Book Review: A Reaper At The Gates by Sabaa Tahir

Book: A Reaper At The Gates by Sabaa Tahir

Published June 2018 by Razorbill|464 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: An Ember In The Ashes #3

Genre: YA Fantasy

The highly anticipated third book in Sabaa Tahir’s New York Times bestselling EMBER QUARTET.

Beyond the Empire and within it, the threat of war looms ever larger.

The Blood Shrike, Helene Aquilla, is assailed on all sides. Emperor Marcus, haunted by his past, grows increasingly unstable, while the Commandant capitalizes on his madness to bolster her own power. As Helene searches for a way to hold back the approaching darkness, her sister’s life and the lives of all those in the Empire hang in the balance.

Far to the east, Laia of Serra knows the fate of the world lies not in the machinations of the Martial court, but in stopping the Nightbringer. But while hunting for a way to bring him down, Laia faces unexpected threats from those she hoped would aid her, and is drawn into a battle she never thought she’d have to fight.

And in the land between the living and the dead, Elias Veturius has given up his freedom to serve as Soul Catcher. But in doing so, he has vowed himself to an ancient power that will stop at nothing to ensure Elias’s devotion–even at the cost of his humanity.

I’ve really liked this series, so I was really excited to pick this book up!  I liked it a lot, and I’m curious to see where things are headed, especially since we’re closing in on the last book.

We have a few different narrators in this book, and I actually like it because you see what’s going on in the Empire.  With Helene, Laia, Elias, and even the Nightbringer, you see how much things are affecting everyone, and what everyone is up against.

I think I liked Helene’s chapters the most- I don’t know why, but her chapters seemed to get me more interested in what was going on.  At this point, I could care less about Elias, which is a little disappointing, because the whole Soul Catcher thing could have been a lot more interesting.  And I really liked seeing his side of things, which also made it disappointing.  I didn’t particularly for Laia’s story, which has been the case for pretty much the entire series, but there were some…interesting developments in her story that was a little bit of too little too late.  I am kicking myself for not seeing it before, and I feel like I should have.  It took me for surprise but it was a good surprise.  I still can’t believe I didn’t put it together, but it sort of makes sense now.

It is interesting because I felt like in this book, it really became Helene’s story.  The three characters have their own journey, but this book felt like it was more about Helene than Elias or Laia.  Her story felt like the strongest of the three we see, and I really want more of her story in the next one.  Just…the whole thing with her family and Marcus…I desperately want to know how that’s going to turn, especially with her sister.  Is it just me, or did her sister seem more calculating in this book?  I feel like there’s more to what’s going on than what we saw.

This book is probably my least favorite so far.  I don’t know if I’m feeling burnt out on series a little bit, or if it’s me.  I have been in a weird mood for the last month or so, so it could be that.  Either way, I did like it, just not as much as I thought.  It seemed slower, but maybe we’re just building up to the next (and last) book.

3 stars.  Helene’s story was really strong, and easily my favorite chapters of this book.  I didn’t particularly care for Laia or Elias, but I am curious to see how everything gets wrapped up.


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