My initial thoughts were that Torch gave a strong “Harry Potter and the Endlessly Long Camping Trip” vibe. Actually I feel like the largest problem I had with the book was the pacing; the group spent too long wth the Tribespeople, there was a lot of time spent pouting about Elias’ problems, development with Keenan seemed too drastic because it was so rushed.
I feel we lost a bit of Laia. We lost some of the strength she’d fought so hard for in the first book. I get that she’s been beaten down, and I get that she’s trying to lean on another character for strength, and I don’t expect her to be strong all the time, but the digression seemed out of character.
Keenan was also not as powerful a character in this book. I get it; Laia was supposed to love him and trust him and let him take some of the burden off her shoulders, but it all felt so rushed and desperate. In the last book, there were moments I’d hoped to see more of the together, but now that it’s happened, it was just… sad. And I recognize that we’re not supposed to like him, but there wasn’t enough substance to Keenan in this one for me to even muster up a strong sense of dislike.
Izzi is my favorite supporting character. For someone who lived her life in slavery, she is an incredibly strong character, and an extremely positive force. I am so attached to her, and several of the more moving moments revolved around her.
Elias’ stayed the same strong, remorseful man he was in Serra. His strength comes from his need to redeem himself. He’s still haunted by the men he’s lost and the people he’s killed. He thinks he can do that by getting the Scholars only hope (Darin) out of Kauf. I hope that the Forest can help him find some peace; Elias has earned it.
Helene grew on me. In the last novel, her cruelty was off-putting, but this time around I found her loyalty to be a compelling trait; would she choose her loyalty to the Empire and her family, or would she stay loyal to the only friend she’s ever had? Reading about that conflict made Hel a more real person than any one moment in the last novel.
Hope was a big theme in the last book, and it was pushed even more obviously to the forefront of this novel. The difference between hope in this book and hope in the last is that it is challenged further in Torch. Elias likes to remind Laia that there is hope in life, but they are in constant danger of dying; Hel is chasing them (very successfully, I might add), Keris Veturia has done her best to make sure her plot works out, and they’re trying to break into a prison that is essentially a known death camp for Scholars.
If I’m not mistaken, Book 3 is not confirmed? But it should be. I don’t know that I could live without it.
- 4/5 stars
- Some pacing problems and character digression
- Loving my Masked characters
- Check out the Mask Sabaa drew in my book!