A Torch Against the Night takes readers into the heart of the Empire as Laia and Elias fight their way north to liberate Laia’s brother from the horrors of Kauf Prison. Hunted by Empire soldiers, manipulated by the Commandant, and haunted by their pasts, Laia and Elias must outfox their enemies and confront the treacherousness of their own hearts. In the city of Serra, Helene Aquilla finds herself bound to the will of the Empire’s twisted new leader, Marcus. When her loyalty is questioned, Helene finds herself taking on a mission to prove herself—a mission that might destroy her, instead.
A Torch Against The NightFeatured
For this book, we get three POVs, now including Helene which is really amazing because I like her equally as the main characters. Another thing I like about the characters is that they have equal exposure, and the conflict that arises between them, against them, and the Empire brings so much depth to their character’s story arc and development. I really enjoyed Helene’s chapters and she’s one of the most interesting characters I’ve ever read.
As usual, Tahir’s writing style is excellent and the story was gracefully executed. It’s fast paced, yet consistent and the character’s voices are distinct. I think the romance was explored more here, compared to Ember and I like it that it’s slow-burned, which of course led me to feeling warm and fuzzy at times. I like the little cute banter Laia and Elias have sometimes, but at the same time I enjoy Helene having feelings towards Elias too, which leaves her character in such complex situation, and in a good way, it’s cool to see it unfold.
I remember in the first book, I had a little problem with the world-building but I think I got settled more because of this book, since I’m already familiar with the setting of the book. Basically, I can imagine them clearly now.
Overall, I love this book more than I did Ember and it’s such a joy to see the writing and the story elevate more. I think I just had a little problem with Laia’s character, like I felt she got a little too naive at times, which is okay for a character but I’d say she needs to be better. I’m sort of guessing that I’m liking Helene’s character compared to her, but I think that’s because Helene’s story got explored further in this. Anyway, this is a solid sequel and I cannot wait to read the next ones!
Helene was probably my favorite character in the first book and remains so in this book. She is torn between loyalty to her family, the empire, and to Elias, the boy whom she loves and who has been her friend for so long. She's courageous and bold and multifaceted. She is not perfect but she is constantly trying to do her best. She has a very difficult time of things in this book. I was really excited to get to read her perspective and learn more about her.
This book has some very harsh villains. It may be too much for younger readers. They surprised me at times, as did many of the other characters. I don't want to spoil anything, but this is a book wherein a lot of things change and characters evolve.
Overall, it's a fantastically woven story- I was given chills, brought to tears, and loving every second of the character's journey.
This one also moves a little slower till we get towards the middle then it freaking takes off and doesn't let you go! That ending is so mind blowing that it's worth getting through the little bit of slowness in the middle. Trust me.
Though after that ending, I went insane... two years. Two years for the next book. I can't even fathom that kind of wait. I'm going to die waiting that long! How can this be?! I would sell my right leg for a a way to time travel just skip ahead and get the book. Then I'd come back, after getting a few other books of course.
I love this audiobook, the narrators are superb at their job! Every single one of them. I was nervous going into a new POV, worried the voice wouldn't fit. I was nervous for no reason. They bring the story to life in ways that I'd miss otherwise.
*SPOILERS BELOW THIS WARNING*
The stakes are just as high in this one as in Ember. Elias is so close to death that I could feel it coming. There was no way he wasn't going to die, too much buildup and it was heart breaking to see. It was like a dentist appointment, you know you have to go and that it's going to happen, but you dread it anyway. I did like the twist that with his story, I thought it was fitting and I was just glad that he hasn't left the story because I need him in my life. I will kindly doctor sick Elias any time at all!
Laia... she is the reason that this story gets a star knocked off. How she flip flopped between Elias and Keenan so much. She even sleeps with Keenan when she really wants Elias but he's told her no because he's dying... just ugh no. Laia why?! You were getting stronger, smarter and I really loved you. Then you had to go off and sleep with the bad guy? Good job.
I never liked Keenan now I know why.
Helene's part I did love the best, I cried when her family was killed. I felt for her so much. She was just doing what was right and almost everyone she loved was killed. I still can't fully process it all. It was heartbreaking but the ending made up for it. Helene is totally going to get revenge and I hope she kills them all. They don't deserve her. She is a diamond in the rough for sure.
Lastly, the book can't get here fast enough. It's a great story, brutal and harsh with not much sweetness but it's a hard hitter and doesn't let up. A thrill ride!
As long as you fight the darkness you stand in the light.