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An Ember in the Ashes #4

A ​Sky Beyond the Storm

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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.

516 pages, Paperback

First published December 1, 2020

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About the author

Sabaa Tahir

19 books31.5k followers
**My apologies if I don't respond to emails or friend requests right away! Come find me on Twitter or Instagram @sabaatahir, or on my web site: www.sabaatahir.com

Sabaa Tahir grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s 18-room motel. There, she spent her time devouring fantasy novels, raiding her brother’s comic book stash and playing guitar badly. She began writing An Ember in the Ashes while working nights as a newspaper editor. She likes thunderous indie rock, garish socks and all things nerd. Sabaa currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 7,681 reviews
Profile Image for Ashlee » libraryinthecountry.
772 reviews629 followers
January 6, 2021
Well, this is it folks. I give the Ember Quartet recognition for being one of the first series to truly get me interested in fantasy as a genre. It is a sweeping epic, told through many eyes. It is no stranger to tragedy, but is also steeped with many joys.

This story is so dear to my heart, I put off starting this final chapter until I knew I could devote myself to the story. I had a sense that it would tear at my emotions, and boy did it. But I am not sad. No, I am fulfilled and complete.

Sabaa has given us a true gem of a tale. From An Ember in the Ashes, this story grew and evolved with it’s characters. As Laia, Elias and Helene became battle hardened, shed their innocence and felt the pain of loss, this series matured and became darker with them. It truly mirrored the path they walked. But in the darkness the characters and story found small slivers of light to bask in, until they were finally able to lift the shroud of darkness cast over The Empire and reveal the gleaming star that is A Sky Beyond the Storm.

My heart is sundered over the trials and loss throughout this series, but as Laia of Serra has shown me, it’s possible to experience heartbreak and understand there is still love and good to be experienced.

Most of all, I want you to know ... I’m still going to lay in bed at night thinking of how hard I ship Helene and Harper.

But also ... Musa? 🤷🏻‍♀️😉


Original from 2018, pre-release:
Just lying here in bed, thinking about HOW HARD I SHIP HELENE AND HARPER.

🤷🏻‍♀️ 😏
Profile Image for Sabaa Tahir.
Author 19 books31.5k followers
October 6, 2020
You know, I don't usually rate my books b/c I always felt weird about it. But I am so damn proud of this book. I worked my tail off on it. And I think it's the best thing I've ever written. So this one time, I'm gonna rate a book of mine. Hopefully you guys won't mind. And hopefully you will love reading it as much as I loved writing it.
Profile Image for Sofia.
266 reviews6,174 followers
February 1, 2021
My most anticipated book of the year was a flop. The pain is greater than you can imagine.

This is the grand finale, the ultimate end, the culmination of the Ember series. Did it do its job? Yes. The series is now over. *crying* But what a terrible way to end it. Everything I liked was destroyed. And I was left with... this.

Like in Reaper, we follow three different first-person perspectives: Helene (Blood Shrike), Elias (Soul Catcher), and Laia (Laia). All I can say is... what happened to my babies??


I used to love her. So much. And now I detest her. She turned into a complete Mary Sue character and it physically pains me. She gets new powers every page. The reason I liked her was because she was just a normal girl. But now she can turn invisible (only when it's convenient, though), she's suddenly amazing at every weapon she picks up, and she has a jinn living inside her who grants her supernatural powers whenever she needs them.

And she's also ridiculously reckless. Half the plot could be cut out if Laia just listened to the people around her. Don't remind me of that one time she stopped in the middle of a battle to cry over the corpse of some random kid and almost got killed.


I can't think of her as the Blood Shrike, sorry. She's my cinnamon roll Helene Aquilla.

At the very beginning of the book, we see her interactions with Laia. And they are best friends all of a sudden. This came out of nowhere. Where's the development? They hated each other for three books. I highly doubt they're besties now.

And she kept blushing. Like, can you not? I get that Helene was infatuated with Avitas, but this is not in character for my stoic, cold as steel Blood Shrike.


