A Torch Against the Night Review

Hi Book Lovers!

I recently did a review for An Ember in the Ashes which was a re-read in anticipation of A Reaper at the Gates to come out. That obviously meant I needed to FINALLY get around to A Torch Against the Night so when the third installment was available I could devour it immediately (which I did). Let’s get started.


A Torch Against the Night
By: Sabaa Tahir
Pages: 452
Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)
Genre: YA
Format: Hardcover


Book Synopsis:

Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.

Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.

But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.

Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.


My Thoughts:

I think this book was my favorite of the three so far. Firstly, I knew more of the world, rules, and culture and what was going on so instead of spending the first several chapters wondering what was happening I could easily jump right in and simply enjoy it from page one. Second, I enjoyed the overall story line of this book the most simply because of where it came from and where it led to by the end. Third, I loved the characters SO much more in this story than in An Ember in the Ashes.

In regards to the story line, it was easy to follow. I always enjoy that there are still plenty of details in her writing and stories but it doesn’t ever feel as though we are stuck in one spot or bogged down too much that it stalls the story line. I appreciate that. I understand that this book is definitely a slight “filler” in that there is mostly traveling and the idea of scheming going on here, however, I think I enjoyed getting to know Lia, Elias, and even Helene more.

While Helene was not my favorite character in An Ember in the Ashes, I found her growing on me throughout this book. Being torn between your mind/heart and the life you need to live to survive is a tough call, and I feel slightly bad for her most of this book. Lia felt slightly more naive in this book. Perhaps it’s the issue with the Nightbringer that made me roll my eyes. While she didn’t seem as afraid as in the first book, I did wonder about some of her choices and why they were necessary or if they were doable (Kauf? I mean.) Elias is wonderful. His story line made me feel the most: sad, confused, worried, etc. Without spoiling it, I was not in favor of where his story went by the end of this book. It felt like a cop-out and a way to keep the story going.

The love (triangle[s]?) weren’t my favorite piece of this book. While I can appreciate loving and hoping despite the terrible things going on around you in desperate times, some of these situations felt pushed and unnatural. I really could have cared less if there were any love stories involved here as I feel like the main plot doesn’t revolve around this idea anyway.

Lastly, while it made me feel anxious at times, when Tahir doesn’t stray from the way this world works, the rough stuff and all, I appreciate the story a little more. Listening to tales at Kauf was not easy, but almost necessary. Listening to the brutality of other situations and fights along the way were also difficult but, again, made me appreciate the story more. I’m growing to like when a story doesn’t stray from the hard things just to save face or be constantly fluffy and happy (even though those are usually my favorite stories).

  • What was your favorite part?
  • Least favorite part?
  • Did you like the love situations?


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