Review: A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

A Torch Against the Night - Sabaa Tahir

Quick review for a quick read. My second read of 2017 and it got off to an action packed and surprising start. I honestly think "A Torch Against the Night" improves upon the former novel in so many ways, but it takes a bit of time to get to the heavy hitting revelations, which were well worth the wait. I thought that the novel would go in some very predictable, cliche places, but there were certain moments where it pulled the rug right from under me. It definitely played its strings well marching up to the conclusions it did.

The novel begins from the point the last novel ended. Elias and Laia are on the run and eluding capture from the Empire, but so many events transpire that aren't what they seem and thrust the two in deeper peril as they try to make plans to rescue Laia's brother, Darin, from prison. The narrative switches between Elias and Laia to give perspective to their encounters when they're together and separated, but also adds a third perspective: Helene. Helene is torn between her loyalty to Elias and to the Empire as she assumes the role of Bloodstrike, but she has very limited power and respect. Not like the Commandant, who is just as menacing in this book as she was in the former. I really appreciated - in retrospect - how the threads of the story came together. Each character struggles with their respective roles and moralities/loyalties through the course of the story, though I'll admit certain sequences seemed to drag on a bit more than others, even if they were created to establish tension or give reference to the fate of certain characters (like the otherworld in which Elias surfaces when he suffers his seizures).

As one would think, the POVs do eventually converge in places where the characters encounter each other, usually in moments where the conflict is at a peak. There was one point where the emergence of a certain character I thought meaning to serve as an alternate love interest but had a completely different role in the progression of the novel that I didn't see coming, alongside several other political and moral plays, not to mention a number of deaths that hit pretty hard when they come up. And where the story brings about one reunion, it brings the destruction of another.

I can't wait until the next book releases.

Overall score: 4/5 stars.