Book Review: A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

Rating: 4/5

“When you love, there is always more pain.”

I picked up A Torch Against the Night almost instantly after I finished An Ember in the Ashes. Even though I didn’t enjoy An Ember in the Ashes as much as I had hoped (I would give it 3/5 stars), there was something promising about the story that made me want to start reading its sequel immediately. Prepare to be taken on a roller coaster ride of emotions with A Torch Against the Night.

A Torch Against the Night is packed with action. If you’re expecting a light, relaxing read, then look somewhere else, because this novel will have you biting your nails with anticipation from the first page to the last. The first scene literally picks up in the tunnel where Tahir left us in An Ember in the Ashes, and every step in Laia and Elias’s journey from that point onwards is absolutely breathtaking.

There were many, many things I enjoyed about this book, my favorite being Helene’s point of view. Although I did like Helene in An Ember in the Ashes and could sympathize with her mentality from time to time, A Torch Against the Night truly displays what a strong, capable character she is. I was sickened by the horrible choices Helene had to make on a day to day basis, which often involved sacrificing herself or one of her loved ones for the sake of the Empire. Marcus, as expected, is a heartless Emperor, although the humane side of him does show through from time to time. The tension between him and Helene is omnipresent and dangerous, and I can’t wait to see it develop in the next book in the series, which is expected to be published in 2018.

Something I didn’t like about the book was its pacing. Some of the events seemed a little scattered to me, and altogether the book was very, very fast-paced. I feel like if it had been a tad bit slower, I would have been able to enjoy it more simply because I would have gotten the chance to savor every moment. Also, even though all the characters had complex, multidimensional personalities and relationships, they still felt a little distant sometimes.

In addition, A Torch Against the Night introduces a plethora of new, lovable characters, but the one that stood out to me the most was a member of Helene’s Black Guard – Avitas Harper. This man is quiet, mysterious, and a strange mixture of good and evil, and I can really see a lot of potential for him in the third book and hope to discover more about his background.

All in all, A Torch Against the Night is a spellbinding addition to a wonderful fantasy series that will leave you breathless on more than one occasion. Have you read A Torch Against the Night? Are you planning on reading it? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

~Niraja

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24 thoughts on “Book Review: A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

  1. Great review Niraja, I’ve read and loved A Torch Against the Night already and I completely agree with you that it is better than An Ember in the Ashes. I bet you’re glad you carried on the series now right? 🙂
    I really like Helene in the first book but it was great seeing things from her POV in the second. I wasn’t a massive fan of Laia in this book but towards the end she did improve a little in my eyes so I have high hopes for her in the next book. Still that ending as well, I am so excited to get my hands on the third book now! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Beth, and I sure am! That’s the reason why I try to complete a series instead of giving up halfway; oftentimes, I find myself enjoying the second book more than the first.
      I felt as though Laia was a lot stronger in An Ember in the Ashes, but I do have a feeling she’ll be more independent in book 3 than she was in A Torch Against the Night.
      I was shocked more than once while reading this, and I also can’t wait to see what Tahir has in store with book 3 (how are we going to wait until 2018??). x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s all right, and yeah I completely agree with that. It’s why I very rarely give up on series, it does happen but for the most part once I’ve started on I won’t stop until the last book.
        I felt towards the end Laia was a stronger character, but it seemed, especially in the middle, she relied too much on Keenan and Elias especially for someone who went through everything she did in the first book.
        2018 is so so far away isn’t it, and god that ending means I need to next book so badly right now! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Awesome review, Niraja! 😀 I agree with everything you mentioned and I definitely thought it was better than the first! I really liked Laia in this book but possibly more so in the first. And though I thought Helene’s chapters were a bit boring, I couldn’t deny the difficult choices she had to make, which made her all the more powerful as a character. I can’t wait for the third book!

    Liked by 1 person

          1. I hope so! I actually felt sorry for him this time around, and even though I wouldn’t mind him dying in the end, I also wouldn’t mind his being reformed by the sisters. I’m really interested in Harper though. I wonder what his role will be in the next book 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Such a great review, Niraja! Even though I read An Ember in the Ashes last year and forgot most of the events, I would say that A Torch Against the Night was more developed, plot and character wise.

    And it was just as brutal though. I felt so bad for Helene.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ooh I have to say I’m surprised by this- I didn’t like the first one, so I was pretty sure I wouldn’t continue, but after your review, I’m certainly considering it (especially since you weren’t as keen on the first one either) (this is also perfect evidence of me doing exactly what I said i do in my post… oh the irony!)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is such a great review! I honestly sped through the first book when it first came out and the second one was no different. It was really fast paced and I loved the addition of Helene’s chapters, we really got to see more of her character and I loved that aspect of this book! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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