A Torch Against the Night

A Torch Against the Night

Book - 2016
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Laia and Elias fight their way north to liberate Laia's brother from the horrors of Kauf Prison, a mission that is complicated by hunting Empire soldiers, the manipulations of the Commandant, and lingering ghosts from their pasts.
Publisher: New York, New York : Razorbill, an imprint of Penguin Random House, [2016]
ISBN: 9781101998878
Branch Call Number: YA SF TAHIR
Characteristics: 452 pages ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Tahir, Sabaa Ember in the ashes


From Library Staff

ArapahoeStaff1 Feb 14, 2017

As far as sequels go, this was very well done. Not only did Tahir build on her already incredible characters, but she introduces a few new people, as well as building the dark force taking over. Laia is a wonderful character--and while she makes very obvious mistakes, she is still growing and Tah... Read More »

ArapahoeCatherine Sep 15, 2016

One of those rare times that the sequel is actually better than the first book...mostly because there was even more Helene! I love where Tahir is going with this story! Can't wait for the next one!

From the critics

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Nov 28, 2018

Holy mother of plot twists, Batman. Page 338 was my favorite, I cannot get over the direction this took. All through the end of the book the voices in my head were shrieking, and there was another small twist at the end that I enjoy the direction of. Book 1 didn't excite me, but this one was fantastic and I am really looking forward to Book 3 and seeing where these characters go.

Oct 09, 2018

A book I had a hard time putting down to do other mundane things in my day to day life. This has a perfect balance of action, friendship, love, sacrifice, you name it! I'm usually not a fan of more than two POV's in a book, but I found myself looking forward to reading Helene's journey. It goes to show that not everything is black and white, and that there are many grey areas in life. And while yes, there are many repetitive YA's out there (this being one of them), it really is a great book. Why? My heart pounded in anticipation with every page turn. Not to mention the fact that sequels usually go a little downhill (books and movies alike). They never seem to be able to keep up with their glorious counterpart, and leave us wanting for more (not in a good way either). But this??? Was perfectly plotted. There were no holes. No parts skipped to connect a gap so the book can be wrapped up for an actioned filled ending. What. A. Gem.

Jul 15, 2018

Yes, Sabaa Tahir. This was definitely the book that I have been waiting for. I got so many questions answered from the previous 2 books. Now I am asking the biggest question of them all. Who's side am I on? Tahir is a very good writer. She has me feeling sorry for the antagonist of the story, The Nightbringer. This is a great concept and challenges the reader to think outside of the box. The characters in this series have such strong emotions. I can picture each and every one of them. The Jinn downfall has me questioning my position on who is right. It also causes me to wonder if Laia, Elias or Helena will fall or achieve their destinies. I cannot wait for the fourth book to come out. Which may be another year or two.
The book cover is not as impressive though. She should have stuck with the original design scheme. Also, I noticed others commenting on the size of the book. Yes, this one was much longer. But I felt that it needed to be. The story is rich and complicated. But Tahir knows how to explain away those complications, and sometimes it takes a few more pages to do that.
This was a great read to an already awesome series.

Jun 14, 2018


Just a few of the words I can use to describe this amazing book, which in turn, is part of an even more amazing series. Sabaa Tahir is a goddess of words and she does not disappoint with this novel. Please, do yourself a favor and check it out right now!!

5/5 stars! for thoughtful, well developed characters that grow throughout the story. for an amazing brutal world. for the truth: where there is life there is hope (basically the theme of this story)

Nov 21, 2017

Another good book, I enjoyed it and felt like it was an interesting direction to take the storyline. I may still like the first book better but this one had some cool qualities to it as well, such as plot twists, stress-inducing scenes, and tons of sadness, betrayal and brutality; all expected components after the tone was set in book 1.
I'm not sure where the story is heading but I almost feel like there's a rebellion uprising or something on its way, it will be neat to see what happens to the remaining characters.

