in the Ashes would be when it came out. That gives the debut of A Torch Against the Night a difficult task: be even better. It is hard for a sequel like this to live up to the first. I had to reread the first before starting this to make sure I remembered the story well enough to continue. I’m glad I did because it made this one even better. While An Ember in the Ashes went back and forth between Elias and Laia, A Torch Against the Night added the viewpoint of Helen. This was done for obvious reasons. With Elias and Laia together most of the time, we needed a viewpoint of what was going on with the rest of the characters. This could have been done with several characters, Helen, Marcus, or even the Commandant. I’m glad Tahir chose to go with Helen, she really carried her part of the story well. The action picked up right where the first left off and didn’t let up till the very end, which is left open for the next in the series. (I’m assuming there will be more in this series, there MUST!) The entire world was set up in the first book but here we see much more of it and in very interesting ways, especially with the introduction of the many different tribes. There is so much more for us to find out with these characters and where they are headed. I see this being as big of a hit, if not more, than the first.