Review: A Torch Against The Night

Author: Sabaa Tahir
Series: AEITA #2
Genre: Fantasy
Page Length: 452 Pages
Publication Date: August 30th, 2016
Publisher: Razorbill
Source: ARC via publisher
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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.
A Torch Against The Night promises so much as it follows on the hot trails of the blockbuster predecessor An Ember in the Ashes. With the hype insurmountably high in the sky, I hardly let myself hope that Torch would be better. I had nothing to worry about though!

Torch brings nonstop action, twists and turns, romance, and heart palpitations to keep readers fully locked on the story. Sabaa Tahir has mentally and emotionally wrung out my brain and feelings with her second installment to her series. Torch doesn't pull any punches. We see a brutal Martial-ruled Empire on the brink of civil war and rebellion as outside forces (both human and otherwise...) seek to destroy the Empire. And in the middle of it all is Darin, Laia's brother. Whispers have scattered on the wind across the country, and now everyone knows of the Scholar boy, the last hope, who knows how to make Spiro's weapons to defeat the Martials. As Laia and Elias race to free Darin before he succumbs to his demise, they also must watch their backs as the manhunt continues for the duo, who have become the two most wanted fugitives.

I was thrilled to see that Helene's point of view was added to this story. She has always been one of my favorite characters ever, and her strength and courage in this book are unmatched. She makes tough decisions and must deal with the consequences, and it makes her so easy to sympathize for and relate to. Elias and Laia continue to have rotating points of view interspersed with some Helene chapters. I thought this really helped round out the story, and I could really feel the difference in the characters as the points of view switched.

Sabaa's writing greatly impressed me in this installment. There's a sophistication and poetic nature in Torch that thoroughly enchanted me. Her diction and dialogue were both equally wonderful, fluid, and challenging.

Some new characters are introduced in this novel, and I really liked the revelations and the situations these characters bring forth for Elias, Laia, and Helene. Sabaa did a wonderful job fleshing out the old characters as well as adding new ones.

There is so much more action in this book, and overall the scenes are more badass and crafty. Sabaa definitely has a mind for war and deception as seen in these meticulously organized and executed plans by Elias, the tribes, and the Martials. This book doesn't hold back on brutality, and I will admit I cringed and gaped in shock in some areas. I also swooned and simpered over the teasing romance and the searing attraction.

In Torch we learn so much more about the culture, the tribes, the mythical creatures, and the Gens. The end of this book is much more satisfying than Ember (even though some REALLY bad things happen), but I still have so many questions. I can't wait to read the subsequent books!
Rachel is a teenaged unapologetic fangirl and perfectionist.

She loves reading for the escape it gives from reality and enjoys crying over books, swooning over characters, and laughing out loud over funny lines. She is a semi-recovering Netflix addict and a middle child of three.

You can find her on Twitter @yaperfectionist & Goodreads.


  1. I just started reading this book today so I didn't read your review too closely. Already I can tell that I will love it and I am only 50 pages in. I am so glad that you gave it a high rating.

  2. Hooray! I'm glad you liked this and that there is more action in this one. I can't wait to read it myself! :D

  3. EEK your review has made me even MORE excited to read this! I LOVED the first book so I have high hopes for ATATN!


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