Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Book review: A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

Book Summary
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.

Flo's Review
I am super behind on this one. I really enjoyed the first book in this quartet An Ember in the Ashes. (See my review here.) I got this book as soon as it published, but it dropped down on my TBR list. Eventually, I found that my local library had the audiobook, so I grabbed it with the intention of reading it that way. The audiobook is 15 hours long. I've talked before about how my audiobook limit tends to be around 8-9 hours. I thought I would be okay with this longer one, but I wasn't. 

About halfway through, I returned it to the library. That probably would have been that, except I learned that my favorite local bookstore Books & Books will be hosting Sabaa Tahir for her Reaper at the Gates tour. I definitely needed to have Torch finished. I returned to the library for the audiobook and just finished it last week.

I know I struggled with the length of the audiobook, but I don't think that was the only reason. I was also not loving Laia in this book. She's just so annoyingly stubborn. It's a good trait for her, I guess, because it helps her do things. Otherwise, she might be paralyzed by fear. But so often I found myself thinking, "UGH Laia!" as I read. 

Secondly, the books are so....brutal. I mean, it's a brutal world. This isn't a surprise by any means. It's a hard world, and it was a hard world in the first book, too. I don't know if the change is in me? I need a bit more sunshine and less blood. More fluffy romance and less ... Kauf. I pretty much cringed any time I reading about something the Warden was doing.

But there's a lot to love about this book, too. Steve West reads Elias, and as I talked about before, he is quite delightful to listen to. I am forever #TeamHelene. I hate that being the Blood Shrike has to make her so brutal, too. But she stays true to goodness and to herself in it all, and I admire her for doing so. Even though so many of her scenes made me almost physically hurt. Oh Helene! I think of the three main characters, I am most excited to see what happens with her in Reaper.

Whose story are you most excited to follow in Reaper? Let us know in the comments.

No comments :

Post a Comment