Sep 27, 2017

This book was so hard to get through. It was unnecessarily long and very repetitive. It took Elias and Laia FOREVER to get out of Black Cliff, and then they stopped at two other places... they didn't even end up getting to Kauf untili 2/3 through the book, by which point I was almost ready to call it quits. The addition of Helene's point of view only dragged out the story and didn't really add anything new. Also, and I can't stress this enough, it was SO violent. It felt like there was someone dying or suffering on every page turn, to the point where I had to pause the audiobook and turn on some music to get a reprieve. If it wasn't the violence, it was the angst. This ridiculous love shape (not really a triangle because there's more people involved) just dragged on and on with little satisfaction. The book was written well enough, I suppose, but I thought if I heard "ten hells" or "bleeding skies" again, I thought I was going to hurl. The Nightbringer and Soul-Catcher parts were interesting, but brought little satisfaction as Keris and the Warden were so vile they made me almost DNF the book. I might consider continuing this series in the far future, when I've recovered from this one- if only to know what happens to Elias- as he's the only character in the story with any value at all.

PimaLib_ChristineR Sep 14, 2017

If possible even better than the first. Laia grows so much as a character. Although the book is told in three voices, it is, in the end, her story. Both Elias and Helene must deal with choices, betrayals, and the outcomes, but they have been trained from a young age to deal with these things. Although terrible things happen, they seem to fall back on their training to push through. Laia is the one who has to grow into her potential, and she does so amazingly. A beautifully written novel about loyalty in its many forms and how loyalty can turn to ugliness. I also have to add that this story had a twist that I totally did not see coming but that was not dropped on us without warning. Well played, Tahir. Well played...

Aug 17, 2017

Can't wait for book 3! It is scheduled to come out April 2018.

Aug 09, 2017

What a roller-coaster of excitement and suspense! I really adore Laia and I love how her relationship with Elias isn't forced at all. Her development across this second book is just as great as the first one, although I have to say the first one was a bit more interesting to read. The plot gets a bit more sinister as several things happen right from the start, and readers are left shocked at what the author has planned. The back and forth between narratives play on a bigger picture of deception in the nation, orchestrated by an unknown. I would recommend this for readers over 14 years of age for content and enjoyment.
- @Siri of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

Jul 23, 2017

A Torch Against the Night is the long-awaited second installment in author Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in the Ashes series. After devouring both books in less than two weeks, it is safe to admit this is a strong recommendation from me.

The Ember in the Ashes series is definitely the next big YA hype train you should jump on. The series follows the story of Laia, a young woman who lives in the Martial Empire (Picture Ancient Rome). This oppressive and brutal regime enslaves many people, stifles dissent and is generally all-around terrible. While the first book can be dark and oppressive, it is the characters that bring forth the hope in the story. Torch Against the Night basically picks up right where Ember left off.

The Ember series is written in that alternating character point-of-view format that you probably already either love or hate if you’re a regular reader of YA fiction. In this follow-up, we get three alternating points of view from Laia, Elias and Helene, broken up into four sections. The short chapters and constant switch between perspectives help readers better understand the inner-workings of each character. And Elias’ best friend and fellow Empire soldier Helene Aquilla is finally given her own voice in Torch...no shocker that she is fascinating!

All in All I thought this was a very successful sequel. Tahir managed to surprise me at several turns in the book. I have so many questions that I’m hoping the next two books will answer and not disappoint.

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Jul 15, 2018

Natashastales thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Apr 23, 2017

mauve_ant_91 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Jan 27, 2017

Pipthekat thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Jan 06, 2017

white_horse_641 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over


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"I will always miss you... even when I'm a ghost."

Oct 18, 2016

Failure doesn’t define you. It’s what you do after you fail that determines whether you are a leader or a waste of perfectly good air.


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Oct 18, 2016

The Trials are over, and Marcus has been crowned the new Emperor of the Martials, with Helene Aquilla sworn to serve as his Blood Shrike despite her reservations. Elias and Laia flee the capital on a mission to free her brother, Darin, who is being held in Kauf prison. With the knowledge of how to forge Serric steel, he has the potential to change the course of the Scholar rebellion. They must figure out how to outwit Kauf’s sadistic Warden to free Darin, assuming he is still alive. But first they will need traverse half the Empire to get to him, and Helene Aquilla is on their heels. Now sworn as Blood Shrike, and with her family as hostages, she is charged with killing the traitor Elias Veturius in order to secure Marcus’ rule.


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Dec 05, 2016

Sexual Content: Way more than the first book. If this was a movie it would be rated R!

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