I hate Elias's character arc with everything I have. In case you haven't read the series, he makes a deal with the jinn to become the Soul Catcher and transport souls to the next world by talking them through their troubles. He's basically a god-tier therapist. And he just lost everything that made me ship him and Laia. He's so angsty all of a sudden, and not in a good way. "Do I love Laia? No, I'm the Soul Catcher and must stay emotionless. But I love Laia! But... no?" It got old really fast.

And his POV parts were so boring. They were all the same. Just Elias's emotional turmoil as he cut down trees or whatever in the forest. Spare me.

The main problem, though, is that the POVs were interchangeable and indistinguishable. Sometimes I would forget whose perspective I was reading. Helene, my poor little angry cinnamon roll, felt like Laia. Elias was as moody as Laia. Laia was good with weapons like Elias and Helene.

I noticed another recurring theme throughout the book--the overwhelming number of overused YA tropes that were sprinkled in. No, not sprinkled. More like dumped.

There's the deus ex machina. What's up with this?? "All is lost--but wait, someone's there to save us!" I am tired. Very tired. And the final battle scene, which was absolute rubbish, was only resolved because Keris was killed. Killed because of... I don't want to say this. Her tRaGiC bAcKsToRy. Which was nonexistent and irrelevant in the previous three books, but suddenly appeared just because she needed to die. Don't treat my poor evil Keris like that. She was so awesome. How dare you kill her in this way?

And then there's the delay of confrontation. This is one of my least favorite tropes. Laia would stare at the Nightbringer in the middle of the carnage, and he would let her go. Just kill her or something, I dunno, I'm not an evil villain. I think.

I finished reading this a few days ago, but I'm still laughing over the sTUPID FINAL BATTLE SCENE--

Basically, a storm... eats them... *coughs* I don't know, either. I really don't know. There's some side plot with a "maelstrom" that's threatening to devour the souls? And Elias is upset because his job is dependent on the souls, and you know... I guess he wants to get his full retirement benefits? I DON'T KNOW, OKAY? And then this storm shows up in the middle of the battle, eats all of them, forces them through some speshul flashbacks, and then spits them back up. The end. Unicorns and rainbows and fluffy puppies.

There's only one major thing I liked about this book, and that's the Nightbringer and the jinn. They're forgettable as villains in general, but it was so creative how they were shown as three-dimensional people (well, not people, but you know what I mean), instead of just purely evil motivated-by-revenge type characters. The Nightbringer had a bad lot. His family was slaughtered, the jinn are suffering in captivity. But he has friends who love him, and he loves them back. *chef's kiss*

Overall, this was utterly forgettable and extremely underwhelming. I'm very angry because this terrible finale ruined my wonderful happy memories of the first three books. I'm suing.



Rest in pieces my expectations.
Review to come...


I can't believe I'm holding this in my hands


If the release date for this gets pushed back any longer, I will simply ✨pass away✨
Profile Image for Tharindu Dissanayake.
279 reviews486 followers
May 28, 2021
“Here to torment you, one last time.”

To think, this could've easily been a 5-star read, the first person present tense narrative notwithstanding. Just when I thought 'A Reaper at the Gates' made sure that everything was perfectly aligned for a solid ending... A Sky Beyond the Storm marked the nadir of the series, and I still cannot make sense of the direction the author took with this one. Had I been reading this series as the books were being released, this book would've been the disappointment of the year for me.

“Ten hells, Scholar,” the Blood Shrike says. “Can’t you swim?”

Until A Sky Beyond the Storm, despite several shortcomings, the plot kept me anchored to the series: It was interesting, fast-paced, eventful, full of twists, and often felt like an emotional roller coaster ride. There was never a dull moment. So, one would not expect it to change at the final book. Unfortunately, that's exactly what happens with this one. The main twists introduced here are not at all in harmony with rest of the series, making everything too complicated, and the result was -at least for me- one of the most unsatisfying endings I've ever come across.

“Hmm. Humans are sadly unreliable.”
“Love and hate, Laia,” Rehmat says. “They are two sides of the same coin.

