Review: A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

A Reaper at the Gates (An Ember in the Ashes #3)
Sabaa Tahir
Published June 12, 2018

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About A Reaper at the Gates

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.

A Reaper at the Gates on Goodreads

My Review

This might be my favorite book in the series. I loved Helene’s point-of-view. Of all the characters facing all the situations, I felt the most moved by her story– especially her love for her sister and Harper.

Which isn’t to say I loved Laia and Elias any less in this book. I think one of the things I like so much about the series as a whole is how much Laia has grown. At the beginning of the first book she could barely stand in the presence of soldiers. Now she’s about to lead the rebellion against the whole empire. And I find her transformation totally believable.

I also love that this is such a female-centric story. Yes, we have Elias and the Nightbringer and some other male characters here and there. But when you stop and think about the critical story characters, so many of them are female: Laia, Helene, Cook, the Commandant. Every single one of those is an absolute force. I love it so much.

The only truly difficult thing for me in these books is the level of violence. It’s a lot. There are references to and threats of rape (not so much in this book, but in the first for sure), some scenes showing torture and graphic battle violence. So it’s definitely not for the faint of heart.

On the whole, I’ve really enjoyed the first three books in the series (see the links to my earlier reviews below.), and I’m super anxious to read the final story, A SKY BEYOND THE STORM, which is supposed to come in December of this year.

An Ember in the Ashes Series Reviews

Book One: An Ember in the Ashes

Book Two: A Torch Against the Night

A Reaper at the Gates on Amazon

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 16 up.

Laia has bronze skin and dark hair and is from an oppressed and often enslaved people called Scholars.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used very infrequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl. One scene shows two characters leading up to sex.

Violent Content – Trigger Warning
Emperor Marcus continues to abuse his wife, Helene’s sister, hurting her and threatening to hurt her if Helene doesn’t deliver the results he wants. Multiple graphic battle scenes. Scenes involving torture. A woman kills her husband and child to spare them from being tortured further.

Spiritual Content
The Nightbringer uses magic to heal or manipulate others. Another character uses magic to heal. Elias is tasked with helping ghosts pass through to another place. Some ghosts possess humans and attack others. Augers relay prophesies about certain characters. Other spirit creatures, ifrits and jinn, try to stop Laia and her allies. Another character uses spirits to spy for him.

Drug Content

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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