A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

SynopsisBeyond 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: This is the 3rd book in Sabaa's fantasy series, If you're reading this review, you likely have a slight idea of what the world is about. We get to dive more into each of the characters in this book which is something Sabaa does very well. With each book, even though the characters are the same, we get new layers to them and we get to see their motivations in new ways. I've seen some people talk about Helene Aquilla's character and how they hate seeing people sympathize with her because of her ties to colonialism. That's completely fair. Helene is still doing what she has to do for the Empire. That being said, we do get to see her develop slightly different motivations for making her decisions. I think she is a fascinating character and I want to see how her story turns out. Same with Laia and Elias. They both began this series with very strict motivations but, as their story developed, so have their motivations.

I will say there were some parts of this story that felt like they dragged a bit. Particularly with Laia which was a pity. Her story also felt predictable towards the end. I loved seeing more of the jinn world and seeing more of those characters. That is easily my favorite part of the series so far. I think Sabaa crafts a beautiful world for them to live in and I like seeing how their world influences the human world. Things with Helene and the Empire definitely take a turn in this book and I can't wait to see how everything comes together in the final book. I think the story could go a few different ways and I'm not sure which one I want the most. 

This book is full of growth in the way of the characters and the world, but it still maintains its action-packed narrative.

4 howls