It did look like everything was going well during the first half of the book, and the next quarter wasn't that bad either (may be aside from the pace being a little two slow). But in the final quarter, it went from good to terrible very quickly, and I got that numbing feeling which A Reaper at the Gates gave me with killing off of characters all over the place. It's one thing to encounter some losses towards the ending of a series, (and does wonders when used moderately) but the 'kill' dials were cranked to a maximum here. The direction the final battle took was too detached from what it had been until now in my opinion.

"I am but a moment in time that will be over all too soon."
"Your mistakes only define the rest of your life if you let them."

Since we had heard most of Nightbringer's history already, I was hoping this would dive deeper into Keris's backstory, and may be help understand her better. But it came and went in a matter of sentences, and her part in the end battle didn't make much sense either. Considering how she was portrayed from the start (more or less as a psychopath), I was really looking forward for a dramatic ending for her character, but that wasn't the case. Even when it came to the ending of Nighbringer's plot line, everything felt too complicated. And in general, most of the changes characters go through here are more suited to a first book of a series. You would expect them to become consistent enough by now, considering everything they went through.

“A commander who has tasted the bitter fruit of war is the only one worthy of waging it. For he understands the cost."
“There’s always a reason that something isn’t our fault.”

But all the criticism aside, I really loved the three POVs. If I had to rank them, I guess I'll have to go with Cain's ranking, making Helene first, Elias second, and Laia third. As the series progressed, Helene underwent the most growth (or change) in my opinion, though the eleventh hour romance of her life felt somewhat out of character. Despite the frequent changes in identity, I liked Elias's character from the start, and this book did fix some of that annoying soul catcher - Elias fluctuations. As for Laia, I liked her during the first two books, but lately it felt like she was just getting in the way. But out of the three POVs, hers was the only one to add some humor to the story, which is always nice. And the supporting characters were fantastic as well, especially Musa and Harper. What disheartens me is, most of them not receiving the satisfying ending they deserve, after everything that has happened. Even though the author did tie-off the main characters' plot-lines at the end, I wasn't much interested in the story after the final battle. If it wasn't for the characters, I would not have gone over 2-stars...

"We are, all of us, just visitors in each other’s lives."

He awaits me. For years, I have longed to see him. Let me go, brother.

It is time to come home.
Profile Image for NickReads.
461 reviews1,205 followers
Want to read
June 26, 2020
not gonna lie, the new covers are freaking awesome
Profile Image for jessica.
2,508 reviews31k followers
December 22, 2020
im so very torn with this.

the phenomenal writing, character narrative, and entire atmosphere of this book is easily worth 4+ stars. ST has grown remarkably as a writer, and, strictly from an objective storytelling point of view, this is probably the best book in the series. its very much a satisfying and appropriate conclusion to the story considering the events of the previous book.

however, ‘a reaper at the gates’ was an instant mood changer for me regarding this series. my mind still fails to grasp that the characters from books 3-4 are the same characters i fell in love with in books 1-2. and i think its mainly because the story took a direction i did not fully support/enjoy, and so my relationship with the characters changed.

so im feeling a little detached from this final installment, which is what i predicted would happen. again, this is a fantastic book and does the plot justice, but im still just personally not the biggest fan of said plot. i wanted more for my characters, but i get why everything works out the way it does. i have no doubt that lovers of the series will be very happy with this conclusion.

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Hayley ☾ (TheVillainousReader).
384 reviews1,213 followers
Want to read
December 29, 2018
I feel like I should update this because uh the rant down there no longer reflects my feels. I kind of can’t even with this series anymore. I LOVED the first book but now it’s just too much sorrow and horror. I hate Laia, I don’t like Helene, I hate where Elias is going. Everything sucks and there are no small moments of happiness or joking, or fun that convince me to push through for the light at the end. I set Reaper aside and I might not continue on. I just feel meh about it all.
By the time this comes out I'll be 26.. TWENTY SIX! And Elias will still be 20! Thanks, Sabaa Tahir for making me feel like a cradle robber..
It's okay Elias, baby, we don't have to conform to societies view on love.
Profile Image for Frank-Intergalactic Bookdragon.
528 reviews205 followers
December 23, 2020
Review December 2020
Though not a perfect book, this is a perfect ending to the series.

