Oh my goodness. Sabaa Tahir’s first book in this Trilogy, An Ember in the Ashes, blew my mind away. I remember finishing the last chapter of the first book and wondering how I was going to survive waiting for this sequel. A Torch Against the Night was everything I expected and more.
So at the end of An Ember in the Ashes told the story of a young solider, Elias, fighting for his freedom from a life that wasn’t chosen for him. A life of killing. A life of one of the highest Martial solders in the Empire, a Mask… an assassin and Laia, a young scholar girl turned slave (actually she allowed herself to be used as a slave to gain intel for the Resistance, which her parents once lead and we’re murdered for at the hands of her new slave master, the Commandant at the Mask’s military for school that trains children from the young age of 5 to kill. It breaks them so all they know growing up is that life. *Can you imagine to be taken so young, broken, have everything you once believed in life to apparently be wrong… so they learn to kill without conscience*. (Sorry for my side note).Anyways, Laia is in turn doing this all for her brother Darin. The Resistance promises that if she goes in as a spy, disguised as a slave, they will help break the her brother out of prison. The Resistance backstabbed her and she somehow got caught up in the most dangerous part of the Empire, with the most dangerous trained assassins in the Empire. Here is the thing. The Martials control the Empire because years before they burned all of the Scholar libraries, leaving them defenses from the purging of the library and the city, but most importantly, defensiveless of the knowledge to make weapons to take on the Empire. Laia’s brother knows the secrets. Martial turned scholar aid, Spiro Tellum was once the best blade master and forger known. He taught Darin not only about the blades but the secrets the Scholars have sought for decades. The Mask’s broke through Laia and Darin’s home, killed their grandparents, arrested Darin leaving the last words Darin said to Laia ” Run, Laia, run!!!!”
So two people who who were as different as imaginable somehow were brought together and became allies. Elias decided he couldn’t live the life of a Mask.Laia saved Elias from execution and made a vow to help her free her brother Darin from Kauf, the hardest prison in all the Empire.
So A Torch Against the Night begins with Elias and Laia facing impossible odds. One of their most promising Masks and son to the Commandant was just rescued from imminent execution. The whole force of the Black guard and Briacliff, including all the Empire are seeking their blood. The new Emperor is in a dangerous position. He needs Elias captured and expects his new Blood Shrike, Helene, who is loyal to the Empire and was Elias’s best friend since first coming to Briacliff over ten years earlier to capture him and bring him back for public execution to help cement his new role and strength as Emperor.
Emperor Marcus, a sadistic man, will go to any lengths to make his Blood Shrike not only hunt her best friend and the only boy she thought she ever loved, but torture her however emotionally along the way.
I don’t want to give anything away but it’s a wild ride. I am going to be hung over on this book for a few days … it was EVERYTHING I expected and if you have read An Ember in the Ashes then YOU MUST pick up A Torch Against the Night asap. Yesterday… last week.
I give this book 5 STARS.
Sabaa Tabir you are a goddess walking among mortals.