A Reaper at the Gates (Ember Quartet, #3)

by Sabaa Tahir

4.08 of 5 stars 12 ratings • 6 reviews • 33 shelved
Book cover for A Reaper at the Gates

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A Reaper at the Gates (Ember Quartet, #3)

by Sabaa Tahir

4.08 of 5 stars 12 ratings • 6 reviews • 33 shelved

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.

  • ISBN13 9780008288754
  • Publish Date 21 May 2018
  • Publish Country GB
  • Publisher HarperCollins Publishers Inc
  • Imprint HarperCollins
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 480
  • Language English


Avatar for abookishblether

I think this review can be best summarised by the fact that I don't think I will read another book in this series, and I won't be picking up a physical edition of this book.

I can't even say I hated it, I was simply bored by everything going on and I felt like some of the big reveals felt like I'd figured them out quite a while back. In some points the naiveté and shortsightedness of Helene drove me mad. She is highly trained, yet acts with about as much thought as Laia.

The first book was great, the next two were disappointing.

Avatar for novelsandwaffles

“We are Martials, child. We are the fist. Our enemies are the wood. And we shall break them.”

I have a confession to make: my memory is about as horrible as the movie Sharknado, which was so bad it was good, if you get what I mean. I would probably forget what I ate for breakfast if it weren't for the fact that I eat the same thing every morning (spoiler: it's a plain bowl of cereal). In any case, because of my tendency to forget things, reading a newer series can sometimes present a problem – after finishing the first book, I have to wait for the release of the second and the third and so on. That's not necessarily a bad thing. The thing that is bad, however, is that I forget everything that happened in the other books by the time I get the newest installment in my hands. This is what happened to me with A Reaper at the Gates.

If I had taken the time to reread the first two books in this series, I probably would have enjoyed this book a lot more. But my TBR list is already a mile long, and who wants to waste precious reading time on a book you've already read? So, I jumped into A Reaper at the Gates cold turkey, not remembering a thing about what was going on in the story. This left me floundering around for the first half of the book, trying to recall certain characters or long-forgotten plot points. Eventually, I fell into the rhythm of Tahir's world and was able to more fully enjoy it. I had a hard time rating this book for that reason – the beginning was a low 3, but parts towards the end were in the high 4 range, so I just settled on somewhere in the middle.

A Reaper in the Gates is the third heart-racing, action-packed installment of Sabaa Tahir's An Ember in the Ashes series which follows the unfortunate lives of Laia, Elias, and Helene (AKA - The Blood Shrike). If I'm completely honest, The Blood Shrike is the best part of this entire series. She is worth five stars in and of herself. Her chapters were definitely my favorite – I didn't care as much about the viewpoints of Laia and Elias, or about their star-crossed romance. The political intrigue surrounding the Shrike and the evil Commandant is as deliciously juicy as a fresh watermelon and eclipsed everything else. The complex military machinations had my mind whirling, trying to guess what would happen next, and it reminded me a bit of The Queen's Thief series in that way.

"You used to know me, I think. But you don't know me anymore. I don't know me anymore."

Now don't get me wrong, the Blood Shrike is not an untainted hero – she has the blood of thousands on her hands. She experiences heartbreak, death, and has to make hard choices that eventually break her, then remake her. Ultimately, that's the question A Reaper in the Gates presents: how far are the main characters willing to go to get what they want? To find the answer, Tahir expertly twists us down a dark and bloody road full of high-stakes choices and terrible consequences.

"To lead, you have to do ugly things."

This book is a preamble to the darkness that will no doubt be unleashed in the fourth and final book. It was slow going to get into it – either because I couldn't recall what was going on or because the action was growing gradually – but once I did, I was held spellbound by the action, the suspense, and the expertly-crafted world-building that unfolded beneath my fingertips. Tahir has created a grisly and unforgiving universe filled with likable, but extremely flawed, characters who are, every one of them, unrelenting fighters.

Avatar for nightingalereads

There are few series that get progressively better with each book. Usually sequels stumble along the way. That is not the case with this series - from Ember to Reaper, each book has outshone the last by jaw-dropping proportions. And that’s not to say that An Ember in the Ashes was a bad first book. It was unique and well-constructed, and I knew I wanted to continue on with the story. But I was taken aback by how much I loved A Torch Against the Night, and now...A Reaper at the Gates. A Reaper at the Gates is a masterpiece, and to call it anything short of that would be an insult. Each of the perspectives was fully engaging (though I had my favorites), and we get so much plot and character growth. The reveals left me shell-shocked and the writing. Sabaa Tahir is a born writer. She puts you in every scene. You feel every emotion, witnessing every event as if you’re there. I cannot praise this book highly enough. If I wasn’t so stingy with my 5-Star ratings, this book would be first in line to get one. Just wow.

If you’re iffy about picking up or continuing on with this series, please do it. I promise you will not regret your choice.

P.S. - I know he’s the “villain”, but I absolutely love the Nightbringer.

Avatar for biblioholicbeth

Beth C. 4 of 5 stars
Damn. First - I assumed this was a trilogy. I'm pretty darn sure I was wrong. Second - SUCH a good book! The characters continue to stun, and it's safe to say that several of the events were...unexpected. At least by me. I will be VERY curious about what happens next.