A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Category: Young Adult
A Torch Against the Night picks up right where An Ember in the Ashes ended. We are immediately drawn into the story as Laia and Elias are desperately trying to find a way out of the city. They are about to start on their quest to free Laia's brother from Kauf prison, which is far up north. There end up being quite a few twists and turns along the way.
I'm happy to say that A Torch Against the Night was every bit as good as An Ember in the Ashes. No second book syndrome here. This book is very well plotted and it kept me glued to it. Not everything went exactly the way I was wanting, but the beauty of a good book is that even when things don't go exactly the way you wanted, in the end you can see why things had to be the way they were and you end up loving it and wanting more.[ Laia sleeping with Keenan was one of those things that I was screaming no about. Being a Laia/Elias shipper I was not happy. Even though she regretted it afterward, I still wish it wouldn't have gone that far. Especially considering who Keenan turned out to be. (hide spoiler)]
I admire the author for being gutsy enough to include some very brutal things in her YA books and not swooping in and saving certain characters at the last minute. None of it is gratuitous, it's all an important part of the plot and it makes the villains more believable. I also loved the conflicting feelings the characters have throughout the books. They are so very real. There were a couple of times I wanted to hate Helene, but I couldn't because I understood where she was coming from. She makes some tough decisions in the book, some I definitely didn't agree with, but I couldn't help but admire her in the end. Who knows what I would have done in her place.
Elias is still my favorite character in the book. I was on pins and needles until the end over his character and what was happening or might happen. And Laia, I continue to like her. She learned a lot about herself in this book. There are also a couple of new characters introduced in this book that I loved. Harper and Tas. In the beginning you might wonder why I end up loving Harper, but you will find out. Some of the old supporting characters are back as well; Izzy and even Cook, whose appearances are brief, but interesting.
It looks like there will be two more books in this series. This is one of those rare times that a YA fantasy series is so well done that I feel like two more books is a good thing. There is still so much ground left to cover that I can't imagine any of it just being filler. I'm impatiently awaiting the next book.
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