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A Reaper at the Gates (An Ember in the Ashes)

Review

A Reaper at the Gates (An Ember in the Ashes)

Sabaa Tahir is a graduate of UCLA and a former editor and writer at The Washington Post. She is a music fanatic and currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family. Her debut young adult novel, AN EMBER IN THE ASHES, captured the reading community in 2015. Its sequel, A TORCH AGAINST THE NIGHT followed in 2016. The books are now available in 33 countries and almost as many different languages. After a two-year wait for readers, in June 2018 the third book of four released, A REAPER AT THE GATES. The fourth and final novel is slated for release in 2019.

"A REAPER AT THE GATES impresses with the seamless flow from book to book. Even after a two-year wait, this story is as easy to dive into as any. "

A REAPER AT THE GATES follows the characters readers know and love from the series: Laia, Elias and Helene. The stakes are even higher than they were in A TORCH AGAINST THE NIGHT, even if that did not seem to be possible. Each character is traveling down a very different path, and they do not run into each other very often. Helene, now Blood Shrike, is in quite a tight spot. Her sister is married to Emperor Marcus who detests Helene and uses her sister’s safety as blackmail for Helene to do what he says. Helene is given missions that go against Elias and her morals, but she must do them anyway. Laia is trying incredibly hard to bring down the Nightbringer all the while dealing with her relationships with Darin, Elias, and some new characters. Elias is in the most isolated position: he is training to become the Soul Catcher when Shaeva no longer can be. He is not sure the job is for him, though.

Sabaa Tahir has succeeded in creating a series where the excitement is never lost, and new enemies never cease formation. The Commandant, Nightbringer and Marcus were all very much a menace to Laia, Helene and Elias just as they had always been. With so many villains and few allies, no character ever seems or is safe. Laia and Elias have always been my favorites, but Helene grew on me in this book because she also experienced a lot of character growth. Helene's point of view ended up being my favorite, surprisingly, and I enjoyed her relationship with her friends Dex and Avitas. Because of all three main characters facing differing conundrums, readers must root for multiple sides, making the conflicts much more interesting. 

A REAPER AT THE GATES impresses with the seamless flow from book to book. Even after a two-year wait, this story is as easy to dive into as any. The characters stay true to themselves throughout. Sabaa Tahir is masterful with her alternating points of view in that she never fails to leave every character’s chapter with a cliffhanger that the reader must wait to be resolved. It is the absolute best strategy to keep readers reading. While a lot goes down in this book, it is very readable at under 500 pages. The world continues to fascinate with its Roman Empire inspiration, always approaching war and the revelations of new foes. For the first time, the main characters are not stuck in the jurisdiction of the empire; they are required to travel outside of it.

I highly recommend reading A REAPER AT THE GATES if you enjoyed AN EMBER IN THE ASHES and A TORCH AGAINST THE NIGHT as it is just as amazing. Even after a long wait for the third book, these characters are impossible to forget. The world is just as captivating as it was in the previous books. Tahir's series is not one readers will want to miss, especially with the final book coming out next year.

Reviewed by Grace P., Teen Board Member on June 26, 2018

A Reaper at the Gates (An Ember in the Ashes)
by Sabaa Tahir

  • Publication Date: June 12, 2018
  • Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult 13+
  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Razorbill
  • ISBN-10: 0448494507
  • ISBN-13: 9780448494500