I've been with the series for a long time. I started it over the Summer of 2018 when Reaper came out and binged all the books as a way of coping with my Summer Teenaged Angst™.

Needless to say, I've changed a lot since then and am now an adult reading this finale (if any of you are confused by my timeline, I was sixteen when I first read Ember and I'm nineteen now). So on the one hand I see the flaws in this series more clearly and it doesn't all line up with my current taste, but on the other I feel nostalgic for it.

So was this worth the wait? Short answer: yes.

Though I have a few critiques. Like the magic system of this series makes little sense and I wish there were more rules to it, it feels like magic does whatever the plot wants. There were a few plotpoints that all though set up, felt out of the blue. I was pretty bored for a good 200 pages in the middle. And I still do not give a single frickle frackle about Laia and Elias's romance.

However, the plot is more than satisfactory. These feel like the right endings for every character arc. I can see some people will probably find the resolution anticlimactic, but I personally think it was perfect and fits the characters the best. I was especially happy with Helene's ending.

Outside of the end, this as usual has the same addictive prose as the previous books and a crapton of political intrigue. After Reaper, they're in a pretty bleak space. However, this story offers an ember of hope that builds with the tension.

And lastly, this one is the strongest in the series themewise. It mainly deals with family and loss and how do you move on from losing everything. It uses the villains especially well for these themes, adding a lot of needed depth to them, making them somewhat sympathetic even.

And with that, we say goodbye to the Ember Quartet. I will miss it, but I'm glad it got the best possible ending

Update March 2020

Oh well, at least it looks epic and probably the best cover of the series. Also we get it this year! December first!

Update December 2018

I mean I get it if Sabaa Tahir needs extra time to make it the best finale it can be, but I don't think I can survive a wait that long 😞

Prereview June 2018
Can the cover be yellow? Because then we'd have:
An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1) by Sabaa Tahir Gryffindor
A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes, #2) by Sabaa Tahir Ravenclaw
A Reaper at the Gates (An Ember in the Ashes, #3) by Sabaa Tahir Slytherin
A ​Sky Beyond the Storm (An Ember in the Ashes, #4) by Sabaa Tahir Hufflepuff
Profile Image for Beth.
674 reviews573 followers
July 26, 2022
Bleeding Skies… 5 Stars!

”It was never one. It was always three. The Blood Shrike is the first. Laia of Serra, the second And The Soul Catcher is the last. The Mother watches over them all, If one fails, they all fail. If one dies, they all die…”

I think the best way to start this is say about the previous books maybe and how I grew to love this series and how much it means to me. A few years ago my friend Fathima said to me, I think we should Buddy Read something called An Ember in the Ashes, I had no idea what it was about, I read the synopsis and was like sure, yeah okay I’ll give it a go, from there I have read the series five times, making it a new all time favourite.

Going into this, I was painfully nervous, it was my most anticipated read for the past two years. I’ve been saying what I thought was going to happen, I legit laid it all out, spoke to my friends and I was like this is how I think it’s going to end, I was wrong, in fact the whole book I was wrong because what I thought was going to happen like basic plot was just such a miss (but obviously I’m very glad).

This book keeps you on the edge the whole way throughout, it was jam-packed and not a dull moment. I have to say my heart rate was at a sky high for MULTIPLE reasons, and when I say nobody is safe, I mean nobody is safe. If you go into this thinking nothing bad is going to happen, I cannot stress this enough that it is a whirlwind of emotions. While I’m on the topic, I literally cried on and off for about 120+ pages, I cried for FOUR hours, once I started it was just none stop. The amount of times I screamed, and raged and shouted. (It was a lotttt)


“A gift from me to you…”

"I have defied him and survived him again and again. He has tried to hurt me. But I will not allow myself to be hurt. He has tried to break me but I will not be dictated to by a man so afraid to fight the jinn that he must criticise a woman to make himself feel bigger.”

