I read, An Ember in the Ashes, the first book of Sabaa Tahir’s fantasy series while on vacation in January and it hit all my fantasy sweet spots. It was nice to know that I had two more books to go before I caught up and had to wait like everybody else for Book 4.
A Torch Against the Night picks up right where the first book left off—with Laia and Elias trying to escape the city of Serra through underground tunnels with the goal of heading toward the notorious prison where Laia’s brother, Darin, is imprisoned. Darin knows the secret to forging steel that can withstand the Martials swords and this knowledge could help the Scholar resistance fight the Martial empire.
As if breaking into a notoriously brutal prison isn’t enough, they are being pursued by Elias’s mother, a ruthless military officer who wants him dead and has evil plans of her own. Also, Helene, Elias’s best friend, has been commanded by the Emperor to hunt Elias down and bring him back to be executed. Because Helene is now Blood Shrike, the right hand of the Emperor, she cannot technically refuse and if she did, the price would be the death of her parents and two sisters.
This novel moves fast with chapters alternating between the points of view of Laia, Elias, and now Helene as well. Tahir creates a complicated and brutal world where the Martials not only dominate the Scholars but are now attempting to exterminate them. Add to that the fact that a darker evil might be at work behind the scenes, pulling the strings of those in power, and you have a series where much is at stake and no character is safe.
Needless to say, I’m ready for Book 3.