A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

Rate: 4/5

Medium: Audiobook

Overview (No Spoilers): I’ve been eagerly anticipating A Reaper at the Gates ever since finishing A Torch Against the Night, even placing the title high on my 2018 list of projected book releases. Whenever a book I’m looking forward to approaches its release date I usually look up the author’s book tour destinations with the hope that one come to mid Michigan.  I reached out to one of my friends, Megan when I found out Tahir would be making a stop near her house in Phoenix. Megan had picked up this series based on my recommendation and is arguably a bigger fan than me. Well fast forward a few weeks later and Megan enjoyed Tahir’s event, even getting a signed copy of A Reaper at the Gates for me.  When talking about the event with her I was surprised to find out that the An Ember in the Ashes was not a trilogy as I’d initially thought, but instead a series of four.  It had been so long since I’d last picked either An Ember in the Ashes or A Torch Against the Night that I needed to read a plot synopsis as a refresher before starting book three.  That being said, A Reaper at the Gates was action packed with a head spinning amount of revelations scattered throughout.  The main three POVs are familiar from the previous novels, i.e., Elias, Laia, and Helene, however there is additionally the Nightbringer as a new POV sandwiching the novel with the first and last chapters. I finishing listening to this audiobook in a little over a day, a feat that I’ve rarely accomplished in this specific medium.  Granted, it was a day full of experiments, however I couldn’t put this novel down.  I was totally absorbed for most of this story, excited where the next chapter would take me, with the exception of Elias and his attitude toward his new duties, which grew tiresome.  I won’t go into further detail here but lets say it was like seeing an impending crash from a distance, without being able to divert the terrible upcoming event.  Despite that particular frustration, the rest of the story fell neatly into place as so many mysteries presented in the other novels were unveiled.  I can’t even guess how the final book in the series will play out based on the ending of A Reaper at the Gates. Overall, the stage has been set for an edge of your seat roller coaster of a finale, in which our young protagonists must grapple with the aftermath of the events and revelations in A Reaper at the Gates.

Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):

  • First and foremost, can we please chat about Elias. We know this guy has a big heart, which has been focused upon throughout this series.  He also knows the weight of doing your duty. That is why his actions as the Soul Catcher in A Reaper at the Gates is so very frustrating.  He ignored and defied Sheava who is suppose to be training him at passing on the ghosts. If he fails and the ghosts get out then cue mass chaos and death.  Sheava couldn’t have been more clear regarding the consequences of his failure. Instead he ignores this problem until it is too late, resulting in the death of so many. Laia even further frustrates me because she selfishly asks for his help even though she also knows he has new duties and sacrifices to make.
  • I totally called in the last book that Cook was Laia’s mom. Her story is so heart breaking. She’s a survivor and we didn’t hear about her in the Waiting Place. Perhaps she’s still alive.
  • I totally didn’t see it coming that the Nightbringer would want Helene’s mask. Brilliant Tahir! One of my favorite plot twists in a long time.
  • I’m so very tired of Keris Veturia outwitting everyone! She can’t be that smart!
  • Why does the Nightbringer continue to save Laia?
  • So Cain was the Scholar King that killed and betrayed the Jinn. If he and the other Augrs are Scholars why have they allowed the persecution of their people? I tried to Google to see if other readers are as confounded as me regarding this big reveal, however I can’t find anything on the subject. Perhaps I misread this section!

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