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Friday, August 26, 2016

ARC Review - A Torch Against The Night (An Ember in The Ashes #2) by Sabaa Tahir

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Published:August 30th 2016 by Razorbill and Harper Voyager
*This review is based on an ARC I was sent by the publisher, this however hasn't effected my review of the book in any way, and all thoughts are my own. Quotes used in this review may however be subject to change.*

Synopsis From Goodreads


A Torch Against the Night takes readers into the heart of the Empire as Laia and Elias fight their way north to liberate Laia’s brother from the horrors of Kauf Prison. Hunted by Empire soldiers, manipulated by the Commandant, and haunted by their pasts, Laia and Elias must outfox their enemies and confront the treacherousness of their own hearts.

In the city of Serra, Helene Aquilla finds herself bound to the will of the Empire’s twisted new leader, Marcus. When her loyalty is questioned, Helene finds herself taking on a mission to prove herself—a mission that might destroy her, instead.

Review - 5 Stars


Earlier this year I finally read an Ember in The Ashes and fell in love with Sabaa Tahir's work, the fast passed action, the brutal world she developed and the character's she had created. Since then -like many of her readers - I have waited impatiently for the sequel, and let me reassure you all - it is worth the wait. In my opinion this book is just as good, if not better than An Ember In The Ashes.
A Torch Against The Night starts straight after the first book ends, reminding us of Sabaa Tahir's love of  dramatic beginnings. I am grateful for there being no time gap between the books as I hate to miss out on the details of such tension filled action. These first 50 pages or so, we follow Laia an Elais's as they fight for their lives in their attempt to flee the highly trained, merciless soldiers of the Empire and -of course- the commander herself.
In this book we also get to read from Helene's point of view (POV) as she follows a different path to our other main characters. In seeing things from her POV we get to see her strength and ability to endure all the hardships thrown her way, it also highlights her internal conflicts. As Helene spends time near the 'centre' of the Empire and around it's newly crowned Emperor, we get to see the full extent  - or certainly more- of the cruelty and ruthlessness the Empire's inhabitants against each other . We also get to see more political moves as the world opens up and grander schemes are uncovered and developed.  
"But you, Helene Aquilla are no swift-burning spark. You are a torch against the night - if you dare to let yourself burn."
-Page 267
As well as our three main characters there are also some great secondary characters, some from the first book and others, new acquaintances and old friends. The most intriguing secondary character has to be Cook! In the first book she obviously has some kind on interesting past, in this book we her past becomes even more fascinating. There aren't that many scenes with her in but when she does appear we get to see a completely different side of her, I really need to know more about her character. I liked that we got to see more of the world in this book specifically the tribes and how they operate - although I would like to see more of them in the future. 
Sabaa Tahir has this wonderful (?) ability to leave chapters on cliff hangers and then change the POV - pure evil torture. She also had this great way of using characters passing thoughts and concerns cast doubts about characters motives. I don't want to give too much away about the second part of the book but I will say it is full of drama, tension, heart-stopping moments  and so many twists that I could never have predicted happening. 
Despite that this book is full of death and sorrow, I was somehow left with the feeling of satisfaction at it's ending. Though as I look towards the next book I look at it in the same way as Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. In that I know it will be an amazing book the question is, will I survive the loss of some of my favourite character because I know that the survival of them all is unlikely!