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 hep Laia succeed, even if it mens 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.
This was such an amazing sequel! Sabaa Tahir is a really talented writer, she has such beautiful quotes and characters. I can’t believe how long it took me to read this book but I am so ready for the third book when it comes out! This book was incredible! FYI – I call the first book Ember for short and this one Torch!
So Torch pretty much just picks up where Ember left off. Laia and Elias are on the run and the first few chapters were so good! It was so fast paced and I felt like their desperation to escape was screaming out at me. I was biting my nails, I was so tense and anxious. It reminded me of Ember because the start of that book is also very fast paced and again, it took me by complete surprise. Normally the start of a second book is so slow but this one literally pulls you right in and I was so stressed reading the first few chapters. I just really wanted them to escape and everything was against them. It was a very tense but exciting start to the book!
The story is told from three perspectives: Laia, Elias and Helene and I love them all so damn much, it hurts. I don’t think I’ve cared this much about three characters in a while! I love how strong and determined each of them are. They have come such a long way since the first book and I can’t wait to see how they develop over the series. They are really interesting and compelling characters, it’s very easy to love them and care for them.
Normally I’m not a fan of the second book adding in another POV but I found that I didn’t mind for this series. I really loved Helene and welcomed her perspective. She is on such a torturous journey and you can feel the battle waging inside of her. She has been sent on a mission to kill her closet friend and she knows it will destroy her. But there will be severe consequences if she doesn’t find him and kill him. She’s in a horrible, horrible situation and I felt like crying for her. I was so sad seeing this happen to her. She’s such a good person and definitely doesn’t deserve the fate she has been handed.
I loved how determined Elias was to help Laia save her brother, even though he was risking getting caught and never getting his freedom. I loved how readily he sacrificed that chance at freedom and how much he believed in the good it will bring rescuing her brother. I loved seeing how far Laia had come since the first book. She was such a timid character and so unsure of herself. Now she is such a fighter! She has a purpose and it drives her throughout this book. She is determined to fight for her family and those she loves and not let anyone get in her way. I actually love her!
I just really, really, really want Elias and Laia to be together. I was rooting for them the whole way through and let out a little squeak of excitement as they gradually got closer to one another! It was amazing seeing how much Laia trusted Elias compared to the first book. She was so scared of him and was convinced she had to hate him because he was a Mask, but now she knows he is nothing like that and it’s so good! I can’t wait to see what happens between them in the third book because I just need them to get together!
The only thing that bothered me about this book was the pace. It was so slow and not as fast paced as the first book. However, it was still a very compelling story and it’s very character driven. I cared so much about what happened to each of them, especially Elias because he’s in such a bad place throughout. I was amazed at the amount of strength he had because I would have just given up, in all honesty. I loved how he stayed strong for Laia, he definitely deserves the world.
Towards the end I did get confused about what was happening just because this is such a vast world, with many different characters and stories to be told. However, I’m really eager to see what the next book brings because I really like where the story is going. I failed to guess the ending and was left feeling as shocked as the characters were! If you haven’t picked up this series yet, I beg you to please go out and buy these books! Or, if you already own them, please read them! Please!