A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

*WILL MOST LIKELY CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST TWO BOOKS IN THE AN EMBER IN THE ASHES SERIES*

RATG

The highly anticipated third book in Sabaa Tahir’s New York Times bestselling EMBER QUARTET.

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.

(via Goodreads)

I don’t really know where to start. This book was amazing, of course, as I knew it would be. It wasn’t 100% perfect, but is that even possible?

I’ll just get the negative out of the way first: I was a little confused at times. It’s been a thing throughout the series; the magic system isn’t exactly explained in simple terms, but I don’t mind it too much. With Reaper, I had a bit of a struggle remembering what happened in A Torch Against the Night (and there was a ton that happened in that one), so a lot of the confusion was me not remembering. I would have liked a little more summary of the previous book (summarizing previous books in a series usually bothers me, but for a series with release dates so far apart, I think it’s a little bit necessary); I think it would have generally just been helpful even to just have a synopsis of the first two books like some series have done. Of course, I could have just reread A Torch Against the Night, but it still just makes a lot more sense to put a little summary in there because not everyone likes to reread.

Anyway…

I was super surprised by this installment. I will say I wasn’t quite as emotionally destroyed as I expected (which I guess is a good thing), but I absolutely loved it.

What surprised me the most was that Helene’s point of view chapters were my favorite. I remember not liking her parts as much previously, but this time around I almost wanted to skip ahead to keep reading her side of the story. I’ve been wanting all the political intrigue lately and I definitely got it here. It was very well done.

I didn’t particularly like Helene before this book, but now I absolutely love her as a character. She’s extremely interesting and complex and just so completely human. I also really loved seeing her interactions with her sister. The whole Livia-Marcus-Helene ordeal, while being horrible, is well done and plays in well with the grand scheme of things.

Laia was…not my favorite? Like I love her, but she just kinda got pushed to the wayside a little, I think. I didn’t like reading her chapters as much in this book and just generally felt less important. I know that she is very crucial to the story but it just didn’t quite feel that way.

Elias is my child. I always, always have that one character that I just feel super protective of and he is the one in this series. So…It was his part of this book that kinda tore me apart. No spoilers but it’s really bad.

That’s all I’m going to say about him.

Avitas Harper is honestly one of my favorite characters. I just can’t help but love him; he’s got the sassy, sarcastic, Carswell Thorne vibe and I kinda really love it.

I still hate Keris Veturia and I doubt that will ever change.

Characters are so important to me and Sabaa did a great job again. Like I said, Laia wasn’t as good as she has been, but everyone else was amazing.

I can’t say much about the plot without spoilers, but it was full of all the political intrigue and power-hungry people and just general wartime things that all make up an amazing story.

The romance has definitely sorted itself out since book one. Book one’s romance was a little all over the place but it ended up redeeming itself. We also get another couple in Reaper and I’m shipping it very, very hard.

I’m rating this 4 stars. It was a solid third installment, certainly, but I did have some issues.

I definitely recommend this series if you’re a fan of fantasy (I will warn you that it’s very brutal) and political intrigue.

Have you read A Reaper at the Gates? What did you think?

-Clara

 

 

Lady Gwen is Out!

Hey you guys!

I know this is just a little bit sudden and I probably should have done an update a while ago, but….

Lady Gwen is now available! 

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Ravenoth is destroying everything Gwen loves. She must be stopped. Finding Rose is the only answer, yet they have no idea where to start. After an attempt on Gwen’s life, events begin to spiral, causing Gwen more grief than she could ever imagine. She must fight harder than ever to hold onto Ignatius and her children and sabotage the evil faerie’s plans before it’s too late.

As you all know, this has been a very long process and I know so many of you have been waiting almost two years for this book. I am so excited for you to read it and I hope you enjoy it as much as book one!

At the moment, only a paperback is available, but the ebook is coming for those of you that prefer a Kindle. It’s currently in Amazon’s review process and should be available on Amazon withing 72 hours at most, probably less.

If you’re new here, Lady Gwen is the sequel to Captain Guineverewhich I released in November 2016. Writing the sequel has been a lot harder than I expected but I’ve definitely learned a lot.

Buy Lady Gwen: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1724033271/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1539702633&sr=8-1&keywords=lady+gwen+clara+bennet

Buy Captain Guinevere: https://www.amazon.com/Captain-Guinevere-Gwendolyn-Trilogy-1/dp/1539710408/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1539702885&sr=1-1

Thank you all so much for your support and patience. I love you guys!

-Clara

French Music + My Favorites

If you’ve been here long, you probably know I listen to French-language music. I love it. It’s been extremely beneficial to me, and I wanted to post a little about it.

I started learning French when I was twelve, and my mom told me for a few months that I should find some of the music and listen to it, but I didn’t until I accidentally discovered a musical called La Legende du Roi ArthurOne thing led to another- I found artists I loved and more musicals, and my French got so much better because of it. I’ve since been known to speak French in my sleep and dream in it (I had a French dream just a couple of days ago, actually, but I don’t remember too much of it).

No matter what language you may be learning, listening to music in that language will help you so much.

With that being said, I want to share my favorite music with you all. I’ll start with musicals and then the non-musical stuff. It’s in no particular order aside from that; I can’t pick absolute favorites!

La Legende du Roi Arthur

My first favorite, to the extent of paying $20 for the CD.

 

Mozart l’Opera Rock

Based on the life of Mozart. I’ve seen this one far too many times.

 

1789, Les Amants de la Bastille

For fans of A Tale of Two Cities. 

 

Les Trois Mousquetaires

I haven’t been able to watch this one yet as it’s not on YouTube but the music just makes me happy.

 

Onto artists, many of which I discovered because they were in the aforementioned musicals.

Charlie Boisseau

He played Lancelot in LLDRA and his voice is so uniquely beautiful.

Florent Mothe

Arthur in LLDRA and Antonio Salieri in Mozart. He has an interesting style that I just love.

Zaho

Morgane in LLDRA, and what a good villain she played. She’s on the R&B side of things and also has a cool voice.

Coeur de Pirate

She’s Canadian and sings in both French and English. I put her on when I’m in the mood for music that’s more chill; she just has one of those voices. Her first album is mostly acoustic, too, and I believe she plays her own piano in her songs.

Louane

I found out about Louane in a travel magazine and I completely love her music.

 

There you have it!

What music do you listen to?
-Clara

I know I haven’t blogged about books in a while but I haven’t been reading all that much…. I’m currently almost 200 pages into A Reaper at the Gates which I may or may not review depending on how emotional it makes me. 

I Played with Makeup for Almost 2 Hours, and This is What Happened

Every so often I spend an evening playing with makeup. I love doing it- it gives me a chance to do the crazier stuff.

I certainly went crazy this time.

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It’s definitely a Halloween look. Maybe for a mermaid or fairy costume. I was kinda sorta going for a fairy, but the blue made it a mermaid. Regardless, I’m quite pleased with it. I think some false lashes could make it better, but I don’t have any at the moment.

If you’d like to know how I did this, I can do my best to post a tutorial (I’m not sure I remember exactly what I did)- just let me know in the comments!

-Clara