A Torch Against the Night is the sequel to An Ember in the Ashes and therefore this review may contain spoilers for the previous books.

This series is so good. I find it takes a little work to get into it but it is so worth it once you are absorbed into the rich world-building and intrigue and danger.

But you, Helene Aquilla, are no swift-burning spark. You are a torch against the night – if you dare to let yourself burn.

After narrowly escaping execution, Elias is on the run from the might of the Empire with Laia in tow. Helene is now the Blood Shrike, tied to Emperor Marcus and sworn to serve him. Her first task is to hunt down her friend, and if she doesn’t succeed, her family will suffer.

Helene’s story is the most compelling of the three. She is put in an awful position. Maybe Elias is a traitor in the Empire’s eyes and she knows her love wasn’t returned in the same way, but they have history and she really doesn’t like Marcus. She is on the wrong side but she is not a bad person, my favourite kind of complicated character!

Most successful missions are just a series of barely averted disasters.

Elias is poisoned by the Commandant as he leaves the city. There’s no cure for the seizures that leave him close to death but Laia can help extend his life with her knowledge of herbs. Elias keeps slipping into a place like limbo, the place where those with unfinished business linger before they can pass on. He meets some familiar faces there but he knows his unfinished business is in the living world. He might not be able to live for long but he can help free Laia’s brother before he goes.

Again, the supernatural element isn’t the main thing but is a lot more present this time. I loved all the revelations and can’t wait to see where it goes.

Failure doesn’t define you. It’s what you do after you fail that determines whether you are a leader or a waste of perfectly good air.

There was an aspect of this story that I didn’t really like but then I was rewarded by a turn in events, which made my not liking this character OK. Can I be vague enough? I felt the pace was a little saggy in the middle, but this was completely made up by everything that happens near the end. I want more! Well fortunately the next book, A Reaper at the Gates, has been announced for April next year.

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Book Source: Purchased