Laia, I think when we look at Laia from Ember to now, it’s absolutely INSANE how much she has gone through, her journey and how her character has built up so much strength over time. When we first meet Laia she’s quite naive and she underestimates herself. I mean even now she still wavers a little bit, but she continues to defy the odds, she fights for what she wants and doesn’t give up even if it feels painfully hopeless. I loved the relationships she built up throughout the series and how people started to look up to her.

I reach for the scims gingerly, as if they will burn my palms when I touch them. Instead, they slip into my grasp like they have been waiting for me.

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

Elias will always be Elias. He cannot be The Soul Catcher, he just can’t! So… Elias Veturius, I have to say, I don’t think I’ve loved a character like him since Will Herondale so that is truly saying something here. I feel for Elias, he wanted his freedom, and because of love he ended up where he is. I think his dynamic in this book was super interesting. I’ve gone into it more in my spoiler section.

”Emifal Firdaant,” I interrupt Harper, May death claim me first.

This absolutely blows my mind when I say this, but when I first read Ember I genuinely could not stand Helene, because I actually think that Helene is probably my favourite character of the series. Helene really did go through hell and back in this series. She puts all of her faith in the Augurs and trusts what they say, but out of all of the characters Helene has had it the worst (that is saying something), she saw her whole family be murdered other than Livia, she then has to see Livia marry her family’s murderer and for him to abuse her. She is constantly belittled for being a woman and they think she doesn’t know what she’s doing. What I can say about Sky is that we see so many different sides to her, We see her vulnerable side, we see her being Auntie Shrike which I LOVED! Then we have the warrior Helene, like if I was in a fight I’d need Helene on my side because she’s such a bad ass!

”Laia of Serra. It is good to see you, my love.”

Where to begin with The Nightbringer, he’s not a villain that I absolutely despise, as The Nightbringer I found him so interesting. Learning bits and pieces about his back story was truly gripping, and I hate to say this, but you can kind of see where all of his rage has come from. I think seeing into his mind and just how loved he is makes you feel certain things for him.

”You are broken. But it is broken things that are the sharpest. The deadliest. It is broken things that are the most unexpected, and the most underestimated.”

Once again, a character I didn’t initially like was Harper, this is technically valid because he literally tormented Helene to try and gain knowledge about Elias. HOWEVER he grows on you. I think after Reaper we were all desperate for some love for our beloved Blood Shrike, and Harper was the person we wanted for her! He’s always there, always ready to help no matter what.

“You are lucky enough to love someone who loves you back. He is alive and breathing and in the same vicinity as you. By the skies, do something about it. For however long you have. For whatever time you get. Because if you don’t I swear that you’ll regret it. You’ll regret it for all your years.”

Musa is such a lovable character, when things look super dire we have his cheeky little ways, always trying to lift peoples spirits! We see a very raw moment with Musa in this, and it just made me love him even more. I think it would of been super interesting to get more of a backstory, and seeing the things he can do I was super intrigued!

“Have you forgotten that the Shrike is a woman Mettias?… Do not bore us with old prejudices. You are a better man than that.”

Seeing Livia in this was just great, I think people tend to overestimate her, but she takes zero nonsense, there was a part I was like GURL. She shows so much love and support and there are some really good moments between Livia and Helene. To see her away from Marcus’s grip and actually thriving with people it made me super happy!

”You are the strongest person here. The strongest in the camp. Stronger than me. *, the Blood Shrike, the Soul Catcher, Afya. You are the daughter of the Lioness. The Granddaughter of Nan and Pop. You are Lis’s sister and mine.”

The last person I’m going to talk about here is Darin, I can’t even explain my thoughts about Darin because he’s just that brother figure! He’s been through it, captured, tortured, freed and then starts to rebuild his life. There’s just something so pure about Darin, the way he acts with Laia, and then his relationship with Elias. Darin takes no shit, people treat him differently because he’s a Scholar and he’s just like nope, and speaks up and defends himself.

Thoughts and Feelings

I’m going to start off with some things that I think could of been involved more maybe?

My first part is, I really really wish we’d of seen Keris a bit more, we only saw her in passing. Like she is the Bitch of Blackcliff she was the person in this series that I TRULY hated, like my hate for this character was driven into my bones, and I LOOOOOOVED how much I hated her. I get that we saw her because of Helene in other books, but I just missed her because I feel like she’s such a good character.

