In A Torch against the Night, we continue with Elias, Laia, and Helene-Elias and Laia on the run and Helene trying to come to grips with her orders to hunt Elias down and bring him back for execution. Each of them learn secrets about themselves, their companions, and the Empire that change everything for them.
It's easy to see why this is one of the most popular debut series out right now. The world building is spectacular, drawing you in slowly until you are immersed in Laia's and Elias's and Helene's experiences. The perspective shifts are smooth and serve to progress the story at a good pace-not too fast and not too slow. Each character has his/her own baggage and conflicts to sort through, and with each one being written in a first person perspective, we don't know any "extra" details about them-we find out as the characters do. It's hard to describe why I love this series without revealing a lot of spoilers from the second book. Sabaa Tahir has created a series that will be remembered long after it is complete, I think-the issues dealt with by Elias and Laia and Helene are issues that we as a society face constantly (albeit not in the form of mass executions and torture in the US), and there is something so engrossing and soothing to reading a fiction with the same struggles and prejudices and challenges. I recommend this series to everyone-fantasy readers in particular. I look forward to the next two (that's right, TWO) books and seeing where Elias and Laia and Helene go from here.