Okay, so did #2 measure up? Not exactly. It was still good, but not as good as the original. As I'm sure you remember(!), I just went through this with Jamie Ford's latest, Love and Other Consolation Prizes. I liked it, but I liked Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and Songs of Willow Frost better. It's really unfair because a 3.25/4 (my rating for this one and for LaOCP) is a darn good rating. It's just not a 3.75. Let me tell you why by comparing it to the 5 very positive bullet points that I listed for #1:
1. #1 had 2 main protagonists, and the chapters flipped back and forth. #2 had 3 main protagonists, which I thought was fine. I looked forward to all 3 perspectives.
2. There was a lot of suspense in #1. This one was also suspenseful. And there was a very big surprise about 3/4 of the way through. That was cool.
3. I really got into the romances and almost romances from #1. In #2, not so much.
4. This was the crusher. I only got emotional a few times. It's not that I didn't care, because I did. It's just that I wasn't as invested in the characters as I hoped to be based on my reactions in #1.
5. It was still well-written. But, for me, it just didn't flow quite as smoothly as #1.
I'm going to add a #6. And this is going to sound really dumb:
6. There was too much senseless violence.
You're probably thinking "Huh?" It's really hard to explain. Remember when I said in #1 that there was a scene so heinous that I had to stop reading for a little bit? Well, that happened a lot in this book. I never stopped reading, though, because I think I became a little inured to it. Go figure.
I want to emphasize that A Torch Against the Night is a very good book. If you read An Ember in the Ashes, then you will want to read ATAtN. Several people that I know and trust liked this one as well as the first one. It definitely could just be me. As the professor in my poli sci class said in response to a student who prefaced his comment by saying that he could be wrong, "We'll concede that possibility."