Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes), A

Sabaa Tahir
THE ASTONISHING SEQUEL TO THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER, AN EMBER IN THE ASHES"Most Spectacular Sequel" -- Entertainment Weekly Summer 2016 Must List"Even higher stakes than its predecessor… thrilling..." —Publishers Weekly, starred review“[An] action-packed, breathlessly paced story.” —Booklist, starred review"Excellent." —Kirkus ReviewsElias and Laia are running for their lives. Following the events of the Fourth Trial, an army led by Masks hunts the two fugitives as they escape the city of Serra and journey across the vast lands of the Martial Empire.   Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—and save her brother, whose knowledge of Serric steel is the key to the Scholars' future. And Elias is determined to stay by Laia’s side...even if it means giving up his own chance at freedom.   But Elias and Laia will have to fight every step of the way if they’re going 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. Helene’s mission is horrifying, unwanted, and clear: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape...and kill them both.Praise for An Ember in the Ashes:“This novel is a harrowing, haunting reminder of what it means to be human — and how hope might be kindled in the midst of oppression and fear.” — The Washington Post“An Ember in the Ashes could launch Sabaa Tahir into JK Rowling territory…It has the addictive quality of The Hunger Games combined with the fantasy of Harry Potter and the brutality of Game of Thrones.”—Public Radio International"An Ember in the Ashes glows, burns, and smolders—as beautiful and radiant as it is searing."—Huffington Post “[An Ember in the Ashes] thrusts its readers into a world marred by violence and oppression, yet does so with simple prose that can offer moments of loveliness in its clarity. This complexity makes Ember a worthy novel—and one as brave as its characters.” —The New York Times Book Review 

Reviews

Reviewed: 2017-03-10

This is a fun YA series. It's quick and easy to read and always entertaining.
-mm

Reviewed: 2016-12-29

    This one broke my heart into a thousand pieces. This is hard to review without spoilers, so I apologize if I am vague. After the first few chapters I was concerned that it was going to a drawn out, predictable journey, but I couldn't have been more wrong. I loved getting to know Helene better and hearing her point of view- she is caught in the middle of a political upheaval and has some very tough decisions to make, though I can't believe that it took her so long to figure out what was really happening. Laia showed her vulnerable side, and struggled with her decisions - I loved how Keenan was there to support her. I feel that Elias is the standout for me - he is a tortured soul who uses his skills learned as a mask to try to make amends, and I really connected with him. It is so beautifully written and character driven with a plot twist that I did not see coming. Though it is dark at times, it is about determination, loyalty, bravery, sacrifice and never giving up. I will not be posting a book summary for this book since it is the second book in a series and I do not want to spoil anyone that has not read the first book.

Reviewed: 2016-09-22

 A Torch Against the Night

Sabaa Tahir

 

A Torch Against the Night is the riveting sequel to Sabaa Tahir’s breakout novel An Ember in the Ashes, and picks up running right where the latter left off. Admittedly, I went into Tahir’s sophomore venture into the world of Laia and Elias and the Martial Empire with some reservations as I have seen far too many series flop in their second outing for numerous reasons. Thankfully my apprehensions were pleasantly foiled.

 

The novel picks up hours after the events of its predecessor, plunging us into the midst of Laia and Elias’ harrowing, desperate escape from the iron clutches of the Martial Empire. Their journey is a race against time and death, two unshakeable constants in their world. They struggle against all odds to complete the quest they vowed to finish: save Laia’s brother from an impenetrable prison and rekindle the Scholar Resistance’s dying hope. Their journey rips them apart while binding them together; it flings them so far outside their comfort zones while plunging them deeper into the essence of who they are.

 

 

As with An Ember in the Ashes I still take issue with the lack of distinction between Elias and Laia, which is further muddled by the introduction of Helene’s point of view, who was a major character in the first book. Sure, the events are obviously different, but, again, if not for that and the named chapters I would struggle to know who is who. That the sequel also delves quite a bit deeper into the realm of magic and mysticism, almost to the point of plot vehicle or deus ex machina, is obvious, but does not take away from its overall charm and spirit. A Torch Against the Night is a spirited, gripping, emotional, and thrilling second chapter into a series that has from its first words shown great promise.

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