A Torch Against the Night
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Pages: 464 pages
Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: August 2016
Rating: 5 Stars
After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt Elias and Laia as they flee the city of Serra.
Laia and Elias are determined to break into the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison to save Laia’s brother, even if for Elias it means giving up his last chance at freedom.
They will have to 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.
It is official, I am addicted to this story and these characters! So much happened at the end of the first one that I had to pick this one up straight away. This review will contain spoilers for the previous book.
This book was action-packed from beginning to end, Laia and Elias are escaping the city and they come across the Commandant whilst doing so, who seems to just let them go. Laia and Elias are headed to Kauf to break Darin out of prison and are having some cute moments together on the way, and then Elias started having a seizure, which was not fun. I really loved the development of their relationship and felt it was realistic for their situation, as much as it annoyed me that they weren’t together 24/7!
‘You are my temple. You are my priest. You are my prayer. You are my release.’
Helene’s point of view is introduced in this book, which was an interesting addition. At first, I wasn’t really interested in her perspective and only care about Laia and Elias, but she grew on me. I think having her perspective made her more human to me, as previously we had only seen her through Elias and Laia’s eyes. At the beginning she is being tortured for information about Elias and his and Laia’s whereabouts. I love her growth throughout this book and it wasn’t till the end that I decided I did like her! In A Torch Against the Night, she has been tasked by the new Emperor Marcus to find and kill Elias, which goes against her beliefs as Elias is her friend. She has a team made up of Faris, Dex and the man who tortured her, Harper. I thought he was a really interesting addition and I loved finding out more about Harper! Also, Cook was in this book and she was such an interesting character, I can’t wait to see more of her. Helene’s outlook definitely changes in this book, and for the better.
‘Elias and Laia are each other’s countermelodies. I am just a dissonant note.’
Keenan and Izzi returned in this book, and whilst Izzi remained a side character I loved the scenes she was in. I don’t know whether I didn’t like or trust Keenan because he wasn’t Elias or not, but he irritated me in this book and was constantly getting in the way of my ship! Also, I feel like Laia is a much stronger character when she’s with Elias, and Keenan kind of diminishes her and makes her appear weaker and incapable. Elias makes some stupid decisions in this book, that annoyed me majorly, but by the end he understands not to be selfish in his decision making. When he has his seizures, he was taken to a forest where the Soul Catcher was and she tries to make him stay away from Laia. The magic in this book was so exciting and I feel like it’s been slowly building up for the next two books. Something is amiss with the Jinn, Ghuls, Wraiths and Efrits, they are so interesting and I just want to know more about them!
‘I miss that girl. That Laia. That version of myself that burned brightest when Elias Veturius was near.’
There is so much more I could say but I don’t want to spoil anything major for those that haven’t read it. All I can say is, these books do not disappoint! I am hooked and kind of scared about what might happen as I am going in completely blind! If you’ve read this book, who is your favourite character?