Review: A Torch Against the Night (#2) by Sabaa Tahir

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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. 

We pick this book up directly where An Ember in the Ashes leaves off, and are immediately thrown into the action. Again, Alex and I buddy read this book and will be continuing to buddy read the rest of the series, and we both really liked how the story continued seamlessly on. Although I’m not sure how that would feel if I had left any time between reading each book!

This book brings a new point of view in addition to those we are already familiar with of Laia and Elias. I really enjoyed the addition of Helene’s point of view, especially as she has an interesting relationship and dynamic with the other characters. I’m looking forward to seeing her grow as a character in the next few books, as she feels naive to the actions of the Empire and is only just opening her eyes to the impacts of the actions of those around her. I also appreciated having her view of the world from a different side of Elias or Laia, as she shows what is happening in Blackcliff Academy.

Your emotions make you human. Even the unpleasant ones have a purpose. 

I was a little worried this book may have second book syndrome, which I often find in the second book in a series that feels like a bridge to the next. However, I feel like Helene’s point of view was a brilliant way to keep A Torch Against the Night fresh. I also felt like the plot continued to be interesting and the pace was kept consistent throughout this book. The end of this book especially had so many twists and turns and part of it really made me gasp!

I loved the cast of characters so much, and there was some aspects of this book that made both me and Alex emotional. There are some new characters introduced in this book and I really loved Tas, a friend of Elias as the book goes on. The friendship between Elias and Tas, Laia and Izzi and many of the others really warmed my heart.

I also really enjoyed how this book in particular gave us a look at the wider world outside of Blackcliff Academy, and I can picture the world really well. I’m enjoying the world building and I’m looking forward to seeing more of the surroundings in the last two books in the series.

Don’t lock them away. If you ignore them, they just get louder and angrier.

Overall, this was an excellent sequel which I really enjoyed and I’m still loving the writing, which is emotional but really easy to read and compelling! I couldn’t put this book down and I always wanted to find out what would happen next.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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