Review: A Reaper At The Gates by Sabaa Tahir

A Reaper At The Gates (An Ember In The Ashes #3) 
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: June 12, 2018
Pages: 464
Format: Hardcover/Own

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.

Review: Oh my god. This book has given me all the feels and then some. Just so many heartbreaking, soul shattering scenes in this book. And so many mind blowing secrets come out. I'm just so out of it after reading this. It really took its toll on me. But I'll try to review it without giving too many spoilers. 

Helene. I absolutely loved her in this book. I know I wasn't too keen on her in the past books but I genuinely grew to like her in this book. I really felt her pain and sorrow. She tries so hard to do her duty as Blood Shrike, trying to keep the empire together and protect it from the Commandants plans while also trying to keep her sister, the empress, safe from the Commandant and Marcus. She really shows her strength in this book. She tries so incredibly hard to use her skills and power as Blood Shrike to sway people away from the Commandant and to thwart all the plans and actions shes laid out against the Empire. I loved seeing how hard Helene was trying to fight for and save her people. She really came into her own as Blood Shrike in this book but also keeping her humanity in tact. I hated seeing the Commandant constantly thwarting Helene's scheming against her, laying the blame on Helene and Marcus, when she was the one behind everything. Helene worked so hard against her just to still lose almost everything she cares about. Throughout this book, I came from despising Helene to really liking her character and rooting for her. I hope she can get some vengeance in some way in the next book for whats been taken from her. 

Laia. My god this girl is also put through the ringer in this book. She finally has her brother back by her side. But good grief. She has to fight so hard with him to get him to agree to work with people who could be their potential allies. He is so damn stubborn. And then he's constantly fighting with her about their mother and things she would have done, how he doesn't wanna trust anyone, how he wants to go with Laia everywhere even though he's needed elsewhere and she can take care of herself. Ugh! Darin frustrated me a bit with Laia. He seems like a good person but damn he was stubborn and over protective of his sister. And poor Laia. The heartbreaking scenes of Elias slowing becoming more distant from her. I felt so much pain for her. Its so hard to see someone you love become a shell of who they used to be. And my god. The mind blowing secret in the last fourth of the book about her mother. I was not prepared for this one one bit. However, I definitely think it played out beautifully. Laia definitely proved she was not her mother by her actions and decisions. But I do feel like she did embody her mother in some ways by proving she could be a leader like she was. And the ending. The sacrifice for Laia, and then her and Helene deciding to work together against the armies of jinn the Nightbringer is raising. I'm excited to see these two girls working together in the next book for once instead of against each other. 

Elias. Our poor poor Elias. His story in this book was just the most heartbreaking for me. He's desperately trying to hold onto his humanity while also doing his job as the Soul Catcher. And failing. He needs the magic to move ghosts on but in order to get it he has to let go of his humanity and ties to the outside pretty much. I felt so bad watching him struggle. Struggle to want to help the ghosts pass on, but still wanting to help his family and Laia and Helene. It was just so heartbreaking. I was glad he was able to help them in some ways, but so sad at what he had to give up in order to help them during the battle for Antium. I don't want this to be the end of the Elias we love and know. I so desperately hope there is something that can bring him back in the next book. I don't want to see him be like this forever. 

I'm just so broken after this book. I want to see the Commandant dead. She does not deserve to live for all she's done. I want the Nightbringer taken down. He's just a angry vengeance filled Jinn that needs to stop blaming everyone for something to happened centuries ago. I want Laia and Helene to succeed in working together and banding every one they can to fight the Jinn and the Commandant since both of their peoples have now been wronged and used. I want to know what Darin knows about his and Laia's mother. I want Elias not to be a cold, soulless Soul Catcher like he is now. There's just so many feels and so many things I need to happen in the next book. Everything can't have been for nothing for everyone. 

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