The sequel to An Ember in the Ashes, A Torch Against the Night picks up directly where Ember left off: with Laia and Elias escaping Blackcliff in the catacombs.
Being pursued by Masks, Elias has had to abandon his original escape plan. Nearly trapped in the catacombs, he and Laia barely manage to escape when a revolt by the Revolution causes a part of the catacomb ceiling to collapse. The pair make their escape through Serra but are stopped by Keris Veturia, the Commandant of Blackcliff and Elias’ biological mother. They narrowly escape her, but not before Keris exacts her revenge in a slow and torturous way.
All the same, Laia is still bent on freeing her brother Darien from Kauf prison, especially after rumors of a Scholar knowing the secrets of serric blades starts to spread. Laia is terrified that the Warden of Kauf will torture her brother to death, and Elias is intent on helping her. They are joined on their journey by Kennan and Izzi, both who came looking for Laia. In order to get to the the north and Kauf safely, Elias must call in the favor of the nomadic Tribe Nur and its zaldara Afya Ara-Nur.
Meanwhile, Helene Aquilla, the newly appointed Blood Shrike, is undergoing extreme questioning regarding Elias’ escape. Eventually she is cleared of any involvement, but her latest assignment by Emperor Marcus may be her undoing: to hunt down and execute the traitor Elias Veturius. She is accompanied in her mission by Lieutenant Avitas Harper, Helene’s once interrogator and Keris’ spy. But the lieutenant seems to have a secret agenda of his own – one that involves Elias. Will his secret aid Helene – or destroy her?
A Torch Against the Night was a spectacular read. I loved how it was a direct continuation and not one that starts off with some time passage. I felt like my heart was pounding through most of the pages as there never seemed to be any moments of peace for the characters. Even if they were not in physical danger, through was so much emotional turmoil filling the pages. Each character has to make hard decisions and sacrifices for what they truly want – even if they do not know what that is. There is so much involved that it is really difficult writing a spoiler free review that conveys all my thoughts and feelings.
It has been announced that Sabaa Tahir will write an additional two books for this series. However, the next installment is not due for release until 2018. Nearly two years?! I could cry. While Torch ends on a semi-happy note – at least for Elias and Laia, and at least for the time being – war in brewing, and Helene is caught in the middle. How will it all come to a head? Only two more years to find out.
My rating: 4.5/5