Bullet Point-Review: A Torch Against The Night, Sabaa Tahir

Hi friends! I’m back today with a sequel I bought this summer and… yes, I only read it quite recently, though I think I have a good excuse for that. I was kind of terrified to do so. And, aerm… I was right. Still, i’s rare when a sequel is AS GOOD as the first book in a series and that was the case here.

There are no spoilers in this review.

πŸ“š The book

Sabaa Tahir, A Torch Against The Night, Published by Harper Voyager, September 8th, 2016.

goodreads-badge-add-plus-fad3b68d35050280ea55d50f17c654b5Elias 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 Kaufβ€”the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prisonβ€”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, Heleneβ€”Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.

Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her ownβ€”one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.



  • If you know me just a tiny little bit, you know I’m a marshmallow and this series seems a bit… harsh? Well, if that’s true, there is a reason why I keep on going, it’s because I absolutely LOVE the characters. A Torch Against The Night is told through 3 P.O.V, which allows us to know the characters deeply and I loved it.
    • Laia is such an incredible character and her growth is absolutely stunning. She is fierce and determinate and I just LOVE her so, so much, she’s one of my favorite badass awesome characters for sure. She’s not flawless or fearless, she feels so real and that’s why I love her.
    • Elias, oh Elias. I love Elias so much and this book was torture. That’s all.
    • Β I didn’t really care for the third POV, Helene, as much, but it was good to get to know her better and her struggles.
  • The world-building keeps on expanding and complexifying and it’s SO interesting to see it. Also slightly terrifying, at times, but I love how fantastical elements are woven into the story and growing with importance, too. SO captivating.
  • THE TWISTS AND TURNS AND OH MY GOD I gasped out loud multiple times while reading this and I’m here for that kind of read okay.



  • The thing that prevents me from rating this book – and the series as a whole, is, well…. let’s be honest, I am a marshmallow and some scenes were particularily hard to read at times. That’s completely personal though!
  • And…. to be completely honest, I didn’t quite care for Helene as much as I did for Elias and Laia. Even if some moments made me really, really, really sad, I just… I don’t know I didn’t feel as compelled to read her parts.


With this kind of jaw-dropping sequel, A Torch Against The Night follows in its predecessor’s footsteps, An Ember in the Ashes. Amazing world-building, characters you grow to love and see develop more and more and oh-my-what-is-happening moments, it’s definitely a series I’d recommend for fantasy fans.

As for me… yes. I’ll read A Reaper At The Gates, but my emotions need a break first.

Final rating: 4 drops!


Trigger warnings: murder, death, violence, genocide, torture, PTSD.

Do you want to read A Torch Against the Night? Why, or why not? Did you read this series, or are you planning to?

Do you have any recommendations of epic fantasy book series! Let me know in comments!



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Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. πŸ“š |🌍 | πŸ’ž Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

41 thoughts on “Bullet Point-Review: A Torch Against The Night, Sabaa Tahir

  1. I keep going back and forth with this series. I am not sure if it is worth all the hype it’s getting. I tend to stay away from hyped books. Someone please tell me why I should read this series!


    1. I personally am really loving it, so I’m biaised, but if you like fantasy books with complex world-building and characters and really, really compelling reads, I would definitely recommend it. If you’re not sure though, best thing is always to wait a little bit and to see if you’re still curious about it in a few weeks. You can always try the first book or get it at your library if you have that possiblity and give it a try πŸ™‚


    1. Ahh thank you so much Kate, this makes me so happy! πŸ™‚ Oh feel free to do your own reviews like these if you’d like, if you can link back in your posts to here to let know that it’s where you got the idea, it’s totally okay for me! πŸ™‚
      I hope you’ll get to read this series soon, it really is fantastic πŸ˜€
      thank you so much Kate! ❀


  2. I cannot agree more! I found Helene okay, but she’s also… someone that sometime still excuse the Empire? And for such I’ve problems standing here. One thing that rubbed me wrong of this book is that certain part, that were supposed to add drama and heart wreaching, weren’t that much.

    I couldn’t feel near. I mean, I was totally sad about it, but like I was watching the scene from the distances. Maybe some characters deserved more pages.

    But the rest? PERFECT

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I understand what you mean. I personally loved Elias and Laia’s parts SO much, but had a harder time… feeling that same kind of deep connection and care for Helene overall. Still this was a fantastic sequel!! πŸ˜€
      Thank you so much Camilla! x

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review for this book Marie. I’m really glad you’ve enjoyed this series so far, and hopefully when your emotions are ready for A Reaper at the Gates you’ll love that one too. πŸ™‚ ❀️
    It’s been a while since I read this one (I’ll need to do a re-read before I pick up the third book myself) but I actually really liked Helene’s character, and I enjoyed seeing how she developed in the first and second books because I think she has some interesting places to go. Of course the world building was something I loved from the start, and reading your review has convinced me to get back onto this series sooner rather than later! πŸ˜€ ❀️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Beth! I agree that Helene was interesting as a whole, I just wish my heart could have cared a bit more for her overall hahaha. I’m still looking forward to seeing what will happen to her next in the next book πŸ™‚
      I hope you’ll get back to reading this series soon, I would LOVE to hear your thoughts about it! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh I’m so glad to hear this one’s just as good as the prequel! I’ve been meaning to read it for ages but never got around to it… Also, avoiding spoilers as much as I can on Twitter (which is hard!)

    I have to say I’m the exact opposite of you xD I always enjoyed Helene more than Laia, so I’m happy to know she’ll have her own POV in this book (I actually don’t remember if she had one in the previous one? Ugh, brain!)

    I also totally understand the squeamish feelings you may get while reading certain scenes. They were quite gruesome and terrifying and I was not totally at ease with them either. But at the same time I find they shaped the story really well and were necessary so there’s that!

    Anyway, amazing review as always Marie ❀ Keep up the lovely work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes avoiding spoilers can be really hard, I really hope that I won’t ever get spoiled for this series, because…. I’m loving the twists and turns and surprises and it’s the worst when these are taken away! 😦

      Well you’ll be happy to read that one for sure then! It was great to have Helene’s POV in that one and to understand her better, I just wish I cared more for her haha πŸ™‚ I hope you’ll love it πŸ™‚ ❀
      thank you so, so much!! ❀


  5. I SPED through the first two books in this series and loved them!! Though I think my favorite so far is the first one. I started Reaper at the Gates a while ago but keep stalling on it! I got like halfway through and couldn’t go further. 😩 So frustrating.
    Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear that – I noticed that Reaper seems to have mixed reviews overall :/ I hope you’ll be able to get through it and that you’ll end up enjoying it better than you are now ❀
      thank you so, so much!! ❀


  6. We already talked about this, but I didn’t have very strong feelings about the first book, so I don’t think I’ll read this one [I remember loving Elias, so I’m a bit heartbroken to hear about this book being torture in regards to him. :’)] – I’m super happy that you still enjoyed it, though, and this is a wonderful review! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It sounds like this was a strong sequel for you and that you were able to enjoy it for a lot of reasons! I have been hearing good things and bad things about this series and I really don’t know whether to give it a shot or not πŸ˜› We shall see!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really was a strong sequel, I appreciated it so much! πŸ™‚
      I get that… I guess the only thing left to do is try it out, maybe get it from a library if you have that possibility? I hope you’ll try it out someday, I’d love to know what you think of it πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m…. yeah I’m not ready for that next book but I’m going to read it for sure, because I need to know what happens next πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
      Thank you so much Amanda! ❀


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