BOOK CLUB: A Reaper at the Gates

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Author: Sabaa Tahir
ISBN: 978-0-00-828875-4
RRP:  $27.99
Publication Date: 21st May 2018
Publisher: Voyager-UK
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

A Reaper at the Gates is the third book in a young adult series that I have been eagerly awaiting, for two years.  A series that is brutal and not for the fainthearted but also compelling reading.


I picked up A Reaper at the Gates yesterday and eagerly threw myself in, though with all my other commitments it was only a very short dip. I found time for only one short chapter, and that was enough to leave me wishing that I had time to go back and read the first two novels before I started.

The Ember Quartet has certainly garnered a lot of fans across the globe and the readers we have shared the first two books with through book club were fans, awaiting the third book almost as eagerly as I. I am reading it as we speak and it isn’t going to take long before I am securely hooked and struggling to resurface in my real life to get stuff done.

As with the earlier volumes A Reaper at the Gates is told from a first person perspective by a rotating cast of leads. Elias Veturius, Laia of Sierra and The Blood Shrike, Helene Aquilla. These are characters we know intimately from An Ember in the Ashes and A Torch Against the Night.

The threat of war looms larger and larger beyond the Empire and within it.

Emperor Marcus is haunted by his past and becoming more and more unstable, something that is noticed by the Commandant and used to her own ends. The Blood Shrike, Helene Aquilla, is copping it from all directions as she searches for a way to halt the approaching darkness while also protecting the lives of her sister and everyone else in the Empire.

Laia knows that fate of the world is tied up with stopping the Nightbringer but she faces unexpected battles while hunting for a way to bring down the Nightbringer.

Elias has handed over his freedom to serve as Soul Catcher and in doing so made a vow that may cost him his humanity.

A book that is fast shaping up to be an amazing read, and I can’t wait to dive back in to.

Thanks to HarperCollins 20 of our lucky Beauty and Lace Club members are going to be reading A Reaper at the Gates as well so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

A Reaper at the Gates is available now through HarperCollins, Angus and Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where good books are sold.

You can find Sabaa Tahir on her Website, Facebook and Twitter.

17 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: A Reaper at the Gates

  1. A Reaper at the Gates is quite in involved story. Its the fight of a number of characters against the troubles they have with the world or with the role they have been chosen to play.

    Elias is tasked to help the dead move on, however his ties to the living world hinders these abilities, resulting in the dead ghosts accumulating risking all. Can he learn to find the balance, to figure out where his loyalties and heart lies?

    Laia of Serra is looking to find equality for her people and fight the upcoming evil that will change the way the world as they know it exists. She fights to prevent the release of the Jin, the magical people who may wipe out the human race! Can she find the answers and represent and stir a revolution with her people?

    The Blood Shrike is torn between loyalty to her sister and to the empire. She needs to find a way to do both without the sacrifices that are obviously going to occur. She needs to protect her people and find her way forward, but so much death and deception is in front of her.

    A story that will draw you in, make you curious, make you support and hate the characters or their roles as well as wish for their triumph and survival. I was nervous going into this book, being over an inch thick, but I have to say I was rapidly engrossed and chewed through the book wanting more!!!

    Thanks for the opportunitiy

  2. To be honest I’m not a fan of fantasy or sci-fi genres, and don’t read much YA, so when I was picked I was a little bit unsure of if this book would be for me or not.

    For me I found the story a little hard to follow, but I think that is only because I don’t normally read this type of book.

    I have not read the other books before this one, but still found the book to be quite easy to follow which was great.

    Elias was a great character, I liked him and enjoyed reading about him.

    For anyone interested in fantasy YA I would highly recommend it! It was a great read.

  3. A Reaper at the Gates, by Sabaa Tahir continues the best-selling Ember in the Ashes series, and the action starts from page one.

    It felt like a long wait for this third book to come out and it took me a little while to once again piece together who all the players were, what their relationships to each other were and what the political struggles were all about. And there are struggles and battles aplenty!!

