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Sunday, September 23, 2018

A Reaper at the Gates Review

A Reaper at the Gates

Title:  A Reaper at the Gates
Series: An Ember in the Ashes quartet, book 3
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Where to purchase: Amazon
Print Length: 464 pages
Publication Date: June 12, 2018
Publisher: Razorbill
Edition: hardcover
Genre: fantasy, young adult
BOOK LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon |  

This is not part of a book tour, I own this series.  I did also borrow the audiobook from Overdrive via my public library and listened to parts on my commute through the app.


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.

Main Characters

  1. Laia of Serra, daughter of the Lioness, leader of the Scholars
  2. Elias Veturius, former Mask, the Soul Catcher
  3. Helene Aquilla, the Blood Shrike
  4. Emperor Marcus
  5. Keris Veturius, the Commandant and Elias' mother
  6. The Nightbringer
All the characters were awesomely written with their own passions, missions, and flaws.

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Spoiler Alert: This book does not have a happy ending, for anyone. Told from 3 POVs: Laia, Helene, and Elias in different parts of the world, on their own missions, trying to save the Empire. 

Laia and her brother Darrin are together trying to stop the Nightbringer who is wreaking havoc and keeps messing with them. They go on a quest to find the final piece of the Star that the Nightbringer needs in order to further his revenge and freeing the jinn. Laia's confidence is building and her moral compass stays pretty much in check even through some VERY dark times. 

“Don’t you belittle me. I am the daughter of the Lioness. I destroyed Blackcliff. I saved the life of Elias Veturius. I survived Commandment Keris Veturia. I survived the betrayals of the Resistance and the Nightbringer. I crossed the Empire and broke into Kauf Prison. I rescued my brother and hundreds of other Scholars. I am not nothing.”

Elias is resisting his Soul Catcher training and just seems very undisciplined which causes problems. Since he was this great Mask in book 1 I don't' feel like he is growing at all in this story which is really disappointing. Becoming the Soul Catcher requires Elias letting go of the human world/living.

If I seem different, remember that I love you. No matter what happens to me.

Helene is fighting a war while trying to outwit Keris who is playing her own twisted game we never get in front of. There is so much death and Helene remains loyal, to her family, to the Emperor, to the Empire.


The Empire or the Waiting Place 


Hope. Having, loosing, and generating hope.

“Hope is stronger than fear. It is stronger than hate.”

What did I like about the book?

ALL.THE.FEELS. Hope, love, angst, anger, fear, heartache.

First off I just wanted to mention the ending had me balling like a baby. I was on my way home from work listening to Helene's willingness to sacrifice everything for her people with tears streaking down my face. So, yep, that happened. I had to stop the audiobook after the end of part IV and just feel all my emotions for an hour before I could resume.

Cook telling Laia to learn the Commandant's story, and as readers we learn more about her from different perspectives and never really know her. I like that the Commandant unapologetically stays the villain. I'd love to read a novella from her point of view. Also, Cook's backstory was another 'I-need-a-moment' part.

What did I not like about the book?

I didn't think Elias' character was as well written as all the women. I had a guess about what the prophesy would mean for The Soul Catcher and his ghost but it just didn't seem as impactful as I imagined. 

Date Started/Finished : September 11-20th 2018

Recommend? YES

If you enjoyed the first two books, definitely pick this one up too. Although, since there is SO much going on it may be better to binge read the entire series when the last book comes out.

Rating: 5/*****
based off Goodreads' ratings:  5 stars – it was amazing, highly recommend

Ember Quartet 

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