This may be one of the strongest sequels I have read in a long time. There was no drag or filler. It was non-stop from the very beginning. The characters are smartly written and interesting to read. You feel for all of them but for different reasons. All of their decisions are explainable even if you don’t agree with them. It is a very good book. At the end of An Ember in the Ashes, Laia and Elias are escaping Blackcliff and Serra and Helena is now sworn to be the Blood Shrike to the new Empire, Marcus who won the trials. We begin A Torch Against the Night begins right where it’s predecessor left off. Laia and Elias on the run with Helena and her men right behind them. After a run in with Elias’ Mom, the Commandant they finally escape but not without some causalities. Eventually, they met by Keenan making it an awkward march to save Laia’s brother, Darin. Who is locked up in the infamous prison named Kauf. Meanwhile, Helena feels betrayed that Elias didn’t complete the trials forcing her to work for Marcus. Marcus is cruel and knows exactly what will hurt Helena the most. Have her track down Elias and bring him back to be executed. No one knows Elias like Helena does but she is torn between her loyalty to the Empire and her love for Elias. In the previous book the point of view switched back and forth between Laia and Elias. In this one we also get Helena’s and it’s a welcome view. We know how Laia and Elias feel but Helena is still loyal and believes in the Empire. She can see it’s not perfect but she understands how it is structured to keep them safe. Slowly, she starts to see a little bit of of what they see about they have been saying all along. Her view gives us a more rounded view of the Empire. Now it wouldn’t be a YA novel without a romantic intrigue. The love triangle was already introduced in the last book between Laia, Elias and Keenan. To me it was pretty obvious who was Laia’s choice but I guess there had to be some mystery. Elias was always talking Laia up and Keenan was always talking her down but the reveal at the end was a little bit of a surprise. I figured there had to be something up with one of her suitors but not exactly how I thought it would be. But enough about romance. Laia is truly lovely. She is one determined, brave young lady. She has been through so much in the last two books but her wanting to save her brother has never wavered. She’s not the strongest or the fastest but that never stops her from joining the fight or trying to figure out how to help. Even when her confidence is low, she still fights for what she wants. She is heroine to be looked up too. If you haven’t read An Ember in the Ashes what are waiting for? I suggest you do that now so you can read this book too. You will not regret it.