A Review of Torch Against The Night

Containes Spoilers For Ember In The Ashes.

Credit to Shane Rebenschied

Credit to Shane Rebenschied

Josh Murphy, Staff Writer


Sabba Tahir’s follow up novel, A Torch Against The Night, resumes the story of Laia and Elias from Ember In The Ashes.  She continues to  tell the story through the narratives of each character, chapter by chapter switching first person, but this time she adds the perspective of Helene, a semi-major character in the first novel.  Helene’s narrative helps give the story perspective from those inside The Empire while continuing  to weave the story of rebels Laia and Elias and their quest to free Laia’s brother from the clutches of The Empire.

The story begins where Ember In The Ashes left off:  Marcus now emperor with Helene as blood shrike (second in command) with Elias and Laia on the run to escape capture and save Laia’s brother Darin from the clutches of The Empire. The second book focuses on three main points: Elias’ struggle of being on the verge of death while continuing to help free Darin, Helene having to hunt Elias and bring him back to Marcus, and Laia’s quest of understanding who she is and how to get Darin out of the most secure prison in the empire, Kauf Prison.

Elias’ is poisoned by his own mother while trying to escape from The Empire and throughout the book, he is between life and limbo. What is interesting about this is that it brings a more supernatural feel to the story and it opens to subplots that Tahir begins to explore and expand on.  In  the first novel, she hints at the supernatural aura surrounding the history of The Empire, but here, she brings the supernatural into full focus bringing forward a true threat: the Nightbringer.

While we read Elias‘ narrative and feel his struggles to postpone death, he is helping Laia get to Koff to rescue Darin.  On this journey through the tribal land of the Empire to reach Kauf, many tribal groups are introduced and form strong relationships with Laia and Elias.  Laia must fight feelings of remorse while the people around her must hide, are tortured, or die. This makes a already ready to fight Laia more determined to take on the Empire.

As all of this happens, Helene must deal with a mission to bring Elias in for execution. On this mission she must fight feelings of her duty as Bloodshrike, and see that Marcus shouldn’t be king.

This second book also created a large number of side characters who could have a big play in the future of the books. One of these characters are, Afya, a leader of the tribe that will fight alongside Elias and Laia. Other side characters include Tas, a scholar slave in Kauf, Harper a member of the force of soldiers Helene orders, and the Commandant, who has started a coup against Marcus.

This second book leaves a lot open for the third to expand on  and a big threat on the rise.  Torch Against The night is a great sequel to an already thrilling read.