A Reaper at the Gates Review

Hi Book Lovers!

I read A Reaper at the Gates the week it was released but I’m just now finding I want to discuss it out loud.


A Reaper at the Gates
By: Sabaa Tahir
Pages: 464
Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)
Genre: YA
Format: Hardcover

Book Synopsis:

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.

My Thoughts:

Maybe I’m too easily caught up in the hype of popular books, but I definitely loved the third book in this series.

Lia is becoming much more complex as a character – she finally is taking charge, facing demons, and not just simply running from all the trouble in her world but instead is facing them head on.

Helene’s story was really fascinating this book, too, with her loyalty to the Emperor and yet her true loyalty with her sister. It gave a much softer look at Helene and I appreciated knowing she isn’t like the Emperor or the COMMANDANT. Ugh – that thing.

Elias. Well, his beginning story as Soul Catcher in the last book felt like a cop out for me and I wasn’t as much of a fan of his story line. However, in this book it was heartbreaking to see what he would have to accomplish in order to become what he promised he would become in this role. Also, how it affected Lia was sad and it made me sappy-girl swoon over his adoration of her here.

The Commandant is especially annoying, vindictive, and out to get the flesh of everyone and everything. I hate her character, but I suppose that means Tahir did a good job at creating such an awful character with no remorse or positivity. Only tricks and schemes. The Nightbringer, however, I found fascinating. He wasn’t as horrendous as he’s painted out to be – it’s almost proof that everyone has some kind of backstory that has made them who they are. Now, I’m not saying I’m rooting for his character and that he’s wonderful, but, I did find I had a somewhat soft spot for him at points (though I always wondered what plot he was up to this time around when he showed up somewhere).

There is so much packed into this book: traveling, fear for one’s life, fear of who you are becoming and if it is enough, fighting and death, hope and wanting to stand up for what is right. A lot of this book is leading up to a bigger battle at the end and it is one that had my heart pumping until the last page. There is so much going on with so many different groups of people that it’s fast-paced and sometimes brutal in what is going on.

The one thing that truly saddened me in this book is the new relationship Lia forms towards the end and what happens with that relationship. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read it but the bond between these two characters felt awkward yet comforting all at once as it was forming. At the very end I kept thinking “next book will prove this situation wrong. Next book will prove this situation wrong”. I know it probably won’t but I wanted to have hope in that moment. Additionally, the final ending was very chummy and I’m curious how it will bounce into the final book where it left off.

Overall I loved this story. I enjoyed the more complex features of these characters I’ve grown to absolutely adore. I enjoyed the world and, even though it’s dark, I also loved the way this fallen apart world is coming together to battle it out for change (whether that’s good or bad I don’t know yet). I cannnnnnnooooootttt wait for the last book and I know I will end up re-reading the series when that time comes!

  • Tell me your thoughts on this book!
  • Who was your most loved character? Your least?
  • What did you think of the ending and fighting?
  • Are you excited to read the next book or have any other additional thoughts?! Please share!!!



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