A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir is the third book in An Ember in the Ashes. In this one we pick up a few months after A Torch Against the Night.
The Empire is in danger and the Blood Shrike, Helene Aquilla, must face political strife, poison, a deranged emperor, an evil entity and threats from literally all sides. While attempting to hold back the darkness, Helene must also protect her last living family member, her sister, and this may just be the hardest task of all.
Across the Empire, Laia of Serra, will stop at nothing to take down the Nightbringer. While Laia and her brother search for ways to stop the Nightbringer, they find themselves pulled into the Scholar Rebellion and Laia is torn between helping her people and saving… the world.
And in the forest between the living and the dead is Elias, a Soul Catcher in training, who is reluctant to let go of his worldly ties and embrace his duty. But with the world of the living and the dead in the balance, does he even have a choice?
But each of our protagonists have a part to play in the greater war looming nearer with each page. Will Helene, Laia and Elias be able to keep the darkness at bay or will their actions push them closer to the brink?
Man, it felt like we were waiting for this book forever! But the wait was definitely worth it. I love how Helene, Laia and Elias’ stories are so different, with them each facing different difficulties, but that they are also tied so closely together that the actions of one affect them all. There was a real delicate balance here.
I also loved how this book ended with strong female characters uniting in ways I cannot wait to witness in the next book. The strength we find at the end, almost makes me forget that we now have to wait at least a year for the next one… almost.
My only semi-negative critique would be the relationship interactions between a few of the characters. Budding romances, unrequited love, hesitation, lust, etc. these are all staples of YA romance and a few of the interactions felt a little forced. Not all, but a few of these romantic interludes felt almost rushed or, like, I wasn’t ready for them yet. I needed more build up.
I’ve been listening to this series in audio and I’ve got to say, it is so well done. Fiona Hardingham, Katherine McEwann, Maxwell Cualfield and Steve West — literally all the best readers were part of this one.
I really enjoyed this one. It get’s 4 stars from me.
That’s all for now!