A Reaper at the Gate by Sabaa Tahir | Book Review/Discussion

by - 15:26

Title: A Reaper at the Gates
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Release: 2018
Genre: YA Fantasy


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 decided not to do a proper review of A Reaper at the Gate, mainly because it is the third instalment of the Ember in the ashes quartet so I feel like a review would be pointless. It is still a review of a kind, but more discussiony, maybe a bit more spoilerish but if you haven't read it I don't think it will ruin anything. 

The first point I want to talk about is how faced paced it was! I a lot happens in quite a short time to a lot of characters. I think this stemmed from having three points of views so each storyline didn't have enough time to go into lots of detail, and sometimes it was just too rushed. I'm the kind of reader that likes some description to ground the scene, and I like a lot of time to read about my favourite characters. At some points, somthing quite significant or interesting would happen in one paragraph, and already it was moving on. I don't see how the POV could have been done any other way as there needed to be three points of views to tell all that was going on logistically, (although I did find myself wanted to race through Elias and the Blood Shrikes chapters to get to Laia's) but I would have been quite happy if the book had been bigger. After all, who wouldn't want to spend more time reading this series?

I also really hope to see more of Musa, the character who acts like Laia's (kind of) fairy godmother, in the last book. I felt he left way too early. He brought a lighter feel to the book with a lot (A LOT) of death and hurt and destruction. And whilst he definitely does not have a light past, he represents the hope for the future that Laia had almost forgotten about in her determination to destroy the Nightbringer. 

Speaking of the Nightbringer, I loved reading about his history. It seems so relevant and I can completely imagine some human going in and ruining something that didn't need to be interfered with and therefore dooming the rest of their kind when the king they destroyed comes back to utterly destroy them in return. But are we to feel sympathy towards the Nightbringer? Whilst I don't think I do because he's still done very evil things, I can understand why he is now so hateful. And he is definitely getting his revenge. I would love to know more about that world before. It's moments when reading bits like this when I wonder whether or not Sabaa Tahir already had this background planned out even from the first book. It seems so far from the Blackcliff setting of An Ember in the Ashes but looking back, it all links and makes complete sense. Authors are magic I swear. 

I did find myself wanting to throw the book in frustration a few time, but then not being able to as I had to keep reading to find out what happened next. If you haven't read this yet then prepare yourself for the number of devastating things Laia, Elias and Helene have to go through. If you have read this, are you hanging in there? Or trying not to go and cry in a corner like I am... I had a lot of moments when I wanted to ask Sabaa Tahir how she could be so cruel and wondered if there could be another way but nope. The characters were to be destroyed one way or another. Hopefully the next book everything resolves itself with lots of sunshine and rainbows with a nice pink bow on top, leaving everyone happy and perfect. Yeah, probably not but a girl can hope!

That's pretty much all I have to say, what were your thoughts? 


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