Jun 17, 2018

Review--A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

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.

After what was almost a two year wait I finally, finally read Sabaa Tahir's A Reaper at the Gates that continues the story of Laia, Helene, and Elias that left us pretty much hanging at the end of A Torch Against the Night! The wait was well worth it indeed, though sadly, even with recaps and my own notes, I still couldn't quite remember everything. But that's a problem I've become use to, lol!

Helene is intent on helping Markus kill Keris, for she wants to protect her sister, Livia more than anything. From both Keris and Livia's own husband, Markus. But it doesn't simply due to murder Keris, she has to get the people who support her to see her for what she truly is. 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.

Elias is struggling to adapt to his new Soul Catcher status, Shaeva is trying to teach him what she can, but he's wanting to be back with Laia more than anything else. Meanwhile we have Laia trying to do what she can to help the Scholars 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.

I'll admit that things were pretty intense and slightly chaotic in this one. It took me a good couple of days to read it and throughout I was doing what I could to remember the past book which honestly, I need to work on not doing. There's no time for re-reading anymore, especially books of this length and quality. But as I was reading I was still able to follow the story along well enough, it's just trying to remember people other than our three narrators that made things slightly difficult.

I think the one thing that upset me about this book was the fact that our main characters had very little interaction with each other this time around. There were moments here and there when two of them were together in some way. But I miss that togetherness that Elias and Laia had in the previous two. Yes, they weren't always together back then but there were still enough moments of them being there together that helped keep me engage. This time it almost felt like we were reading three different stories going on with each of the characters because of that lack of interaction. I'm not saying that I didn't enjoy the book, because I did! I really, really liked this one, I just wish the characters could've been together more. I have a feeling though that might happen in the next and final book, so I am eager for that one to release! Hopefully the wait for that one won't be as long.

Since the characters weren't together all that much, there wasn't much time for romance. Happily though, I will say there are a few stolen kisses in a place or two in the novel. I've become a sap now. I need to have just a little, tiny bit of romance in my novels now. I can't help it. It's become a sickness! Lol! It was sad that there weren't more, but there were some, so that's better than none I suppose. My heart aches for Laia and Elias' situation though.

I feel like in this one, our three favorites all undergo a transformation of sorts. They all change, whether it will be for the better or not will remain to be seen in the next book. I feel like we're at a good place for 2/3 the characters, the third remains unclear and heart-wrenching because of it.

The pacing was spot on in this one! There's a great deal of buildup and delivery to the events that are happening. It's hard to really get into detail about it because I don't want to lean towards spoiler territory, but I can say that the characters moved forward quite a bit. Of course there were the obstacles that were constantly tossing them back, but it made for great storytelling. 

There were some surprises along the way with this one as well. There was one that I can't say if I saw coming or not. It's possible. I think it was even thought upon at one point but it's been so long I can't remember if it's true! Lol! I'm eager to see what will happen in this final book to come! There was a great deal of action happening at the end of the novel that had me in a tailspin wondering what this will mean for the next step in the journey.

I wouldn't really say it ended with a massive cliffhanger. I've been seeing people agonizing over it and wanting the final book asap. I'm thinking it was more just for the love of the story than anything detrimental. Yes, things were happening quickly and we get a startling revelation at the end, but it's not a cliffhanger that had me screaming in agony. So that tells you while the wait for the final book will be long and painful, I won't be slowly dying and feeling as if my soul were being crushed day by day, piece by piece. Just your average agonizing wait for the next installment in a series! Lol!

A Reaper at the Gates was a read well worth the wait! It was as exciting and splendid as expected! The rich culture and exotic environment Sabaa has created is only the start of the appeal to this magnificent series! It's been quite the trip and I cannot wait to see how it will all come to an end! I can only hope that Sabaa won't crush my soul in the end! 

Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars

1 comment:

  1. Awesome review. I'm looking forward to reading this new novel in the series.


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