    Elias has become a Soul Catcher and is caught somewhere between the living and the dead. To protect those he loves he must choose between them and harness the magic he has acquired. His once best friend Helene Aquilla now serves the increasingly cruel and unstable Emperor Marcus as his Blood Shrike, and by the Emperor’s order hunts former friends and allies. Meanwhile Laia, still grappling with Keenan’s betrayal is trying to help the Scholars and to stop the Nightbringer. It is all quite intense!!

    There wasn’t as much interaction between Elias, Laia and Helene in this book, which did disappoint me. At times it felt like you were reading three separate stories. However A Reaper at the Gates is still an engaging and very action packed read. Cant wait to see what happens in the final book!!

  4. I have never read a book of this genre before and it was a bit like walking into the unknown but wanted to branch out and try read something new. I think it was very descriptive and written in great depth but I found it hard to get into and a little too far away from my usual thrillers, true stories and realistic dramas. I think fans of Sci fi, fantasy books would obviously be engrossed in this book. Very clever imagination and wording which I can very much appreciate but this one was really not my type of book but I did honestly give it a real hard try. Thankyou for this opportunity and will pass it on to my sci-fi loving friend after my oldest son has read it as they will love it I’m sure of that.

  5. “A Reaper At the Gates” is the third book in the “Ember” quartet, meaning there is at least one more to come. It’s a dense and layered novel, a powerful and enjoyable read – but I suspect it would be difficult for a reader who had not read previous books to fully appreciate or follow it.

    That said, I’ve read book two but not book one. This novel opens where the previous one left off, with little recapping; it took me 20 or 30 pages to feel that I’d caught up mentally with who everyone was and what they were doing.

    Helene Aquilla is the Blood Shrike, a warrior tasked to defend the Emperor and the Empire. An interestingly complex character, in this novel she seems increasingly like a good person forced to do bad things to survive. Many conflicts surround her; the Emperor seems to be descending into madness, Commandant Keris appears to be using this as an opportunity to bolster her power and potentially seize the Empire; the Paters are jostling for power; and the oppressed Scholars have formed an increasingly effective resistance.

    Seemingly in direct opposition to her is Laia. Where Helene is prominent, feted, skilled, Laia is relatively unknown, unremarked, and has limited skills. Still, she is at the centre of things, and her goals and abilities are critical to the changing world. One of these women, or perhaps both, will determine the fate of humanity.

    I really enjoyed this novel once I settled into it. The characters are beautifully complex and real. It’s a large cast, and requires some concentration to keep up with them, but it’s really rewarding to follow their lives.

    The plotting is also complex – realistic, given the number of characters involved and the high stakes – but not difficult to follow. The world building is detailed and convincing without being obtrusive, and it’s easy to lose yourself in the events.

    This is an excellent novel, part of an excellent series. I’m not sure I’d recommend it to someone who hasn’t read at least one of the earlier volumes – you’d miss a lot of layers to the story and characters – but I would definitely recommend the series as a whole.

  6. This is an intense , dark and interesting story ,an unstable Emperor and a soul catcher wow I loved it! I really got lost in this world I was sorry it came to an end. Get a coffee sit down on a rainy day and be transported

  7. A Reaper at the Gates is the third book in a quartet so their is one more book to come after this story. Having not read the first two books it was a little harder to get into the book but I will go back and read the first two now that I’ve finished this one. The story follows the three main characters Elias, the Blood Shrike and Laia on their own paths as they try to save their world. It’s an intense book suited for someone who likes a young adult fantasy and I would recommend going back to the start to understand the story properly. Thanks to HarperCollins and Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read this book.

  8. A Reaper At The Gates by Sabaa Tahir is the third book in the Ember Quartet. Having previously read the first two books, AnEmber In The Ashes and A Torch Against The Nght, I was waiting to read this highly anticipated third installment. The wait did not disappoint. Once again the story is told in the first person perspective , each chapter alternating between all the characters we have met in the previous books, Laia, Elise and Helene( The Blood Strike).
    It did take me a while to read this book as I had to go back to the previous books to refresh my memory and reconnect with the characters, their relationships and goals. I would recommend that readers of The Reaper At The gates, read the first two novels before they read this one to get a better understanding of the story line, although not obligatory.
    This is definitely a book for YA fantasy lovers and lovers of Fantasy in general. i can’t wait to read the fourth installment.
    Thank you Harper Collins and Beauty and Lace for giving me the opportunity to read and review this amazing series.

