A Reaper at the Gates Review

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary: “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” (Goodreads).

One of my main problems with A Reaper at the Gates was my pathetic recollection of A Torch Against the Night, meaning I was extremely confused for the first portion. It ended up jogging some of my memory, but I think my enjoyment of this novel would have been higher if I reread the first two. I’ll definitely have to do that for the fourth and final book…

Anyway, aside from that, my only other issue was that this felt like a filler novel. Not a lot happened, but it happened over the course of a lot of pages. There were chapters upon chapters of Elias whining in a forest, walking in a forest, staying at a house. These were not interesting chapters and they basically ruined my enjoyment of my favorite character. That being said, the parts about Laia and Helene nearly made up for it (nearly meaning this is why it has four stars only not five). Lana’s pieces were fascinating and a reminder of why I love her so much, but I think Helene’s were the most interesting part of the book. I have had a love-hate relationship with Helene since she was introduced, but she’s a really, really well-written character because of her morally-grayness. She’s definitely not a good character, but we can’t call her pure evil either. (I also have a soft-spot for the men she works with. I can’t remember their names because I’m a terrible reviewer, but I love them so much!!!)

If you’re on the fence about picking up A Reaper at the Gates, consider reading it just for Helene’s character development. I’m so excited to see where she goes in the next installment. Despite her many flaws and how problematic she is, she’s becoming a favorite character of mine.

While this definitely lacked in plot, I can see why it was important because a lot of the stuff in it will lead to things in the next book, the finale. I can’t say I enjoyed all of it, because I was definitely bored at times, but I can say that the fourth book will most certainly be better. I think I can look past this book and see how amazing the other three were.

Anyway, in general, I highly recommend this series. It has kick-butt characters, a fabulous diverse cast, and wonderful writing.

-Book Hugger

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