A Torch Against the Night
Goodreads ratings
4.27 / 5

"A Torch Against the Night" Summary

By Sabaa Tahir

fantasy | 452 pages | Published in 2016


Estimated read time: 4 min read

One Sentence Summary

Elias and Laia continue their dangerous journey to free Laia's brother from prison while being pursued by the Blood Shrike in this thrilling sequel.


"A Torch Against the Night" is a gripping fantasy novel written by Sabaa Tahir. This is the second book in the "An Ember in the Ashes" series and continues the epic saga set in a Roman-inspired world filled with danger, magic, and political intrigue. The novel picks up immediately after the events of the first book, with the main characters struggling to survive in a brutal and unforgiving world.

Brief Synopsis

Plot Overview and Setting

The story is set in a world inspired by ancient Rome, where an empire rules with an iron fist and the oppressed people are forced to live in fear. The Martial Empire is a place of brutality and tyranny, where the powerful oppress the weak. The story follows the lives of Laia, a young woman fighting for her family's freedom, and Elias, a former soldier turned rebel. As they navigate the dangerous and treacherous world around them, they encounter magic, betrayal, and the ever-present threat of the empire's ruthless soldiers.

Main Events

  1. Escape from Blackcliff: Laia and Elias narrowly escape the clutches of the Martial Empire's elite military academy, Blackcliff, after a daring rescue mission.
  2. Hunt for the Augurs: The characters embark on a perilous journey to find the legendary Augurs, powerful beings who hold the key to defeating the empire.
  3. Betrayal and Alliance: The novel delves into the complex web of alliances and betrayals as the characters struggle to determine who can be trusted in their fight against the empire.
  4. The Prison of Kauf: Laia and Elias find themselves imprisoned in Kauf, a terrifying and dangerous prison, where they must navigate the treacherous environment to survive.

Main Characters

LaiaA brave and determined young woman who embarks on a quest to save her brother and fight against the empire's oppression.
EliasA former soldier of the empire who becomes a rebel, determined to bring about change and justice in the face of his own internal struggles.
HeleneElias's childhood friend and a fiercely loyal soldier of the empire, torn between her duty and her loyalty to Elias.

Themes and Insights

The novel delves into themes of oppression, rebellion, loyalty, and the struggle for freedom. It explores the complexities of power and the sacrifices individuals must make in the face of tyranny. The characters are faced with moral dilemmas and must navigate the blurred lines between right and wrong as they fight for a better future. The story also delves into the internal struggles of the characters, as they grapple with their own desires and fears in the midst of chaos and danger.

Reader's Takeaway

Readers will be captivated by the richly imagined world and the complex, multi-dimensional characters that populate it. The novel is a thrilling and intense ride, filled with heart-pounding action and emotional depth. It offers a thought-provoking exploration of the human spirit and the enduring power of hope in the face of overwhelming adversity.


"A Torch Against the Night" is a compelling and immersive continuation of the "An Ember in the Ashes" series. Sabaa Tahir weaves a masterful tale of courage, sacrifice, and the enduring strength of the human spirit. Readers will be drawn into the world of the Martial Empire and the struggles of its inhabitants, rooting for the characters as they navigate a treacherous and unforgiving landscape. This novel is a must-read for fans of fantasy and adventure, offering a captivating journey into a world filled with danger, magic, and the indomitable power of the human will.

A Torch Against the Night FAQ

  1. What is the genre of A Torch Against the Night?

    A Torch Against the Night is a young adult fantasy novel.

  2. Is A Torch Against the Night a sequel?

    Yes, A Torch Against the Night is the sequel to An Ember in the Ashes.

  3. Who is the author of A Torch Against the Night?

    A Torch Against the Night is written by Sabaa Tahir.

  4. What is the setting of A Torch Against the Night?

    The book is set in a fantasy world inspired by Ancient Rome.

  5. What is the main storyline of A Torch Against the Night?

    The story follows the journey of Laia, Elias, and Helene as they navigate a dangerous world filled with political intrigue, magic, and rebellion.