Format: Hardcover, 480 pages
Release Date: June 12, 2018
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy
The highly anticipated third book in #1 New York Times bestselling author Sabaa Tahir’s EMBER QUARTET.
Beyond the Martial Empire and within it, the threat of war looms ever larger.
Helene Aquilla, the Blood Shrike, is desperate to protect her sister’s life and the lives of everyone in the Empire. But she knows that danger lurks on all sides: Emperor Marcus, haunted by his past, grows increasingly unstable and violent, while Keris Veturia, the ruthless Commandant, capitalizes on the Emperor’s volatility to grow her own power—regardless of the carnage she leaves in her path.
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 in the hunt to bring him down, Laia faces unexpected threats from those she hoped would help 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 demands his complete surrender—even if that means abandoning the woman he loves.
A Reaper at the Gates is the third installment in author Sabaa Tahir's An Ember in the Ashes series. A Reaper at the Gates continues the story of Laia of Serra, Helene (The Blood Shrike), and Elias Veturius that left us pretty much hanging at the end of A Torch Against the Night. There is a fourth character who readers will meet right out of the gate, but since this character is familiar to readers especially after he betrayed Laia, let's just summarize what happens in this book.
Helene is intent on helping Markus kill Commandant Keris which in turn will help protect her sister Livia from being murdered by Markus. Her first step in doing that is to find Elias, who everyone believes dead, but Helene knows he's not. If she can prove he's alive that's one step in showing how incompetent Keri is. But, everything seems to be harder than she imagined, especially since Keri continues to push her narrative and her master plan by working with the Nightbringer.
Elias isn't with Laia. He is in the Waiting Place struggling to adapt to his new Soul Catcher status. While Shaeva is trying to teach him what she can, he's wanting to be back with Laia more than anything else. Elias is surrounded by not only ghosts, but also jinn who have the ability to control your mind if you allow them to. They can also exploit any weakness. Elias hasn't fully accepted his role as of yet, nor his connection with Mauth who is the source of all the world's fey powers. His connection to Laia is holding him back, which could be a bad thing since his failure could end up with the world ending.
Meanwhile, Laia is trying to do what she can to help the Scholars, tribesmen, and also stop the Nightbringer from freeing the jinn. Laia is still reeling from the betrayal that was Keenan, but she moves past her old feelings remarkably well. Though the anger of said betrayal is still there. Having broken her brother out of prison at the expense of the man she loves, Laia is now forced to live with the consequences of her journey to liberate her brother. This means living up to her own reputation as a leader and learning to make difficult choices in a difficult war.
I will say one thing. This book definitely raises the bar on the level of action and suspense. One can't help to wonder what will come next since the author tosses our favorites into so many brutal and unyielding situations, and then pushes the envelope on our emotions so we are left drained by the time we reach the end of the story. I am going to follow the leader in this review. I think Helene and Laia's POV's are much more entertaining than Elias. While Elias deals with his issues, Laia and Helene are pretty much attempting to save their worlds from being taken over by Keris, the Nightbringer, and whole slew of new possibilities which I am hoping we don't have to wait another 2 years to see the outcome.