Book Reviews

Review: A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

While I may not have completed the An Ember in the Ashes quartet in 2020, I did catch up – finally. Talk about being late to the party. But now I’m ready to finish this series in 2021 – hold me to it y’all! With each book, I love this series more and more. Tahir’s writing is descriptive, intriguing, and twisty. Keep reading this book review to see what I thought about A Reaper at the Gates.


Helene Aquilla, the Blood Shrike, is desperate to protect her sister’s life and the lives of everyone in the Empire. Yet danger lurks on all sides. Emperor Marcus, haunted by his past, grows increasingly unstable and violent, while Keris Veturia, the ruthless Commandant, capitalizes on the Emperor’s volatility to grow her own power—regardless of the carnage she leaves in her path.

Far to the east, Laia of Serra knows that the fate of the world lies not in the machinations of the Martial court, but in stopping the Nightbringer. During the hunt to bring him down, Laia faces unexpected threats from those she hoped would help 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. However, in doing so, he has vowed himself to an ancient power that demands his complete surrender—even if that means abandoning the woman he loves.


TW: torture

Now that I’m caught up, it’s going to be hard to wait until I can get to the finale. I finally understand the hype, the love, and enthusiasm for Tahir’s world. It’s funny because I listened to the first two on audiobook, so when I first saw people’s names I had no idea how to spell them. A Reaper at the Gates is an action packed story that builds momentum. Continuously delivering shocks and heartbreaking moments, Tahir delivers a book about duty, the promises we have made and the consequences we have wrought.

Unsurprisingly, A Reaper at the Gates is also a story about power. Cruelty and power often go hand in hand. Power can harden us. Make us become cruel, exposing edges and sharpening them. But is there a way to escape that? When we are only limited by our own will, what lines will we draw, and obey? It can become so easy to let others bear the brunt of our mistakes. To let others die for our crimes, the empire, revolution and freedom.

A Reaper at the Gates is a book of betrayal and manipulation, underhanded compliments and overhanded mutiny. I found my heart being pulled in unexpected directions throughout the book. Characters who had never attracted my love, ended up shining bright among the darkness. A Reaper at the Gates expands on all fronts like a giant chessboard. Brimming with fluid and descriptive wring, Tahir weaves a book full of powerful forces working against each other. Pushing and pulling the threads of fate and prophecy, sacrifice and love.


Action packed and glorious, A Reaper at the Gates examines how we can restore balance when it requires bloodshed. In the face of cruelty, recklessness, and sacrifice, how do we fight? Some wounds and ambitions run too deep. Some can drive us into a frenzy and madness that leaves us with a choice: to run, fight, protect, or sacrifice. What more can I really say? If you made it this far in the series, you should need no convincing about why you should continue reading. Find A Reaper at the Gates on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


What is your favorite hyped series that you think deserves the hype?

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