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A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes) Hardcover – August 30, 2016
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The Amazon Book Review
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An Amazon Best Book of September 2016: With sequels there’s always an underlying worry that the second book won’t live up to its predecessor, but Sabaa Tahir’s A Torch Against the Night not only meets expectations—it surpasses them. Tahir returns to Elias and Laia’s quest to rescue Laia’s brother from an impenetrable prison while eluding the Emperor and Commandant. Helen, now the Blood Shrike, is under the Emperor’s orders to kill them, and it’s clear that she still knows her former best friend as well as ever. The stakes are higher in this novel and the suspense just keeps building from new directions. The characters’ internal conflict is almost painful to read, but that’s part of what makes the story so intense. How can you kill someone you love? And how do you watch someone you love die trying to save you? Packed with cliff hangers, A Torch Against the Night ends with the same feeling as the first: a burning desire to read the next book. Right. This. Minute. --Seira Wilson, The Amazon Book Review
From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—In this sequel to An Ember in the Ashes, Martial Elias and Scholar Laia are trying to escape from Serra and reach the prison of Kauf, where Laia's brother has been imprisoned for having secret knowledge of Martial weapons. Their journey will be extremely hazardous, since Helene Aquilla, childhood friend and fellow Mask, who is now Blood Shrike for the Emperor, has been ordered to hunt Elias down. Elias and Laia are also trying to evade Elias's ruthless mother, the Commandant, who is scheming to seize power and is willing even to poison her own son to achieve her ends. Most dangerous of all, however, is the grim prison of Kauf, where their attempt to rescue Laia's brother leads to further horrors and some surprises. Told in the alternating voices of Elias, Laia, and Helene, this book is even darker and grimmer than the first, which readers will need to be familiar with in order to follow the twists and turns of the plot. Strong and compelling characters, particularly Helene, who is fleshed out more than in the previous volume, and a number of action-packed sequences help keep things moving. VERDICT This one is bound to be popular with fans of the first installment, making this a must-purchase.—Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ
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Top customer reviews
I enjoyed Helene's point of view in this story to help us see what's happening on the Empire's side of things. I feel so bad for Helene, she tries so hard and loves Elias so much. The main female character I don't car for as much. As you can see I can't remember her name and I remember everyone else's in the book. Lol. Anyway, I know it won't happen but I am team Helene and Elias. I am assuming Helene will end up sacrificing herself for Elias by the end of the series or ending up with the interesting new character in this book.
Sabaa has created a wonderful world full of complex characters and broiling situations. I really enjoy her writing style, even if open endings are frustrating for a hungry bookworm! I will recommend (and have already) to anyone and everyone. This is a series I will be reading over and over, and one day passing on to my kids.
The conflicted part comes in the form of a sorta love triangle that was just kind of lame. It really annoyed me and made me want to wring Laia’s neck for just being that girl. I really want to hope that it is resolved and won’t rear its ugly head in the next book but I’m afraid I’ll have to see it again.
There were a few other areas in the book where I just wasn’t convinced Laia was physically strong enough to do some of the things she did, like lift Elias onto a horse, just was not feeling that…
If it wasn’t for these few issues I would have been quite happy with this segment of the story but those problems made me mark this one down a bit. I think I’ll probably read the next book, but it’s not due out until next year so we’ll just have to wait and see.
The characters make the story, in my humble opinion anyway. If you don't have good characters then forget it. These characters are flawed, seriously flawed. Their mistakes not only cause trouble for themselves but costs some their life. I like that they aren't perfect and their actions aren't either. It made things....interesting.
When I finished, I was so bummed as with any good book. However, I'm excited to say there will be a book 3 and 4! Just have to wait till 2018 for it...
Most recent customer reviews
The world this author created was full of the right combination of mystical creature and genuine humanity.