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A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

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.

Goodreads Summary

I waited for this book for months and it was somewhat worth the wait! The book is told from three different viewpoints, and the reader will get to know Helene quite well. I actually ended up preferring Helene's character over Laia's. Laia spent much of the book trying to rescue her brother from the terrible prison Kauf. Elias, of course, helps her. Elias and Laia further develop their relationship, but in a way that I did not expect or particularly like. Elias's and Helene's characters develop the most while I felt that Laia was more stagnant. 

I understood a lot of Laia's actions, but felt they were questionable. I thought she was horribly selfish and self-absorbed. I don't think she ever thought seriously of how her actions would literally affect the Empire. I hated with all my heart how she treated Elias and what happened when Keenan came back into the picture (cue awful love triangle). I felt bad for Helene and, for the most part, would back her choices. I wish she could be the new main character. The truth behind her actions really surprised me. I could write more, but I don't want to accidentally give away any huge spoilers. Apparently, there will be a third book and it is dubious as to whether or not I will read it.

2 Stars

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