A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

a torch against the night

The basics

Title: A Torch Against the Night

Author:

Series: An Ember in the Ashes #2

- An Ember in the Ashes (April 2015)
- A Torch in the Night (April 2016)
- A Reaper at the Gates (June 2018)

Add it: Goodreads

Goodreads Summary:

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.

Read a full summary of A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir below. If you can’t remember what happened in A Torch Against the Night and you need a refresher, then you’re in the right place.

what went down

  • Elias and Laia are running from the Commandant.
  • They find a girl there who wants silver.
  • They leave the Catacombs and run into the Commandant. They knock her out. Elias is poisoned.
  • Helene is tortured for information about Elias and Laia.
  • Elias passes out after a fight with wraiths as a result of the poison.
  • Emperor Marcus tells Helene to find and kill Elias.
  • A man called Keris says that he is the Reaper. The Commandant accuses him of being interested in Laia.
  • Elias and Laia arrive in the Roost. Laia tries desperately to find an antidote, as Elias is now having seizures. She fights off some tribesmen and gets the antidote.
  • Three men are assigned to Helene. One of them is a spy for the Commandant. Cook gives Helene a clue on where to find Elias.
  • Keenan and Izzi are also hunting for Elias and Laia. They eventually find them, and the group travel to save Darin.
  • The group arrives in Nur. A woman called Afya takes them to the prison so they can save Laia’s brother.
  • Helene reckons they’re on the way to Nur. She gets the city shut down. Elias’ family creates a distraction and Helene is saved by Elias. She lets him go, even though she shouldn’t because her sister is betrothed to Marcus.
  • Elias leaves to save Darin by himself.
  • Elias enters Shaeva’s realm for a few days. She eventually gets him to the prison.
  • Marcus makes Helene execute some people.
  • Izzi is killed during a fight with a bunch of Masks. Laia asks Afya to leave after she gets angry. Keenan and Laia are now the only two left.
  • Elias learns that Darin is dead. Elias is captured and interrogated.
  • Helene goes to see the Augurs, who say she will be great.
  • Cook tells Helene why Elias is on his way to Kauf. Helene heals him.
  • Laia and Keenan stay in a farmhouse and things happen.
  • The Commandant heads to Kauf to purge the scholars.
  • Elias learns that, actually, Darin is alive.
  • Helene arrives in Kauf but the warden won’t let her have Elias.
  • Laia gives Keenan her silver armlet and he melts away. SURPRISE. Keenan is actually the Nightbringer and he wanted the armlet the whole time. This armlet is special because it’s made of starlight. He plans to use it to free the Jinn.
  • Helene comes across Laia and helps her. Helene then goes to warn Marcus about the Commandant and the scholar thing. Harper changes his mind about killing Helene for the Commandant. Helene realises that the Commandant is working with the Nightbringer.
  • Afya helps Darin escape the prison. Elias dies, but he makes a deal to return and take Shaeva’s place in the forest. The group escapes on boats.

how did it end?

Marcus kills Helene’s family when she doesn’t bring Elias back with her. Helene’s sister marries Marcus. Marcus doesn’t listen to Helene about the Commandant at first, but eventually he asks Helene to kill her. We see Marcus talking to himself, which is odd.1

Laia stays near the edge of the forest to be with Elias after they help the scholars escape.

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