My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A Reaper at the Gates is the third book in the An Ember in the Ashes quartet. Despite having been away from the world for the two years between books, when Reaper started I was immediately pulled back in. I was completely engrossed in the storyline, back in love with the characters and on the edge of my seat about what was going to happen next. As this is the third book in the series, there is not much that I can explain in detail without it being a spoiler – so I will generally talk about how I felt throughout the book in regards to the characters, world, plot, and writing.
Our main characters have gone through a lot of turmoil and tumult over the course of the first two books. It is now in the third book that they have a slight chance to slow down and process all that has happened. As a result, they must deal with the consequences of their actions and grow as people. Laia, in particular, has had to deal with so much and I absolutely loved the way she shouldered that in the third book. Elias was his typical loveable and tortured self. I just wanted to save him from his fate and give him a happily ever after. Helene, on the other hand, was less likable for me in this book. She was always my third favourite of the trio, but a close third. I loved the three of them so much and she just slipped further away from them in this third book.
I really appreciated the character development and backstories that we experienced in the third book. It was nice to get some depth to some of the secondary characters, as the story is so focused on Laia, Elias, and Helene most of the time. Further details could be spoiler-y, so I’ll just say that the details we learned tugged on heartstrings and made the book even more poignant.
As with the previous two books, the world that Sabaa has built is vivid and rich. We get to experience more of the world that Sabaa created and I loved all of the detail she provided. The world is so vibrantly constructed in my mind because of her beautiful writing. Everything is ascribed details so clearly that you can see a city rise that is richly colourful, aromatic and weather-worn. Every sense is engaged by Sabaa’s writing.
I felt that the pacing of the plot was precisely what it needed to be. Sabaa balanced the action of fight scenes and drama of emotional backstories with the quiet contemplation of personal realizations. I never felt bored by the plot, nor did I feel like it raced by too quickly to comprehend. I was completely engaged and in love with this book from start to finish. This is a fantastically written series that I would highly recommend.