Books by Muslim Authors, Diverse Books, Muslim Shelf Space, YA Books

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir – Book Review

I adore this series so much and Reaper was absolutely amazing and I absolutely need Sky asap!

You can read my review of Ember here and of Torch here.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

I listened to the audiobook and I highly recommend it! The narrators are so good and engaging and I was completely hooked!

This series gets better and better with each book! The whole time I was listening I was on the edge of my seat and I just needed to listen to just one more chapter. Sabaa takes us on a wild ride in this series and honestly I had no idea what to expect when I started this. But one thing I can say with certainty is that this series does not disappoint. It is amazing and I simultaneously need the next book right now but I am also terrified to read it.

This book starts where Torch ended with Laia and Darin finally reunited and Elias has become the soul catcher because Sabaa likes to torture us and killed him in Torch. *sobs* Helene also has a point of view in this book and we see what is happening in the empire through her.

In the first two books their stories overlapped because they were all in the same place for the most part but in Reaper all three are separate and have different journeys to take. So we see their own journey and how it affects them but also how they slowly come together at the end to give us that explosive ending that left me shook.

I absolutely love Laia’s arc throughout the trilogy from being the scared young woman we meet at the beginning of Ember to the powerful leader she becomes by the end of Reaper. One of the things I loved about her was that she was afraid and she was hesitant, it made her so much more relatable. Her strength and bravery meant even more because we know that she is also terrified and despite that she does what needs to be done to save her brother and her people.

I also loved learning more about Laia’s family especially her mother and brother and I really liked the new characters we met, especially Musa. I love Darin so much and how protective he is over Laia and also how he wants her to be true to herself rather than just become a copy of their mother. We also learn a lot more about their mother and what happened to her and it’s all so tragic and it made me hate the Commandant even more.

Elias, my deadly cinnamon roll, I love him so much. He is torn between helping those he loves and doing his duty as the soul catcher. He slowly realises that he has to fully commit to being the soul catcher and that means leaving those he cares about. I was screaming by the end, like how could Sabaa do this to him after what she did to him in Torch. Please Sabaa stop hurting him.

We also learn a lot more about the Nightbringer and why he is so intent on destroying Laia and her people and it made him even more interesting and complex. But I still hate the Commandant more than him and I really need her to die a slow painful death in Sky.

Helene is an interesting character, she is motivated by her desire to protect her sister yet she does awful things to others all to protect one person. She justifies it by saying how she is just following orders and that she has to do what it takes to protect her sister yet it doesn’t justify what she does. It is not okay to continue the oppression of a whole group of people because you are following orders. I liked how Sabaa wove this into the story and that despite Helene justifying it to herself, we as readers are told clearly that it is not okay.

I highly recommend reading these books they are amazing and have such wonderful complex characters. The world is brutal and ruthless and I absolutely cannot wait to read the last book.

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