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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
Tahir's writing is phenomenal. The world building is richly detailed, and it's incredibly easy to visualize, as it's greatly expanded upon in this book. I absolutely love the way Tahir captures her reader's attention. From her in-depth character developments, introductions to new characters to the story, unsuspecting twists, and betrayals, make for a book that was hard to put down. She has mastered the art of multiple point of view story telling, which is no easy feat. Each point of view was easily identified, and each chapter leaves you hooked, needing to know more.
I love it when an author makes you feel like you understand each of their characters, both good and bad. You understand their choices, and feel like you get them. Tahir does that in this book. Because of it, I was that much more emotionally invested in the the story, and the characters. Whether it was because I loved the characters, or despised them, I felt something toward each other characters, and understood their motivations. I will say, it was so much easier to despise the not so lovable characters. They are horrid characters.
Character wise, I absolutely love Helene. She is a force to be reckoned with, and a character who really surprised me in terms of how much I really enjoyed getting to know her more. I loved feeling like I understood her. She is a character who I couldn't help but root for. Helene is the one that I felt who grew the most. There's so many layers to her character. I greatly admire the strength she has. Her strength is what allows her to act her part in the world she forced into. It allows her to grow into a character who's capable of so much more than she thought she could be, and do. She battles a lot with who she once was, who is she now, and who she's forced to be. I'm really looking forward to seeing what Helene will do next, as the series continues.
The character I had a hard time with was Laia. She's drastically different than she was in the first. I get it. There's a lot that's happened, and I understand how that would chance someone. However, some of her actions didn't seem like the Laia that I had once admired. She wasn't as immovable as she once was either. I couldn't help but feel bad for Elias. He was forced into a making a decision he didn't realize had the dire consequence it did. For the sake of spoilers, I'll just leave it at that. I am anxious to see what happens with him next.
Overall, this is another thrilling, action packed, installment in a series I love. There's the right element of something for everyone. From rich characters, and world building, to romance, deceit, plot twits, and plenty of danger to action packed scenes. This book definitely didn't fall into the second book syndrome. I can not wait read the next book in this series. I need more answers! I'd definitely recommend picking this one up!
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
So I should start this off by saying that those who were enthralled with An Ember in the Ashes will...Read more