A Torch against the Night by Sabaa Tahir, 452 pages.
An Ember in the Ashes, the first book set in Tahir's Martial Empire came out in 2015.One of the problems with reading a series of books as they come our, especially if you are an aged person, is forgetting the plot, characters, setting, etc., by the time the next book comes out. When I had first checked out this sequel back in August, I felt that I did not remember enough of Tahir's world to make reading this worthwhile. Luckily for me I found Torch in our Overdrive collection and listened to it. In the second volume, Laia, with help from Marcus, must try and rescue her brother from a more-or-less impregnable prison while being hunted by the newly installed emperor, Marcus. The story always seems to be taking a predictable path, albeit in an interestingly constructed world, when things go off the rails in clever and engaging ways. Characters die. Strange forces are seen to have been working behind the scenes. It's all very well put together and makes for a satisfying read. Fans of YA fantasy with solid characters will enjoy this series, though as I said, characters meet some violent deaths, and it's not always the characters the reader would prefer. Plus it's written by a non-white, young female author and has strong female characters (not just Laia, but the evil commandant, and the newly appointed "Blood Shrike," Helene. Who wouldn't want to be Blood Shrike?).