Book Review: A Torch Against the Night – Sabaa Tahir

It’s been two damn years since I’ve read Ember, two damn years since I got Torch, I’m finally done reading this book and can finally have a review.


Name: A Torch Against the Night
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Publisher(s): Razorbill
Release Date: August 30, 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.

Book Cover Comments


Let’s talk about the beautiful ice white and phthalo blue contrast; its so beautiful and definitely creates the effect of a torch against the night (roll credits oh dear)

The Review

Imma try to do this quick because its 1:45am and I really want to sleep

and I’ve finally accomplished what I’ve purchased two years ago

At many points, I’ve considered skipping Torch because of the gap I’ve put between Ember and Torch due to school and an evergrowing TBR pile, but my guilt has pushed me to finish this book finally, despite this two year gap.

And I must say, despite me speed reading (note that my speed reading is still pretty slow) this book, I really loved the elements used in Torch, and honestly, no wonder its such a bestseller.

Now that Elias and Laia has escaped the grasps of the “Roman”-esque Empire, they are onto save Laia’s brother, Darin, from this hell of an Alcatraz. So now that world building is done, its now down to PLOT and LORE and LORE building. And it was SUPERBBBBBB

Ember didn’t have too many fantasy-c elements, but TORCH did. Sabaa did such a good job splashing things here and there that it made it so fantastic. We have this character along the way that’s kind of like Hades but not really Hades, who in fact is a great benefactor to our characters throughout the plot. And then there’s this other mysterious mystery, the great one who has been in Ember lore for a good period of time, and now this entity is finally coming back. For someone. Or something. Hm………….

Laia and Elias’ journey after their escape was an honest wreck of a roller coaster ride. It was crazy from all the twist and turns up to the very end of the book, and I was not disappointed and in fact, LOVED the plot.

We also get the full on perspective of Helene, Elias’ bff in which, tbh I don’t really care about because I’m too down for regular romantic ships, makes a big significance in the story too. Helene is basically our lens to look in the other side of the world: back at the empire and Elias’ evil mother while Elias and Laia go on their rescue mission. Things back in the empire are batshit crazy, and Helene is being put at so much burden, stress and responsibility; it hurts to see her having to suffer what she suffers through Torch, and you’ll just have to read to find out.

Sad to see that unlike book 1, I did not come across any specific words in the book that could cause a “roll-credits” phenomena. LOL OK I’LL STOP I’M SORRY

Fantastic fantasy elements woven intricately into the plot to make this roller coaster filled with boomerangs and loop-de-loops, A Torch Against the Night is a fantastic read as all the characters go through some of their darkest moments, and from that, find their way to light up the darkness.

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Joanne Lumiere

Joanne is the narcissistic founder of her book blog, Joanne Lumiere. Born and raised in Hong Kong, this 18 year old brat is currently attending college in Los Angeles, and still doesn't know how to read books with sophistication, and yet she runs a blog.

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