SPOILER FREE REVIEW
Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads):
I WILL TELL YOU THE SAME THING I TELL EVERY SLAVE.
THE RESISTANCE HAS TRIED TO PENETRATE THIS SCHOOL COUNTLESS TIMES. I HAVE DISCOVERED IT EVERY TIME.
IF YOU ARE WORKING WITH THE RESISTANCE, IF YOU CONTACT THEM, IF YOU THINK OF CONTACTING THEM, I WILL KNOW.
AND I WILL DESTROY YOU.
Laia is a slave.
Elias is a soldier.
Neither is free.
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family seeks out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.
Goodreads Rating: 4.32/5 Stars
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
There were a few thoughts that ran through my head when I read this book:
1) WHY DIDN’T I READ THIS BOOK SOONER.
2) I literally cannot put this book down.
3) I’m really happy the next book comes out in less than 30 days.
I have to say, I am really kicking myself in the butt for waiting so long to read this book. It came out in April 2015 and has been sitting on my bookshelf since that day. When I was at BookCon, A Torch Against the Night was one of the most sought after and coveted ARC one could get. And now I understand why. I mean, I did read this book across a span of two days and a total of six hours (which is something that I haven’t done in a long time).
Sabaa Tahir’s writing is so, so smooth and beautifully done. The second my eyes drank in the first paragraph of her book, I knew that I was hooked and in love with the story already. Her writing reminded me of Sarah J Maas’ and Tahereh Mafi’s writing, only blended together to build a wonderful story that was based on Ancient Rome.
I have to say, I fell in love with our two main characters. A neat thing that Sabaa did was tell the story in duel perspectives, which allowed her to weave two plot lines together and end every chapter with a cliffhanger – which made it very difficult to put the book down. More importantly, I fell in love with both characters equally. Between Elias and Laia, the reader experienced an impressive story from two sides.
Elias is a solider that doesn’t want to be a solider. I enjoyed his side of the story because of that fact, and because of all of the conflicts that result from his mindset. One would expect him to be the sole hero of the story, but that is not the case. In fact, our other main character, Laia, proved herself by the end of the book. What I enjoyed about her perspective was seeing her character development. In the beginning, she was cowardly and shied away from danger. By the end, she found herself and took on challenges that she never would have dreamed of in the beginning of the book.
Most importantly, the pacing of the story was unbelievable. There was never a dull moment within those 450 pages. Every chapter had a new piece of the story, a new event, and a lot of power to keep one reading. I know I dreaded every moment that I’d have to put the book down because I always wanted to know what would happen next.
Not only that, but there were other layers to the story, which came from the symbols, themes, and metaphor’s Sabaa used. These elements added a deeper level of meaning to the characters and events that were happening, which is also something hard to find in young adult fiction these days.
All in all, I absolutely devoured this book and I can’t wait for the next one to come out at the end of the month!
An Ember in the Ashes (Trilogy)
- An Ember in the Ashes
- A Torch Against the Night
“There are two kinds of guilt. The kind that’s a burden and the kind that gives you purpose. Let your guilt be your fuel. Let it remind you of who you want to be. Draw a line in your mind. Never cross it again. You have a soul. It’s damaged but it’s there. Don’t let them take it from you.”
― Sabaa Tahir,