book review // A Torch Against the Night

Friday, November 25, 2016

Hello and Happy (late) Thanksgiving! 
Hope all of you have had a great week! My Thanksgiving was very good! We actually had it on Wednesday (because my sister had a soccer tournament on Thursday), something I would like to call "Fakes-giving." There was fudge pie.

You may have noticed that I have changed the look of my blog! (you probably didn't notice, honestly) But, if you did notice, I changed the look of my blog, and I love it! :)

On another note, today I will be talking about An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. Unlike my last post, which was a short snippet of my thoughts, this post will be the full blown rampage review! So let's get rampaging!
Here are some of my thoughts on A Torch Against the Night. (I can't promise that there won't be any spoilers. I'll try not to include anything major).

by Sabaa Tahir

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.

There certainly is a lot of running going on.

I went into this during my Disappointing Books post, but I am going to mention it again (and no, you can't stop me). 

During the first half of the book, the only thing going on is -- wait for it -- running. AHHHH. It's just too much.

Elias and Laia are running from the Empire. More specifically, Elias is running from his own death. Oh and we can't forget Helene! She's running from the choices she needs to make! Did I mention that there was a bunch of running? I mean, I do enjoy a good bit of running, just look at my About Page, but enough is enough.

I haven't yet written a full review on An Ember in the Ashes*, but I really loved that book and was expecting a lot of action and adventure from this one. I kinda got that from this book, but in all honesty, I was very much disappointed. I get bored with books pretty easily, and this one was a bit of a struggle for me to finish. Mostly, it was the first half that was the problem; the end was actually better.

*You might be thinking, Wow, Madeline. Great job planning. You can't even review books in order. Well, my friend, you are absolutely correct. I am not organized right now. But I don't care. I just wanted to review this book before I forgot what I wanted to say in this post.

Oh, hello there. It's Helene's POV.

You don't know this yet (because the review for AEITA isn't up), but Helene was basically my favorite character in the book. I love me a strong female character. I mean, I kinda hated her at times but she was still my favorite character. Sooo, I was excited to see her development in this book! I ended up being pretty happy with it! 

First of all, I really enjoyed having Helene's POV included. In fact, it was basically the only thing that got me through the book. Laia and Elias were in the same place for practically the whole book, and having Helene's point of view broke it up. 

However, some of Helene's chapters ended up being a little boring. Overall though, having Helene's perspective included really enhanced the story. Helene ended up having lots more feelings than I thought she did!

Speaking of Laia: I don't know why I ever liked her. Last book, she was OK, and now, she's turning into a special snowflake for no good reason. Why?? I don't even have a clue why she now has powers (and I have a feeling it won't tie into the next story very well). Also, LOVE TRIANGLE ALERT. Why is Keenan even a love interest? Honestly, I didn't like him from the beginning.
Also speaking of Elias: He was pretty selfless and all in this book going to Kauf to rescue Darin. Thumbs up to seeing him using his Mask skills for good. Buuut, I would have liked to see more of a face-off between him and Helene.

The Commandant is crazy.

I assumed that, like all the other characters, the Commandant would also develop, but apparently I was wrong. 

In a good villain, I expect to see good qualities as well as bad qualities. The truth is, a person can't be totally bad, and to be realistic, a character can't be either. She was so ruthless and horrible, and I completely hated her. I was sure that we would get to see other facets of her or even learn part of her story. That obviously didn't happen.

But wait there's more! She was even more ruthless and crazy this book than last book if that's even possible! 

What bothered me about this book: There isn't really an effective villain in this book. Sure, there was the Commandant, the Warden of Kauf Prison, and the mysterious Nightbringer, but none of them have been consistent antagonists throughout the story. The commandant is a lunatic (see above paragraphs), the Warden is just plain weird, and I know nothing whatsoever about the Nightbringer. I guess he will be a main part of the third book. The point is, the plot kind of fell apart for me because  there wasn't a well-developed villain.

The twist didn't really surprise me.

I won't go into specifics about the twist near the end of the book, but I will say that it was pretty predictable. I think the main point of a "twist" is to surprise you and make you go "Whaaaat." but this one didn't do that for me? Does anyone else feel this way? (*SPOILER* about Keenan/the Nightbringer?)

I think it was also the fact that I just didn't care about Laia anymore that made the twist so underwhelming. Usually after a particularly jarring twist to a story, I just have to sit there for a second and take it all in, but during this one, I just kept reading and wasn't that surprised.

Meh. *shrugs*

My Final Rating:  
It wasn't a totally bad book (in fact, it was actually written well), but I think it was my expectation for it to be amazing that ruined it for me. An Ember in the Ashes was fantastic, but A Torch Against the Night was nowhere near as good. 

I did read An Ember in the Ashes a while ago though, and my expectations of books have grown quite a bit since then, so maybe my memories of it being amazing are inflated. I'll have to reread it soon before I review it. BUT I am 90% sure that ATAtN will still be weaker than AEItA by far. Probably.

Have you read A Torch Against the Night? What are your thoughts on it? Let me know in the comments! (sorry that this review was a bit disorganized! I have been very busy and didn't have a lot of time for this review!)

hope you enjoyed this review! email me at or fill out my contact form if you have any review requests!

xoxo, madeline


  1. GAH YOUR BLOG DESIGN. *flails* I'm honestly too cheap to spend money on a template, but yours looks AMAHZING. <33

    1. ahh thank you so much! :) that really made my day!! and this template was actually on sale for Black Friday or something so it was a win win for me!

      what's your blog?? I would love to check it out!!

    2. you're so welcome girl! <33 YES BLACK FRIDAY SALES ARE THE BEST.

      It's :D thanks!


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