BOOK REVIEW: A Reaper at the Gates (An Ember in the Ashes #3) by Sabaa Tahir

BOOK REVIEW: A Reaper at the Gates (An Ember in the Ashes #3) by Sabaa TahirA Reaper at the Gates (An Ember in the Ashes #3)
by Sabaa Tahir
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads


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.

Love cannot live here.

When one of your favorite authors in the world has a new book coming out, it generally becomes your whole world. You have laser focus. Books lose that quality that always seems to drag you in. You obsess and rant and annoy so many people, yet you just could care less-until the day comes and you finally have it in your hands and you can’t devour it quick enough. This is that book.

I just so happened to be one of those lucky Bloggers/Bookstagrammers that was a part of the Ember Re-Read tour, and with that came a wonderful perk-I got my beloved Elias book early. That’s right-I finished this book DAYS AGO. Like-before release. It was absolutely wonderful to not worry about spoilers and rabid fangirls (ahem…okay, shut up) ruining any moment of this for me. It was pure solitude and bliss.

“It…It hurts.”

Often when we finally get that book we so crave, it turns out to be a total stinker. Well, I can assure you, this is not the case, here. In fact, I absolutely ADORED IT. It’s been so hard for me lately because I feel as if I’m just so harsh on so many books. I really haven’t connected with too many stories because I just have found SO. MANY. AMAZING. BOOKS this past year that it’s hard for me to be wooed.

I wonder what he has become in the months we’ve been apart. Has he changed? Is he eating? Taking care of himself? Skies, I hope he has not grown a beard. I hated his beard.

I can even say that about an all time favorite series, The Red Queen. It just…somewhere along the way, this author lost me. Don’t get me wrong-there was a LOT to love about War Storm. But in King’s Cage, when she did some of the things she did….it just didn’t keep my interest. She hurt me in ways I can’t explain-Cal is my DARLING and I just think it was a case of trying to make so many female characters strong, that she almost backpedaled and made some of the more solid moments of the series all for not-just to prove ‘I female. I strong.’ I get it. We get it. But when a series can stand on it’s own two feet, can let the events and the perils and the companionship and mistakes mean something more-now that’s what I come for. These moments can be made into something amazing. Something HUGE. And you’re probably wondering why I’m prattling on about a totally different series-There’s a point, here.

Not often am I SO MAD AND LIVID AND ANGRY at an MC…just to forgive them. I don’t do this. I stay mad and angry and livid and what-have-you. But, somehow, Sabaa made Laia someone I adore. I loved her in book one, wanted to stab her [after what she did] in book two, and wanted to hug her in book three. Though, I transferred that hate to another female, but that’s okay. I’m always hating on someone 😉.

She made a strong, reliable girl that would do anything to save her people. To help them. TO SAVE THOSE GD children [that Sabaa clearly wants to maim and torture repeatedly-Lord help me]-even at the cost of her own life. I don’t know-I really don’t forgive easily. But here? I really did forgive Laia. And the Nightbringer…is it weird I really like him, too, now? Yes, crazy, I know. I’m crazy.

But even knowing what the Masks would have done, I do not wish to kill. I do not wish to belong to this world of blood and violence and vengeance. I do not wish to be a Mask.

My point with all that, though, is that even though there is SO MUCH GOING ON and so many characters and so much sadness (I cried so many times-and I rarely cry about books)….Sabaa makes each and every character SHINE. For example? Where my other boy was brought down to an almost sad loser (I still love him, don’t be fooled) by the author’s hand, Sabaa makes Elias an even stronger character-Laia is strong. Elias is strong. Yet-they hurt. They hurt. It hurts. Ugh-you’ll

I’ll go to them as Mask Veturius, dread Martial, soldier of the Empire. I’ll go to them as the estranged, murderous son of the Bitch of Blackcliff, as the monster who killed his friends and assassinated the Empire’s enemies as a child and who watched stonily as Yearlings were whipped to death before his eyes.
This time, I will not ask the jinn for help.
I will take it.

There wasn’t filler and nothing was unnecessary. OH!!! And I forgot about Helene!! MY GOD THAT GIRL GOES THROUGH SO MUCH IN THIS BOOK. I’m telling you-this book is all pain, I swear. Yet-She remains strong. She doesn’t forget her roots and she does everything in her power to save her people.

“Don’t you belittle me. I am the daughter of the Lioness. I destroyed Blackcliff. I saved the life of Elias Veturius. I survived Commandment Keris Veturia. I survived the betrayals of the Resistance and the Nightbringer. I crossed the Empire and broke into Kauf Prison. I rescued my brother and hundreds of other Scholars. I am not nothing.”

There is literally so much loyalty here. No bashing because someone made a choice-chose a different path-went their own way. These people have sacrificed everything-lost friends. Family. Loved ones. True loves. All for the greater good-all for those they love and can save. All the faults I felt in book two…they faded to ash. Yes, this book was heavy. Yes, there is a LOT of sadness. And yes, I wanted/needed/craved more Elias and Laia moments-but they were there. They were bittersweet, beautiful, and heart-wrenching. Their scenes meant something.

“You are cruel, Elias,” she whispers against my mouth. “To give a girl all she desires only to tear it away.”

I guess it’s time I say why this series means so much to me-Elias. I mean, is it any surprise, what with all my Elias appreciation posts and whatnot? Never has there been a more selfless hero. No, I’m not kidding. I think the closest thing that comes to mind is Peeta-TOTALLY different guy, situation, scenario, but he’d give it all up just for her. Both of them. Elias could ruin everything in one moment-for the whole world as he knows it-but he can’t give himself up completely if it means Laia will be hurt.

She looks like I feel: broken. I need to let her go. Fight the Nightbringer, I should say. Win. Find joy. Remember me. For why should she come back here? Her future is in the world of the living.

