CGG Book Club: A Torch Against The Night

I am *so* excited about this edition of the CGG Book Club! I recently had the opportunity to read one of the buzziest sequels around – A Torch Against the Night – and am delighted to share my thoughts on it with you.

A Torch Against the Night

What’s The Buzz?: Sabaa Tahir’s debut YA novel An Ember In The Ashes snuck up on the world last year. After experiencing quite a bit of YA trilogy fatigue (most of you are familiar with the likes of The Hunger Games and Divergent that started the trend), readers were getting tired of these series, many of which don’t pan out by the time you get to that last book. But Tahir’s debut – inspired by Ancient Rome and grounded in a magical realism world – captured imaginations for the first time in a long time. With its overlapping stories of Laia, a slave girl who goes undercover at the brutal military Blackcliff Academy as a spy for the Scholars resistance and Elias, the semi-unclaimed son of the Academy’s masochistic leader that’s doubting his path as a Mask (the most highly trained guards), the book quickly earned a legion of fans that fell for their trials, including a near-constant threat of death, a star-crossed romance (or is it a square?), and all sorts of subterfuge.

What’s The Plot?: As with most reviews of series’ sequels, I encourage you to proceed reading with caution. If you haven’t read the first book I’ll try to keep things light-ish on spoilers, but recognize that A Torch Against the Night picks up mere minutes, at most, from the first book (in fact, I strongly encourage you to re-read the last 50 or so pages of the last book to remember what’s happening). Elias and Laia have a very clear mission that guides the book’s momentum – they have figured out where Laia’s brother, the weaponsmaker, is, and they want to free him. Of course, there’s the whole issue of a bounty being on their heads, Elias having a nearly fatal encounter with his mother, the prison they want to break into is basically impenetrable, and Elias’ former best friend Helene, Blood Shrike to the new murderous Emperor Marcus, being hot on their tails. It’s an avalanche of pain as they hurtle toward their impossible mission, with less subterfuge and way more shocking, startling surprises as the clock ticks down…

What Series Is This One Most Like?: Although Sabaa Tahir’s books have stood out from the crowd, in some ways they borrow from the best. There are elements of Harry Potter’s seventh book quest, Leigh Bardugo’s Oceans 11-esque Six of Crows, the magical realism and godly warfare in Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone series, the dual viewpoints from two different worlds like Marie Lu’s Legend, and the earthy culture of Elias’ tribesmen evoking Daenarys’ people in Game of Thrones. I’m sure there’s a few others, but this one definitely tapped into all of those at first glance.

How Summery Is It?: Technically this is the last of my summer reads posts, and I’d give A Torch Against the Night ☀☀☀/4! It’s a hard one to put down and super easy to read – it makes a perfect book to curl up with during a weekend at your cabin or stretching out at the dock.

Who Should Read This Book?: I am pleased to say that so far, Sabaa Tahir has demonstrated something not many of these YA series’ authors have really shown to date – and that’s follow-through. The first two books are intrinsically linked, yet I still have no clear idea where the story is headed. Too often, a YA series will focus on one key story, give you tons in the first book, and then stall in the second book, before wrapping it up in the third. A Torch Against the Night expertly builds on the story in book one, still offers you plenty of reveals, but provides just as many questions and challenges in book three. The only thing I’m sad about is the fact it’ll be done too soon! In the meantime, if you want to read a series that is holding strong through its first two entries – pick this one up.

Sabaa Tahir An Ember In The Ashes Series

Speaking of the first two entries, I’m excited to share that I’m giving away TWO sets of the first two books in the series, so you can catch up on Laia and Elias’ story before diving into the latest chapter. Want to win a set? Here’s how to enter:

1) First & foremost: you must be a subscriber to the Canadian Gift Guide to enter this giveaway. It’s as simple as finding ‘The Gift of Gab’ box in the righthand column and dropping in your email or clicking follow. Then, tell me in the comments below by September 22, 2016 – why are you interested in reading this series?

2) Entries are limited to one per person / per email address / per household (or more if you score bonus entries). A random draw will be conducted on or around September 23, 2016 to select the winner, who will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen in their place.

3) Entries are limited to Canadians that have reached the age of majority in their province. Quebec is not eligible for this promotion.

4) Bonus Entry: Add this book to your to-read list on GoodReads, and leave a link back to the page it’s on below in a separate comment to earn yourself another bonus entry.

