4.5 stars. An enjoyable fantasy novel, easy reading. I preferred the warrior Elias to the somewhat gullible spy/slave Laia. Some great world-building, I could see this as a movie.
“The field of battle is my temple. The swordpoint is my priest. The dance of death is my prayer. The killing blow is my release.” - Elias Veturius
Quick review for a quick read. My second read of 2017 and it got off to an action packed and surprising start. I honestly think "A Torch Against the Night" improves upon the former novel in so many ways, but it takes a bit of time to get to the heavy hitting revelations, which were well worth the wait. I thought that the novel would go in some very predictable, cliche places, but there were certain moments where it pulled the rug right from under me. It definitely played its strings well marching up to the conclusions it did.
The novel begins from the point the last novel ended. Elias and Laia are on the run and eluding capture from the Empire, but so many events transpire that aren't what they seem and thrust the two in deeper peril as they try to make plans to rescue Laia's brother, Darin, from prison. The narrative switches between Elias and Laia to give perspective to their encounters when they're together and separated, but also adds a third perspective: Helene. Helene is torn between her loyalty to Elias and to the Empire as she assumes the role of Bloodstrike, but she has very limited power and respect. Not like the Commandant, who is just as menacing in this book as she was in the former. I really appreciated - in retrospect - how the threads of the story came together. Each character struggles with their respective roles and moralities/loyalties through the course of the story, though I'll admit certain sequences seemed to drag on a bit more than others, even if they were created to establish tension or give reference to the fate of certain characters (like the otherworld in which Elias surfaces when he suffers his seizures).
As one would think, the POVs do eventually converge in places where the characters encounter each other, usually in moments where the conflict is at a peak. There was one point where the emergence of a certain character I thought meaning to serve as an alternate love interest but had a completely different role in the progression of the novel that I didn't see coming, alongside several other political and moral plays, not to mention a number of deaths that hit pretty hard when they come up. And where the story brings about one reunion, it brings the destruction of another.
I can't wait until the next book releases.
Overall score: 4/5 stars.
2016 was a great year for me. The year of many changes: I did my first internship and had to move to a different city all alone (it may seems ridiculous because it was only 150km from home and I got back every weekend. I was still in Belgium, but hey, it was a lot of responsibilities and my country is so small that it meant I was living at the other side of it), I graduated from University, I got a job (even before graduating) and I moved in with my boyfriend. I have my own house, I have a job so I get my own money (but I don’t have my own car yet, it’s ok, the bus is great for reading time). Anyway, all these changes also meant I did not get that many books read. And I had not that much time to post reviews, read posts and comment your publications… which is really sad cause I really enjoy Booklikes and this awesome community! My challenge was to read 90 books and I barely managed it.
2016 Reading challenge
In 2015; I read 95 books. But I decided to lower this challenge for 2016 because I knew I would probably have less time to read (which was the case). Still, I did not want to focus that much on the quantity, but rather on the enjoyment of it. I really wanted to read just because I wanted to and I did not want to force myself to read (which is really stupid because you don’t enjoy it then…). I read (and re-read) many great books in 2016. I discovered new authors, new gendra and I tried to just read what I felt like reading. I decided to make a top 16 of the books I read in 2016. But then I chose to include only 10. It was difficult, but here they are (I only included books I had never read before, obviously).
10. Harry Potter and The Cursed Child by J.K Rowling: just because it was so great to read a new HP story. I liked the new characters but I felt like the old ones were too much changed and it bugged me a bit.
9. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir: I absolutely adored this first book and I’m really excited about reading the next one, which I’ll do in 2017!
8. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon: It was brilliant, beautiful and unexpected.
7. Phobos by Victor Dixen: I discovered this series, written by a French author. I don’t usually read YA in French, but this one was really great and I’m glad I gave it a chance!
6. Stars Above by Marissa Meyer: I was so happy to be back in the Lunar Chronicles world. I absolutely adored the series and this book was a great addition to it.
5. L’ombre du Vent (Shadow of the Wind) by Carlos Ruiz Zafon: A wonderful author. I wish I could read this in its original version. Unfortunately, I do not speak Spanish well enough. I adored the story and the writing was beautiful.
4. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: wonderful world, amazing characters, great plot, excellent writing
3. Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas: No wonders Sarah J Maas is in my top 3. It’s funny to think I did not enjoy the first book first time I read it and almost gave up on the series. I don’t know how to explain what’s so special about this series. I just love it.
2. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum: Yes, I only read this story this year. I don’t know why I never tried it before… Never read it as a kid and I remembered being in Mons for my internship and not having any physical books left I wanted to read, so I looked into my Kindle and found this. This author is absolutely fantastic! I read some other books from the Oz series, I still have a few to go and I’m not going to stop any time soon. I loved it so much.
1. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas: and Sarah J Maas again! This book was even better than ACOTAR. I’m so in love with the characters and with her writing that it feels right that this book got the 1st place in my top 10. Can’t wait for A Court of Wings and Ruin.
Here was my top 10 of 2016. The order is not that important, those are just the books that I remembered best from this year.
Did you read any good books in 2016? Discover new authors, started new series? Just tell me if there is one book in particular that made your year
Also, I just can’t realize that 2016 is over… It went so fast! I hope you all had a great year and that 2017 will be a good reading year for you! If 2016 was shitty for you; then I hope 2017 will be better!
Happy 2017 everyone!!