Monday, November 27, 2017

[Review] A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
Rating: 4.5 stars 

Published: August 30th 2016
Format: HC

Goodreads Synopsis:
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.
I read An Ember in the Ashes a little more than 2 years ago, so I was worried that I would have some problems remembering who was who, but luckily I had my old review on Goodreads!

We enter Torch in the midst of the action - Elias and Laia are running for their lives, trying to evade capture as they travel north to Kauf prison to rescue Laia's brother Darin. Helene is the newly titled Blood Shrike, with Marcus as Emperor. She's tasked with capturing her former best friend, but the Commandant is trying to put a hole in her plans, and assigns her her spy and torturer, Lieutenant Avitas Harper. 

It's just as bloody and brutal as Ember, but this time, I feel like the stakes were higher and everything was much more intense. No one is safe in this book, let me tell you. Sabaa Tahir knows how to draw you into this world and keep you there.

I like that Torch wasn't as romantically inclined - we're left with our protagonists each off on their own paths. Laia was more well-rounded here, and I'm usually iffy with the love triangles, but the one between Elias/Laia/Keenan wasn't that bad. From it, she strengthened and now she's off to do her badass things with this unexplainable invisibility power she has. 

Also, poor Elias. He's drowning in guilt and it's not really his fault. He's grown from the first book as well and I'm looking forward to his new job as a Soul Catcher. 

As usual, I'm rooting for my girl Helene to get a happy ending. So yes, the Helene POV was a definite plus. The strongest, toughest, best character in the book IMO. She keeps on losing everything that matters to her, and I just want Reaper to at least give her some happiness. 

"There is more to life than love, Helene Aquilla. There is duty. Empire. Family. Gens. The men you lead. The promises you make. Your father knows this. So will you, before the end."
His eyes are unfathomably sad as he lifts my chin. "Most people," Cain says, "are nothing but hlimmers in the great darkness of time. But you, Helene Aquilla, are no swift-burning spark. You are a torch against the night - if you dare to let yourself burn." 

She had a strange song, this girl, with a fey beauty that raised the hair on the back of my neck. So different from Elias's song. But not discordant. Livia and Hannah took singing lessons - what would they call it? Countermelody. Laia and Elias are each other's countermelodies. I am just a dissonant note. 

Just throwing this in here that I ship her with Avitas Harper AND I'M REALLY ROOTING FOR THIS SHIP TO SAIL. 

Anyway, really looking forward to Reaper at the Gates and I'm happy the wait isn't that long! Only till 2018! 

1 comment:

  1. I haven't read book one yet, but it's great to know that the second book didn't disappoint and stayed strong.