The other thing once again… I really really missed Dex. He took SUCH a back role in this book which was kind of disappointing to see. It has been strongly suggested that he is gay throughout the books, but I don’t know, nothing was really done? It was just said/hinted at and I wish this had been more developed, because Dex has been with Helene and/or Elias since Ember, so it was a shame that he wasn’t really in it as much.

Now the things I loved (there’s not going to be a lot here because I’m trying to keep it without spoilers)
- I cannot express to you just how MUCH happens in this book
- So many strong female characters, like it really does get me all in the feels with this because they are all SOOOO good!
- It gets the heart going let me tell you that!
- We FINALLY, FINALLY got answers, do you know how long I have waited to hear what Elias said to Laia, and we finally got it!
- Even though this was a *heavy* book there were so many really lovely and funny moments
- ALL of the sibling bonds, I think if you have a sibling you’ll be able to relate to them.
- It really does start with a *bang*
- Just how unexpected things were, like I genuinely had my mouth to the floor at some things that happened, I was just like WHAT IS HAPPENING
- I low key loved seeing the Jinn as well! Like it was so interesting!
- I loved certain characters fighting with each other, like I was screaminggggg
- The “coming together”
- Things/phrases are reiterated throughout from past books and what the Augurs have said, it’s kind of driven into you and like certain phrases that just make me feel happy but sad at the same time.
- People who died in previous books aren’t just forgotten about, they’re spoken about and you can see the impact they’ve left on other characters, I like that they’re still remembered because they were part of the journey. I think to add to that, Laia also explicitly says that she loved Keenan and I like that she doesn’t pretend that it never happened because once again that was what was needed for the story.
- Refusing to give up on people/situations
- On the other side Running Away and Armour I am just laughing so much at the thought
- Cain is my modern day hero hahahaha
- New found friendships, I really loved Laia and Helene and then Helene and Musa, because this book is set a few months AFTER Reaper we weren’t able to see how it developed.
- All of the little flashbacks from the last books, they were never actually told to us in the previous books (I think?) and it really helped to show some really good moments between the characters!
- Scims and Armlet
- Musa and his word vomit hahahaha
- The Cabin reflecting the Caravans
- Certain communicating
- I’m just going to say it… this book was full of so much Sexual Tension, it was painfully but I loved every single minute of it. I said what I said.
- Mangoes.
- Mentioning of something/someone from the Graphic Novel, was like I know who that is!
- The hair pin momeny, my heart couldn’t take how tender and sweet it was

”A Scholar rebel and a Martial Blood Shrike are friends and the sky didn’t fall in. Whatever shall we do?”

BEWARE these next comments are going to include spoilers I will say Spoiler over when it’s over, it will just be talking about certain characters, I will not be stating any big surprise *jaw to the floor oh my god moments* or any character deaths, it’s more about character interactions and things I expected to happen.


Can I just say, that I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy for characters to finally get together! FOUR BOOKS I have waited, and the fact that it was just so ahhhhh! I can’t get over it, and I don’t think I ever will it literally killed me off when reading them. I was like FINALLLLLLLY!

My other spoiler mention is about Elias because I didn’t want to say anything earlier. So what I want to say is this: I really liked the process of him going from “Soul Catcher” back to Elias and the fact it wasn’t JUST Laia who helped him achieve this. It was the love of everyone who cared about him and when you could see the little glimpses and him being cheeky and carefree it made me so happy, like whenever I saw it I’d be like THERE HE IS! I find it so sad that people went off of Elias during Reaper because the whole point of it was that he kind of switched off his humanity so he could do his job as Soul Catcher, like don’t get me wrong I hateeeeed it with a passion, but it was pivotal to the story.

”Thank you, Soul Catcher.”
“Elias,” he says after a moment, the slightest bit of warmth entering those cold gray eyes. “From you I prefer Elias.”