My heart. I just…CAN’T. He faces so many obstacles in this book I can’t describe or talk about, but just know that heavy is the head that wears the crown-and this applies so many different places. And can we just talk about how bad everything went for EVERYONE in this story?

The first time I killed, I was eleven. I saw my enemy’s face for days after he was gone. I heard his voice. And then I killed again. And again. And again. And again. Too soon, I stopped seeing their faces. I stopped wondering what their names were, or who they left behind. I killed because I was ordered to, and then, once free of Blackcliff, I killed because I had to, to stay alive.

It was one thing after another after another. I could hardly keep up with the pain and destruction. But I have to say-Helene’s, while her storyline has always been a favorite of mine, storyline became a LOT more interesting and, obviously, like everything else in this story, infinitely more heartbreaking.

“…One day soon, you will be tested, child. All that you cherish will burn. You will have no friends that day. No allies. No comrades in arms. On that day, your trust in me will be your only weapon.”

My one complaint: The Children. Why the children, Sabaa?? I couldn’t reconcile with this in my head. It made me ill and even days later my heart is heavy. It’s fair to say I’m more sensitive because I now have a nugget of my own, but at least two instances in this story hurt me-one broke my soul. I started blubbering to myself and my husband just stared at me like I was crazy. I don’t know if this warrants a lower rating or not, but I think have to deduct half a star because…wwwwWHHHHYYYyyyyy. You authors. You’re so mean lol.

I know I can die as Soul Catcher. But by the skies, I won’t die by the hand of a ghost-possessed Tribesman choking the life out of me while gibbering in my ear.

All in all, this book pretty much owns my soul-as does this series and this author (I CANNOT WAIT TO SEE YOU ON THE 20th WOOT!). I bet you’re surprised I didn’t fangirl about my boy more. Well-when all you do is fangirl about said boy for 6 months, you pretty much have room to gush about other things when the time comes. Y’all know he’s my husband. And you also know I would do ANTYHING to get more of him. For once, I’m not angry at an author for prolonging a series. Too often we see authors drag out a series that has no business going past 2/3 books (ahem, see above). But here? I see it. It wasn’t too much. Bad *stuff* had to happen…and here we are. Do I think it will all end okay? For some, yes. I think the world will be fine, in the end. Do I worry for Elias and Laia or just either of them separately, not as a couple? Yes. Yes I do. I don’t know what their end game is-Will Elias be okay? Will LAIA be okay? Who knows. What I doknow is that there are many heroic characters to root for here, not just the main two. And that? That’s something to celebrate, all by itself.

But again I imploringly ask: Why all the children, Sabaa? Why?? UGHHH.


How could you, Sabaa

The tears. They burn. It hurts. It hurts *finger pointy emoji*



Brag much?!

Reaper pics

Reaper pics

Did I mention I love Penguin Teen? And that Sabaa and I are besties?…..Didn’t think so 😛

Dearest Sabaa,

Let’s have a chat, you and I.

Upon the release of your Elias quote earlier this week for an A Reaper at the Gates preview, it has come to my attention that you intend to cause my main man grief-GOOD. The better for an epic love story.

“All things have a price, Elias Veturius. The price of saving her will haunt you for all your days. Will you pay it?”

However. We both know you don’t really want to hurt him, now do you? That’s what I thought.

We’re both rational book [boyfriend] loving gals who could kick it around town whilst singing the praises of all our favorite men and the peril they go through to save their true loves.

Because that’s all it is, right? A story? You’d never actually hurt my baby Elias (my book husband (among many, but this is neither here nor there), thank you)-it’s all for the beauty of the story and the theatrics of it all.

So we’ll continue to have these wholly fictional chats over drinks, over nights out on the town, over coffee (or, in my case, Mountain Dew)…

But if you so much as hurt a hair on my Elias’s precious little head (more so than you already have), our alliance is severed and I cut all ties to our fictional friendship.

I’m sorry, but rules are rules, and you can’t double cross a friend after you [fictionally] promised to keep a character safe. You can’t double cross on the safety of a loved one.

So-Here’s hoping you choose to do the SMART thing. The RATIONAL thing. Don’t make me abduct you for ransom. I don’t want to have to do this-you don’t want me to have to do that, do you? Of course you don’t. Do you want me to cry?

Of course not.


Chelsea-Forever your biggest fan
AKA Psycho BBF Girl Who Will Go To Drastic Measures To Ensure Her Boys Survive

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  1. T.H. Hernandez

    Great review!!! Also super jealous of your relationship with Sabaa.
    T.H. Hernandez recently posted…Cover Reveals – BEGIN WITH YOU and BACK TO YOU (Chaotic Love Duet) by Claudia BurgoaMy Profile

    • Chelsea (Peril Please)

      Hahah it’s fictional…..but I LOVE IT!! Lol I do need to get my butt in gear and write up my post about my book signings this year but alas, I am too lazy lol


  2. Sophie

    Hahaha you made me laugh Chelsea!!! I am still waiting for my copy (delayed) to be delivered!!! Fantastic review.
    Sophie recently posted…Interview of a Very Dear Blogger Friend: Meet Ramona, international blogger!My Profile

    • Chelsea (Peril Please)

      Haha at least someone finds me funny!!!! Lol And that’s a travesty, truly, you had to wait on your copy! Did you end up loving it??

      Thanks so much!

  3. Raven @ Dreamy Addictions

    I haven’t read the second book yet so I skipped reading the review but basing on the gif’s, It looks like it took a emotional toll on you. I really need to get get back to this series soon.

    • Chelsea (Peril Please)

      Haha oh yes, the GIFs tell a very candid story! I hope you can get back into it! 🙂

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