A Reaper at The Gates by Sabaa Tahir is the third book in the “Ember In The Ashes” series. Having fallen in love with the characters and story I was so excited to read this one. It’s funny because I was going to wait till April 2019 for the paperback but I just couldn’t wait any longer.
The third book continues on from “A Torch Against The Night”. Helene Aquila aka the “Blood Shrike” must find a way to prevent chaos from reaching the Empire and keep her sister safe. To the far east Laia of Serra must do what ever she can to stop the Nightbringer from bringing death and destruction, the fate of the world rests upon this! Finally Elias Ventura no longer dwells in the land of the living and instead has given u0 his right to remain human and now serves as “Soul Catcher”. However, as a result of this he is chained to an ancient power that intends to remove his devotion to the people he loves and instead focus on the dead.
It’s been a really long time since I have enjoyed a series as much as this. When I first started reading the first book I never imagined I’d love it as much as I do. The plot again is just brilliant, when it comes to tension and action packed set pieces this series has gone above and beyond. I also really liked how the recurring theme throughout the novel is love and sacrifice, how we must make decisions that may hurt us but in doing so protects those we love. Helene for example saw her whole family murdered right in front of her eyes and with only her younger sister Livia remaining she must now do whatever she can to protect her little sister. Moreover, Elias must choose to become a Soul Catcher and in doing so must sacrifice the love he has for Laia in order to maintain order in the world of the dead.
The novel is very much a character driven novel like the previous books. I really liked Laia’s arc as this time around you discover so many secrets about her mother and her family. Her attempts to stop the main villain the Nightbringer from bringing upon destruction also made fora compelling read. She has also developed considerably in this book and no longer comes across as weak. The character of Helene though again for me steals the show, I just love her character so much. Even after everything she has been through she still has the willpower to fight on. I found Elias’s arc very saddening as he struggles to come to terms with becoming Soul Catcher and inevitably having to put his love for Laia aside.
Moreover, I would say that the villains Keris “The Bitch of Backcliff” Ventura and The Nightbringer were phenomenal. In this book we finally understand how and why The Nightbringer is our for revenge against the Scholars and personally I 100% understood his decision for this. There were many times where I was behind him because I really felt for him, but then I snapped out of it because he’s the villain! But again the theme of love is paramount as he will do anything he can to free the ones he loves who have been trapped for thousands of years. Sabaa Tahir did a great job of making his lust for revenge seem genuine. Usually villains are villains for the hell of it but the Nightbringers reasoning behind it is explained very well.
Overall, Its a must read as Sabaa Tahir has created a story and a group of characters you just can’t help but become emotionally attached to. I loved how intense the novel was, every time the main protagonists had the upper hand the villains somehow pulled the “haaa bitch you thought” card out of thin air. It was frustrating but made for a great read in the process. After the ending of this book I am honestly so hyped for the 4th book I can’t wait to have my heartbroken again 😊🤣