  9. When I realized that this was the third book in a series I decided to get the first two books and read them first. I loved this book!! The first two were excellent also! Looking forward to reading more from this author.

  10. I was excited to read this book as I really enjoyed the first two books in this series. I thought it was a trilogy and it wasn’t until I got towards the end that I realised there is a fourth book and now I have to wait to find out what happens!

    As it has been over a year since I finished the second book, so it took me a while to get back into it and remember what was happening. I would recommend you read this entire series rather than read this as a stand-alone book as there are lots of background knowledge needed from the first books to fully understand the story,

    I found the book a little slow to get into but I enjoyed it once I did. The book is told from the perspectives of Laia, Elias and The Blood Shrike and I enjoyed reading each of their perspectives. Their journeys do not physically overlap much in this book but they all illustrate a rich story, and we see how they think about each other too.

    I can’t write too much without giving away details but the characters will draw you back in and their decisions cause love and hate at various times. The ending was different to I was expected and leaves some wondering for the fourth book. I hope we don’t have to wait too long for the fourth and final book!

  11. Not normally a Sci Fi fan I thought I would live dangerously and choose something different. I surprisingly loved A Reaper at the Gates. Although it took my brain a bit to adjust to the story I enjoyed every page and have bought the first two to read as well. I’m looking forward the the fourth book to complete the set.

    Sabaa Tahir takes you into a detailed fantasy world that is an action packed detailed journey from three different perspectives that has you so involved it takes a bit to bring you back to reality.

  12. Thank you for the opportunity to read Reaper at the gates by Sabaa Tahir.
    I do not usually read this genre of book so I was excited to try something new.

    This book took a little while for me to get into, however I had not read the first two. Once I had got a few chapters in I throughly enjoyed the intensity of the story. I have since purchased the others and enjoyed them immensely.

    A great book to get lost in and escape into another realm!

  13. Another very interesting book! You do really need to follow through with these characters to get the full benefit and read the rest of the series, I actually did use the info at the front a lot more than I usually do as generally I prefer to read the story rather than refer to maps. I needed to remind myself of what went before, and then the dark and sometimes coldly emotive scenes burst back into life. I actually read this one quite a while ago, and enjoyed and quickly passed on to a friend who passed on to her daughter and son to read. I expect that it is quite different to read from a YA perspective, as we do tend to be over critical as an adult. Would recommend to try as something much more edgy that the usual YA. I would say read from the beginning of the series and follow through straight after and you will be hooked!

  14. Many thanks to HarperCollins and Beauty and Lace.

    Reaper at the Gates did not disappoint and there is some simply lovely prose. Laia and Elias travelling their own difficult paths, I did get bogged down from time to time, but soon was back in the fun, once I picked back up on the names. Would be great to read the series all together, I think.

    The style is good, very engaging, with the poetic phrases in what is really a hard world. Would recommend.

  15. Absolutely adored the first two books in this series, and this one did not disappoint! Seems so long since I have been drawn into the world of Elias and Laia, was so glad to be back!! I do wish I had had time to reread the first books again, but no matter, Sabaa Tahir has created another wonderful story in this series.
    Would be a little more difficult to follow if you had not read the first two books, but most importantly, if you gave not read those two books, you are really missing out!!
    It is intense, action packed and follows three story lines. Looking forward to the 4th book!
    Thank you for letting me continue to enjoy this series!

  16. Like other readers, this wasn’t my normal genre of book to read. It was a good introduction to the fantasy genre and I enjoyed the storyline that brought the story of war and family with a strong female lead.
    I was a little lost with the characters but stuck to it and was able to get a lot out of it. I am glad I moved out of my comfort zone to read this story and will try reading others in the genre in the future.

  17. I didn’t get very far into this book, only about 30 or so pages in before putting it down. Admittedly, I have not read the first two books in the series. However, I found that the characters calling each other by different names was very, very confusing, and it felt like there were way more characters in scenes than there actually were. The setting was also very confusing – I had no idea where the characters were, or what their surroundings were like.

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