Fantasy, High Fantasy
An Ember in the Ashes, Book # 2
August 30 2016
December 2, 2020 December 21, 2020
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.
About the book
A Torch Against the Night is the second volume in the series entitled An Ember in the Ashes. It begins where the first book ended with the escape of Laia and Elias from Blackcliff. The two will find themselves hunted by enemies as they try to reach Kauf’s prison to free Laia’s brother. On the way they will meet friends and enemies who will help them in their adventure.
The story is developed through different points of view and the most interesting in my opinion is Elias’. But Helene’s is also not bad.
What I think
In general, I liked the book so much that I have already started the third volume. I read it in English because honestly the Italian editions are shameful (because of the different editions, one in hardcover and the others in paperback – the OCD in me cries out for revenge) but the language is so simple that I had no problem understanding it. (Okay, maybe it’s me who knows English well by now).
In the first book I was looking for the Arabian tales of jinn, ghoul and ifrit, because I had read somewhere that it was the background (don’t ask me where, but this was my belief and you know, when you wait for something from a book if it doesn’t happen you feel something missing). Here I already knew the premises that are more about ancient Rome (which I love anyway) and therefore for this reason I didn’t have disappointments. But here we start to see the world created by the author and this world intrigues me a lot especially Laia and her power which still remains mysterious.
We are also introduced to the Nightbringer, even though we don’t have his point of view. It will be nice to read his POV in the next books or at least I hope there is his point of view.
As I said, I read the book in English so the style belongs to the author. English is not difficult and the chapters are not very long so I really enjoyed it. Also I like the fact that there are different points of view even though I would like more.
In addition, her writing style makes you stay glued to the book especially in the final part. And the ending makes you want to pick up the sequel right away (which I did).
I like Elias and his guilt. It’s a cliché, I know, but the handsome and dark character with a sense of guilt and who sacrifices himself for the common good is something I love very much and I am always looking for a similar character.
I like Laia a little less than the first book and I’ll explain why in the spoiler section. But I like that little by little we see her growth and her empathy towards those who suffer. In addition to the development of her powers.
Helene has become a real mask and she is the right arm of the Emperor. What happens to her is devastating but it makes her grow immensely.
Conclusion no spoilers
Despite everything I will say later (which means, what I didn’t like) I love the saga and will continue reading it, hoping that Sabaa won’t ruin the female protagonist even more.
Anyway, I gave 3 stars because of what I say below. Please read only if you’re read the book. If I don’t count that fact, it’s a 5 stars.
This contain spoilers.
Why I don’t like Laia? I don’t like the fact that she gets fooled by Keenan, or the Nightbringer. I don’t like what she does, how she presents herself with the first Resistance character who met her mother and I can never stand this cliché. Now the female lead is ruined for me. There are ways and ways of “making fun” of a character but this concocted by the author, as well as being in every book that has appeared on earth, is the ugliest and most banal you can think of.
I like the fact that it is based on ancient Rome and that there are Latin terms, except that they are all wrong and it irritates me a lot. Using Paters as a plural spoils my reading as it is not fluent for me (obviously it’s wrong in Latin). Especially because I read it with English pronunciation since I don’t recognise it as Latin and therefore I never know how to read it or rather I read it in English and then my brain goes back to read it in pseudo-Latin… I know it’s a trifle but if you use a language that is not yours, at least inform yourself. Or invent new terms directly.
Happy new year everyone!