THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Book two in the New York Times bestselling series
A USA Today bestseller
A Wall Street Journal bestseller
“Fresh and exciting...Tahir has shown a remarkable talent for penning complex villains.”—A.V. Club
"Even higher stakes than its predecessor… thrilling." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“[An] action-packed, breathlessly paced story.” —Booklist, starred review
Set in a rich, high-fantasy world inspired by ancient Rome, Sabaa Tahir's AN EMBER IN THE ASHES told the story of Laia, a slave fighting for her family, and Elias, a young soldier fighting for his freedom.
Now, in A TORCH AGAINST THE NIGHT, 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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
An Ember in the Ashes introduced us to Laia and Elias, a slave and assassin who join forces and rebel against the brutal Martial Empire, inspired by ancient Rome. In this sequel, Sabaa Tahir cranks the action and suspense up to ten, pitting the unlikely allies against murderous and horrific antagonists. Tahir’s writing is dense and beautiful, evoking a world that’s shrouded in mystery and intensely dangerous. We were 100 percent invested in Laia and Elias’ fate.
The sequel to Tahir's bestselling An Ember in the Ashes picks up where the last installment left off: Laia and Elias, fresh from the Trials that made them both traitors, barely escape the city of Serra with their lives as a Scholar rebellion tears the city apart. Elias is sworn to help Laia rescue her brother, Darin, from the prison of Kauf, held there for his knowledge of steelmaking secrets that could bring the end of the Martial empire. But Helene Aquilla, the new emperor's Blood Shrike and Elias's best friend from childhood, has orders to hunt down both of the fugitives or forfeit her own family's lives. Watching them all is the commandant of Blackcliff, ruthless in her hatred and hiding a sinister agenda of her own. The shifting network of alliances and betrayals can almost be too elaborate to follow at times, but Tahir's skill with her characters is more than enough to hold readers' attention. This sequel has a darker tone and even higher stakes than its predecessor, setting the stage for a thrilling conclusion. Ages 14 up.
Customer ReviewsSee All
What a great book!
Why Laia. Why.
A series worth re-reading countless times
Sabaa Tahir's sequel to the amazing “An Ember in the Ashes”, "A Torch Against the Night" tells the story of Laia and Elias’ continued escape from Blackcliff Academy in Serra where the evil elite soldiers (Masks) are trained for the Martial Empire. Laia, a Scholar and former Scholar revolutionary informant as a voluntary slave to the supremely evil Blackcliff Commandant, is determined to save her brother, Darin, from the worst prison in the Empire, Kauf. Elias, former Mask in Training and former Aspirant in the Emperor Trials, gave Laia his oath to help save Darin when she rescued Elias from his execution for failing the Emperor Trials. As they cross the empire, they have to stay hidden from those tracking them: Elias’ evil mother, the Blackcliff Commandant; Helene, Elias’ best friend from Blackcliff and the new Blood Shrike (lead executioner to the new Emperor); and all of the previously mythical horrors recently unleashed by the Nightbringer, who wants to destroy all Scholars. Helene, who was extensively tortured for Elias’ escape, is ordered to hunt Elias down while fearing the new Emperor’s designs on her family if she fails. The future of the Martial Empire and its enemies are at stake.
"A Torch Against the Night" is the incredible five star sequel to the amazing book, “An Ember in the Ashes”. The worldbuilding from the first book grows to include the Tribes. I like how Tahir portrays the strengths of each character while simultaneously showing how they cope with their previous or ongoing traumas. I like Laia’s quiet inner strength and Elias’ determination, like a legendary soldier committed to his just cause. Notwithstanding Helene’s position, it is easy to feel moved by her desire to serve her Empire, despite its transgressions (especially against her). The incorporation of the mythical horrors of the Scholar Empire helps this story transcend a typical 4 star series and become a series worth re-reading countless times.
My opinion is solely my own, but I do want to thank Goodreads, Penguin Teen, and Sabaa Tahir for a copy of this awesome book.