7) Bonus Entry #2: Follow me (@cdngiftguide) on Instagram and share the cover of this book in your own post, tagging me, Penguin Canada and Random House of Canada, telling us why you’d love to read this book. Post a link to your photo in a separate comment below to earn yourself an extra entry.

42 Responses to “CGG Book Club: A Torch Against The Night”
  1. doreen lamoureux says:

    I subscribe by email. YAHOO 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
    I would love to read this series because it sounds very interesting and I love how each book is linked but still leaves you guessing. Perfect winter read.
    dorcontest at gmail dot com

  2. Anne Derkat says:

    I love books and am always interested in new authors.

  3. Heather Swanson says:

    I need books for the long winter ahead

  4. Julie P says:

    You’ve made the books sound enticing.I’d like an easy summer read.

  5. Joan G. says:

    You’ve sparked my interest in these books and I’m always looking for new authors to read.

  6. Janice Lewis says:

    This series sounds very interesting. Always looking for something new to read.

  7. Aimee says:

    I need a new summer read. I am a subscriber.

  8. Lindsey says:

    I haven’t read a YA series in a while!

  9. edmontonjb says:

    I would like to win this for my teen to read. I love when I can find series that hold his attention and keep him reading.


  10. bkick1 says:

    I always enjoy reading a good book and these 2 will definitely hold my attention.

  11. Audrey Skinner says:

    I loved the Hunger Games series so I am sure I would love these books and then I would pass them on to my nieces.

  12. Krysta mukai says:

    This sounds like a great series. I am super interested in history and love ready fiction. Can’t wait to read these books

  13. Leah E says:

    I’m a big Harry Potter fan and these seem within the same domain. I’m always looking for a good read that is hard to put down!

  14. intensev5 says:

    I would love to get some new books that are hard to put down!

  15. Jessica L. says:

    the series sounds interesting and i’ve never read anything from this author

  16. mousecat says:

    I’m interested in reading this series because as much as trilogies seems to be the thing that people are getting a little tired of, I still love them and this sounds like it would be a good one. If, as you say, the second book is as strong as the first one, then it sounds like this trilogy will not disappoint!

  17. Susan T. says:

    I’ve been meaning to start this series and just haven’t gotten my hands on it yet. Everyone seems to love it and I’m really interested in how it is set in a Roman style society. Should be barbarous and horrible! Lol!

  18. Susan says:

    I would like to reada YA series that doesn’t “peter out” after the first book!

  19. cheryl mclellan says:

    This looks like an interesting read.

  20. cookie3 says:

    this sounds like an interesting series

  21. kim says:

    I’ve heard about this series, but haven’t picked it up yet. Looks like a good read.

  22. kittypride says:

    I enjoy a good read that keeps me guessing!

  23. I loved the first book and was really impressed with the writing, so it’s a no-brainer to read the second. Thanks for the giveaway!

  24. Dwayne Taylor says:

    would be a great Christmas present for the woman that I love 🙂

  25. George Meek says:

    My wife reads 24/7 and I’m sure she would enjoy another book.

  26. Kavita says:

    I’m interested in reading this because I love YA series and I’ve heard so much about these books! Also, I would love to read a trilogy that follows through from the first novel.

  27. Theresa C. says:

    I’d love to read this and share it with my three girls who are all avid fantasy readers as well!

  28. Caity says:

    I would love to read this series because YA is one of my favourite genres of novels and it just sounds like an intriguing novel

  29. Erin Lewis says:

    I’d love to read this series! I’m always looking for something new and fun to read!

  30. photomum says:

    The book sounds great. i subscribe via email

  31. AnnieP says:

    I have heard good things about An Ember in the Ashes and would love to read the first two books I the series.

  32. AnnieP says:

    This book has got amazing ratings on Goodreads, so I added it to my To Read shelf:

  33. Aarone Mawdsley says:

    these look great

  34. aly3360 says:

    I’m interested in reading the series because it’s a series I haven’t come across yet. I find I enjoy series far more than stand alone books lately.

  35. KELLY E says:

    I love reading book series because you get really invested in what is happening and can’t wait to read the next book

  36. Jacquie Hess says:

    It looks like an interesting series. I agree that the above mentioned series (Hunger Games, Divergent) did not sustain the story into the third installment so I would be curious to read how these do.

  37. Lisa S says:

    I’ve been looking for a new series to get into.. This may just be the one. I have heard great things!

  38. Angela Mitchell says:

    I’ve been reading so much about this series lately. I just read a big write up about them in Entertainment Weekly the other day and I’ve put them on my tbr list.

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