There is success, I say. And there is failure. The land in between is for those too weak to live. Duty first, unto death. Blood Shrike
In the first two books, I pictured Helene Aquilla as an alabaster Goddess, a perfect statue in a Roman garden – warm in the sunshine, majestic by moonlight, basically untouchable. We know the Blood Shrike has feelings (hello unrequited love), but we also know the Empire comes first. Sabaa Tahir masterfully deconstructs a stone-cold, marble machine into a flesh and blood woman in A Reaper at the Gates. In being unmade, Helene’s icy Mask catches fire!!
I won’t bore you with the details of Elias (jk – there are no boring parts to bore you with)! I would like to describe the ex-Mask turned Soul Catcher as an indecisive, tortured man, but that would not be accurate. So what do you call a guy who NEVER puts their wants and desires before all else – hmmm – a mirage? illusion? using your imagination? Unicorn? Pegasus? figment? Elias? Yeah, the last one… For crying out loud Elias – do the WRONG thing once!!! (I might not get my mother-of-the-year award if my children read that) I do feel like Elias’s story, his real story, begins in Reaper.
I would like to tell you all the scenarios I ponder throughout the day where Laia is concerned – I won’t – except for this big one – I started picturing Laia and the Nightbringer in kind of a love story sitch (admittedly my mind stuttered over the flaming Jinn body – could cause issues so I didn’t dwell) BUT…why do I have to like the bad guy so much?! That is just one of many such mind meanders A Reaper at the Gates will pull out of you (maybe not you, but definitely me) and I hate to dump anymore on you – ok – one more. I thought if everyone Elias loves and cares for dies – then they end up in the Waiting Place, Elias doesn’t help them move on – one big, happy family… I know, I know…it would never work, plus it totally would ruin the above fantasy.
I think the top takeaway question from this third book is how did Keris turn out the way she did? What part of her story have we yet to see? Also, how amazing is it that the Commandant holds such control that even though she is the WORST sort of tyrant, she has an extraordinary ability to not just lead, but totally infiltrate the heart of the Mask’s psyche?! Specifically, Helene and Elias. Each and every dire circumstance with those two dredges up Keris’s words – her training, her absolute authority – and it would HELP! The Commandant’s mantra – the quote I chose above – saved the lives of the ones Keris wanted to destroy the most. Makes you wonder how she’d feel if she knew…
A Reaper at the Gates is an epic journey in fantasy. I hope I have convinced you that you must, MUST, read this series. If you haven’t already gotten your copy please help support my site and use the link below to get yours now!