A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2) by Sabaa Tahir

a-torch-against-the-nightPublished: August 30th 2016 by Razorbil

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Pages: Hardcover, 452

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads

Don’t read this if you plan to read An Ember in the Ashes, this summery contains spoilers!

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.

My review:

I usually try to reread the first books in a series before I start the new one, just to keep myself caught up. An Ember in the Ashes was really one of the best books I had read in a long time but I was sad to realize that I couldn’t get myself to read it again. I don’t know why, I only know that after the first few pages I just sort of skimmed, refreshing myself on some of the more important pieces of the plot. Part of my reason is that I just didn’t want to step back into some of that drama again, because that is not what I usually like to read about. Saying this brings me to A Torch Against the Night.

I was excited to see where this book was going to lead me, about seeing some more of this land that Laia and Elias had been created in. I was disappointed though when much of it was passed by.

In my opinion, not much really happened in this book. There was a plot, yes, and I won’t say because I don’t wish to spoil it, but much of this book seemed a little pointless, just a means to get to the end of the story instead of telling it in full.

I have a weird thing about love triangles, and I should probably blame that on Twilight (yes, I have read them, and while I might have liked the basic ideas, I didn’t enjoy them, at least not when I read them for a second time then watched the movies) and it seems that many books have one. This love triangle, however, actually confuses me. For one, Laia and her two love interests don’t really spend all that much time together (that we see, or they are somehow indisposed during this time), so the connection that they are supposed to feel for each other just doesn’t exist in my mind. How are you supposed to have such deep feelings for someone when you hardly know them? And why can’t Laia just deal with those issues and just, I don’t know, choose one? Honestly, this love triangle is only here for convenient plot, and not in a good way.

Having said all those probably not nice things, I did enjoy a few things about the book. For the most part, I did enjoy Helene’s view, most of the time. I will have to say, the plot in her section did struggle a little, and some of the things that happened just didn’t make since. I still don’t understand her unwavering loyalty for an Empire that she truly despises, but that’s what made it more interesting for me. I wanted to read more so I did understand.

There is a plot twist, one that I didn’t see coming, but wasn’t surprised about. I have to wonder though, was this just another convenient plot point that didn’t exist until the author suddenly needed something to happen? I guess all I really want is more evidence and an explanation beyond what was given. Maybe then I’ll believe it was planned.

This whole book pretty much crumpled under my expectations, and most of all the ending. I was expecting something more, something to blow my socks off, not just a sort of climax/fight that didn’t hold my interest at all. I’m lucky to have made it through honestly, I started losing interest around the third part of the book, and that saddens me to say.

Giving all that I said above, I give this book 3.5 stars because of the many things that happened that didn’t make since or just didn’t sit right with me. I did enjoy reading the book, and it kept me entertained for a few hours.

★★★.5

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