Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Summary: “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.” (Summary found on Goodreads).
“Your emotions make you human. Even the unpleasant ones have a purpose. Don’t lock them away. If you ignore them, they just get louder and angrier.”
I have come to the conclusion that I will love everything Sabaa Tahir writes. A Torch Against the Night was a masterpiece and despite my traitorous memory (I read this in May), I can recall that much. The rest of this review will probably be me blubbering about emotional things and questioning everything because I happen to remember quite little about this book. Just that I never wanted it to end and there was a plot twist that killed me.
So yes, this is my ghost writing this currently. I am deceased and have been for two months. Time does not run the same in the afterlife apparently. (Or I’m just really really lazy and busy).
ATATN picked up right where AEITA (short for An Ember in the Ashes because who has time to write that out) left off. I didn’t need a second to get into it because I truly already was. Not to mention, Tahir has a special knack for trapping her readers and then spitting them out ten years later with little idea of what had happened to them. Basically, I was hooked.
Her writing is gorgeous, too, with lines like, “So long as you fight the darkness, you stand in the light” and the one of which the title is derived from, “But you, Helene Aquilla, are no swift-burning spark. You are a torch against the night – if you dare to let yourself burn.” Have I ever mentioned how much I love when titles come from quotes within the story? If not, then I’m mentioning it now. That’s one way to get me to love your book…
The next is to create characters that you can feel and give them backstories that make you ache. I love Laia. I love her so much. I love Elias too. And a small part of me cares about Heline, despite her being an actually horrible human being. My one tiny little qualm here…I don’t actually see Laia and Elias together. I’m hoping for the platonic friendship and nothing to ever happen between them. Personally, they do not have ANY chemistry. Maybe that’s just me? I don’t know. I kind of like Heline and Elias, which is probably horrible, because Heline’s middle name should be “Yikes” and Elias’s should be “I can do much better”. She doesn’t deserve him, but I’ve always been a fan of the friends to lovers trope. Help. I am what we call, torn.
“It takes only a split second for life to go horribly wrong. To fix the mess, I need a thousand things to go right. The distance from one bit of luck to the next feels as great as the distance across oceans. But, I decide in this moment, I will bridge that distance, again and again, until I win. I will not fail.”
Anyway, everything about this book was fabulous, even if it did end up ripping out my heart. ALSO, WHAT IS THIS ABOUT THE NEXT BOOK BEING RELEASED IN 2018??? I CANNOT WAIT THAT LONG. TOO FAR. TOO DANG FAR. Ms. Tahir, if you see my review, I’d really love an ARC for the next one when they’re available…*wink*
If you couldn’t tell from this review, I highly highly recommend picking up An Ember in the Ashes and then reading this lovely, but painful, sequel.
“Don’t lock yourself away from those who care about you because you think you’ll hurt them or they’ll hurt you. What point is there in being human if you don’t let yourself feel anything?”