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.
It is rare indeed when a sequel is capable of being even better than the first book- and A Torch Against the Night actually succeeded in this.
This time we join Laia and Elias as they run to escape the fall-out from the last book. We get a much broader look at the world, the Empire, and how things are for people living in this land. Laia was determined as ever to do whatever it took to save her brother from his fate in Kauf Prison. This book had a lot of traveling (which if done poorly can be dreadfully dull) but it was done so beautifully with a very even pacing and just the right amount of description to give the reader a vivid vision but never veering on too much.
One of my favorite aspects of Torch was that we got a point of view from Helene- I think we all grew to love her in the first book and I loved being able to see from her view point as well as learn more of her inner thoughts and motives. She was such a complex character, pulled in so many directions I couldn’t help but have my heart break for her. To have her tasked to find the now traitor Elias and be responsible for his demise- just AHHH. What a cruel twist.
Elias was by far, once again, my favorite character. I am so intrigued with his backstory and really everything about him. His chemistry with Laia was perfect though I could always use more scenes with the two of them together (I’m a greedy reader).
All of these characters are so well developed, and all straddle what’s good and what’s not. I love that I never exactly know who to trust-this adds a level of connection to Laia since I am learning as she does. I’m as unsure as she was about who to trust, what other’s motivations are and this adds so much to the tension. Even slower paced scenes were enveloped in tension which to me, made the entire book an incredibly fast read since I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next.
I was so happy also that we get to learn more about the fate of Laia’s brother. He was such a pivotal character for her story arc it was wonderful to learn a bit more about who he was as well as what happened to him after he was taken. And, I’ve not even mentioned yet how unpredictable the story-line was for me and how there were twists, turns and reveals that sort of blew my mind