“A Reaper at the Gates”
An Ember in the Ashes #3
by Sabaa Tahir
Nikki’s Rating: 9 out of 10
Summary: As their world comes closer and closer to civil war, the Nightbringer is secretly pulling the strings as he continues his mission. All he needs is one more piece of the Star to release his people, the Jinn, and bring total annihilation to the world of man. As Laia scrambles to stop the Nightbringer, she gets pulled into the Resistance once more while dealing with the loss of Elias. No longer part of the land of the living, Elias is Soul Catcher now but he cannot let go of Laia. As he struggles with his new responsibilities, he is desperate to find a way to end the Nightbringer and save Laia but he is being overwhelmed by the dead. Meanwhile, Helene is caught in her own battle between the Emperor and the Commandment while trying to protect her sister and the heir to the throne.
9 Remarkable Things about Sabaa Tahir’s “A Reaper at the Gates”
(May Contain Spoilers)
1. Story Telling
Sabaa Tahir is an exceptional writer. She does a fantastic job of character development, all the characters are relatable with good and bad traits and all of them have depth with many layers. Tahir’s story is complex, there are many characters, the main plot with several subplots, and yet she is a master of weaving everything together with no confusion for the reader.
I love novels with prophecies because I get to play detective. I enjoy going back and rereading the prophecy as I continue reading the novel to see if I can figure out where things are going or if certain events fulfilled parts of the prophecy. It is all very intriguing, fun to see how things unfold, and see where I was correct or wrong on my theories.
3. World Building and Lore
Tahir has made a unique world in the An Ember in the Ashes series with the Fae, humans with powers, and the Jinn, pulled from Tahir’s own Muslim mythology.
While many fiction novels have characters with powers, Tahir provides a twist. Her characters are not simply born with powers but rather it is an unexpected side effect of interacting with at Ifrit. And on top of that, the power is usually accessed by accident by the character and then they are left with trying to figure out what exactly their power is and how to use it to their advantage.
An Ember in the Ashes series is full of some awesome well-rounded characters. Tahir also steps out of stereotypical “gender roles.” Helene is portrayed as beautiful but also as a strong, competent warrior; Elias is a deadly Mask and yet he is also compassionate and sensitive.
Just as the protagonists are seen with both good and bad qualities, so are the villains. And I appreciate that not all the villains are working together. This allows the story to be more complex, the protagonists have to focus on more than one target, and it also allows a villain to team up with the protagonists to take out another villain.
7. The Nightbringer
A compelling villain and one that I cannot condemn. With many novels, I hate the “bad guy” and yet with the Nightbringer, I am sad for him. Thinking about the pain, suffering, and loneliness he has endured is heartbreaking. Of course, I don’t want him to kill everyone in the world but I also want him to succeed in releasing his family.
8. The Unexpected
As mentioned earlier, I enjoy being a detective and a good puzzle. And all I can say is that Tahir has kept me on my toes! There have been so many twists and turns in the An Ember in the Ashes series so far that I did not see coming and I can’t wait to see what Tahir does next.
9. A Sky Beyond the Storm
Sabaa Tahir will be continuing her An Ember in the Ashes series and I’m super excited! Book 4: “A Sky Beyond the Storm” is set to release at the end of 2020.