A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

ATAtN

“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.” -Sabaa Tahir, A Torch Against the Night

Goodreads Blurb

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.

 

Spoiler Review

I’m not sure if I liked this book more of the first one, An Ember in the Ashes. They’re both so awesome that I rated them both 5/5 stars. I hate how we have to wait until 2018 for the third book to come out! I’ll have to reread A Torch Against the Night before then. I’m really bad about forgetting what happens in books because I read so many throughout the year. I read for pleasure and with my kiddos at school so I start getting plot lines and characters all jumbled up.

I liked the switch in dynamics with the characters in this second book. It was as if each one was out of their element and you had to watch as they tried to adapt to their new lives. Not that their lives were great in the first book because everything was horrendous. From Laia becoming more independent and growing into her power, to Elias being an outlaw on the run and becoming the new Soul Catcher, Helene adapting to her new loyalty of being the Blood Shrike, Marcus as Emperor and dealing with his brother’s death, etc.

I knew from the get-go this was going to be more sad than An Ember in the Ashes. It’s one of those books that tells you how it’s going to end and then fills you in afterward on how they got there. I hated knowing Elias was doomed. Be it death, or stuck as Soul Catcher. Both destinies are tinged with grief. He always has to sacrifice so much. They all did in this book. Laia lost Izzy and her brother was not the same, Keenan betrayed her, Elias had to choose death or a lonelier version of death, Helene lost 3 of her family members… the list goes on.

Bu I feel like the plot is building up to something way bigger than what it already was. Like a Sarah J. Maas novel. Almost every character has been turned into a dynamic character. I though Cook and Izzy and Marcus were just going to be static… but everyone has grown and changed in some major way.

I’d love to be the sort of author that could accomplish all of that on top of awesome world building. No wonder it’s taking her so long to finish the books! They’re so intricate.

I hope someone buys the rights to make this into a movie at some point. It has the potential to be fantastic if it’s done right. I could totally see Theo James playing Elias. I know he’s not as dark as Elias is supposed to be but their characters, Elias and James’ as Four in Divergent, seem similar.

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