BOOK REVIEW: A Sky Beyond the Storm (An Ember in the Ashes #4) by Saaba TahirA Sky Beyond the Storm (An Ember in the Ashes #4)
by Saaba Tahir
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Synopsis:

Prepare for the jaw-dropping finale of Sabaa Tahir's beloved New York Times bestselling An Ember in the Ashes fantasy series, and discover: Who will survive the storm?

Picking up just a few months after A Reaper at the Gates left off...

The long-imprisoned jinn are on the attack, wreaking bloody havoc in villages and cities alike. But for the Nightbringer, vengeance on his human foes is just the beginning.

At his side, Commandant Keris Veturia declares herself Empress, and calls for the heads of any and all who defy her rule. At the top of the list? The Blood Shrike and her remaining family.

Laia of Serra, now allied with the Blood Shrike, struggles to recover from the loss of the two people most important to her. Determined to stop the approaching apocalypse, she throws herself into the destruction of the Nightbringer. In the process, she awakens an ancient power that could lead her to victory--or to an unimaginable doom.

And deep in the Waiting Place, the Soul Catcher seeks only to forget the life--and love--he left behind. Yet doing so means ignoring the trail of murder left by the Nightbringer and his jinn. To uphold his oath and protect the human world from the supernatural, the Soul Catcher must look beyond the borders of his own land. He must take on a mission that could save--or destroy--all that he knows.

Review

“Who are you?”
“I am—I—”
 Who am I? “I am born of Keris Veturia,” I say. “Son to the Kehanni who told the Tale. Beloved to Laia of Serra. Friend to the Blood Shrike. I am brother to Avitas Harper and Shan An-Saif. Grandson to Quin Veturius. I am—”
Two words echo in my head, the last words Cain spoke to me before dying. Words that stir my blood, words that my grandfather taught me when I was a boy of six and he gave me my name. Words that were burned into me at Blackcliff.
“Always victorious.”


I have put off reviewing this for six days now. Not because I don’t know what to say, it’s that I don’t quite know how to articulate it. Every so often a book or a series comes along that changes me. I finished the final chapter of this almost a week ago now and I haven’t stopped been able to stop thinking about it since. I feel almost frantic with the need to fully express what emotions have been roiling around inside of me ever since I have finished and all I can do now it just try my best and hope that even a fraction of what I’m feeling and thinking can shine through in this review.

“How much pain exists in the world because we cannot get past what has been done to us, because we insist on inflicting pain right back?”

I read Ember as soon as it came out five years ago, really liked it and thought it was a fresh, new, raw brand of YA, and then for some reason didn’t get to the rest of the series until this year. I read/ listened (BTW the narrators are AMAZING, highly recommend) to the rest in preparation for this one in September and just devoured them. I fell in love with the cinnamon roll that is Elias, was frustrated but ultimately was impressed by Laia’s stubbornness and bravery, and wanted to tuck Helene into the recesses of my heart so that she wouldn’t be hurt by anyone or anything else. These characters and their struggles became so real to me that I still can’t think about the book without feeling a hollowness in my chest. It’s crazy. I can’t even remember the last time a book made me feel this way.

“Would that we all knew the cracked terrain of each other’s broken hearts. Perhaps then, we would not be so cruel to those who walk this lonely world with us.”

Going into this book, I was prepared to have my heart broken, I really did. What I maybe didn’t expect was the exact level of storytelling that our best Kehanni, Tahir, would provide. Many fantasy series feature a war of some kind but never have I read about one that felt so real. I truly think that Tahir did a great job of pouring real-world hurt over prejudices, racism, bigotry, etc. into this fantasy world to represent the very real and terrible things that people in our own world have been going through for centuries. These things are not fantasy. People really die in war. People’s homelands are taken away from them and destroyed. Life is not always easy or morality set in black and white for everyone.

“Emifal Firdaant,” I say to him.
“You’ve said that before.” He runs his fingers through my hair. “What does it mean?”
I cannot quite look at him when I say it. “May death claim me first.”
“Ah, no, my love.”
 He gathers me close. “You cannot go first. I could not make sense of the world if you did.”


And yet, even though these stories need to be remembered and the hurt never be forgotten, hope still needs a place to live and grow. That is what I felt at the end of this book. Even though certain characters died and thinking about them STILL MAKES ME WANT TO CRY View Spoiler »  I finished this book, this series feeling incredibly hopeful.

“I wish I could live a thousand lives so I could fall in love with you a thousand times. . .”

I can tell you with 100% certainty that these books and these characters will stick with me in my heart and soul until I die. While this isn’t a light and fluffy series that can be re-read at any time during any mood, I know that I will be revisiting them for years to come. I really hope more and more people discover these books and you had better believe that once I start being able to see library patrons face-to-face again that I will be shoving this series at anyone who asks for a fantasy recommendation.

The chant dissolves into a roar. Within it, I hear my father’s voice and my mother’s. I hear Hannah’s and View Spoiler ». Loyal, they whisper, to the end.

Here’s a few spoiler thoughts under the tag for those of you interested:

View Spoiler »

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