By Sabaa Tahir
Razorbill, 2016. 452 pgs. Young Adult
Elias and Laia are on the run. The Martials hunt traitors until they are captured, dead or alive. But the pair are determined to complete their mission – to break Laia’s brother Darin out of Kauf, the maximum security prison of the Empire. Whether it is by the ruthless Commandant, the sadistic prison warden, or the bloodthirsty emperor Marcus, Elias and Laia seem to be cornered at every turn. Most heartbreaking of all is that Helene, the emperor's new Blood Shrike and a former friend, has been ordered to kill Elias. It will take worldly and otherworldly help for Laia and Elias to evade their enemies and rescue Darin before it’s too late.
After waiting to pick up AnEmber in the Ashes until earlier this summer, I didn’t have to wait long for the second installment. This book focuses on the chase and character development but it also sets up the political backdrop for the next book. Helene, with her conflicted emotions and wavering loyalties, continues to be my favorite character. There is some resolution in the love quadrangle that will satisfy readers as well as unexpected plot turns. That it ended on a cliffhanger is not one of them. There are two more books in this series, if only I didn’t have to wait a year for the next book!