Special shout out to Elias and Helene fighting together as well, not necessarily a spoiler, but it just reminded me of Ember when they fought with each other side by side, thought it was a moment where I was like HANG ON!

Some characters showing up… I was like BIIIIIIIIIIICTH! I mean I 100000% knew that one of them low key had to arrive just because but the other I was SO SO SO surprised!

End of Spoilers

How do I even conclude this review, these books are literally ingrained in to me, like in every which way, I am so so so thankful to Sabaa for writing this series, because it genuinely means so much to me. I’ve made so many friends because of this book and got closer to other friends as well. For the final book in a series it exceeded all of my expectations, it’s absolutely heartbreaking and devastating, but I still loved every single moment of it.

Loyal to the end.

An Ember in the Ashes - 5 Stars
A Torch Against the Night - 5 Stars
A Reaper at the Gates - 5 Stars
A Sky Beyond The Storm - 5 Stars

A Thief Among The Trees - 5 Stars


Once again I cried so much… this book to me is just so much pain, absolutely loved it!


So. Much. PAIN.


Shocking that I have my most anticipated read for the past two years 5 stars. Who’s of guessed?
I am emotionally drained, I have cried for like 120 pages plus other parts. What a wave of emotions. I can say for now is that it was not what I expected and I loved it. I feel so sad saying goodbye to this series because it means so much to me.
6 more days to go for me:
1. Yes I’m still crying I’m not reading my most anticipated book for the last 2 years.
2. Avoiding Spoilers like the plague (thank you everyone, like I could weep that I haven’t been spoilt)
3. Ali is sending me photo updates of her reading it and I am crying with laughter (and envy obvs)
4. I fell physically ill waiting for this, like it’s to the point I can’t read other things because I feel all consumed about this book and it’s not even here yet.
5. I just want my characters to be happy and my Anxiety is reaching its peak.
6. Can you imagine what it’s like when I actually read this?!
We have a title AND a cover and I feel so emotional. My favourite series will be coming to an end, I feel worried for all of the characters that I love.
Here I am still hoping for the best, but expecting the worst (I am attached to these characters okay) and after seeing all of Sabaas updates I am so worried!
Profile Image for Ariel.
36 reviews16 followers
Want to read
October 1, 2016
"We are A̶q̶u̶i̶l̶l̶a̶ ̶ Fangirls. Loyal to the end"
"The library is my temple. The author is my priest. The fandom theories are my prayer. The release date is my release."
Profile Image for Bhavya .
476 reviews832 followers
January 27, 2022
“Emifal firdaant. May death claim me first.”

~ Rating- 2 stars ~

(Content/ Trigger Warnings)

-Mention of some of these in the review-

*Spoiler alert for An Ember in the Ashes, A Torch Against the Night and A Reaper at the Gates*

My original review for this was me just rambling about my feelings, and, let me tell you, four months later and I am STILL mad at this book . So this review is also going to be a huge rant, I will just try to frame it in more coherent sentences. Hopefully it makes sense. (I am not following my review format, and unlike my usual reviews this has some very mild spoilers. All major spoilers are in tags.)

This book was supposed to have this final battle. It was supposed to be the end to a wonderful series. It was supposed to be heartbreaking. It was supposed to make me feel.

Did it?


This book made me feel a lot of things: anger, fury, rage, disappointment and an impending urge to pretend this book never existed. I mean it.

I am sad this series is over, *cries* but my God it was a horrible ending. What happened to this series? Why did it leave me so disappointed?

Let us break this down.

We have our main characters Laia, Elais (The Soul Catcher) and Helene (The Blood Shrike) and we get all of their POV's.

The first issue I had with this was how the characters were portrayed.

Lia of Serra, the one who faced the Martials and watched her family die right in front of her eyes. The one who went to the rebels for support, and became a slave for The Commandment, tolerating each and every insult and every scar. The one who ran away, faking her death and freed her brother from prison. The one who became an inspiration for everyone, as she was brave, kind, and she had no one, but she was still strong.

What happened to this Laia? She’s not there in this book.

Laia became such a Mary Sue, special snowflake character. Every other page she gets some new powers, and she acted so reckless and stupid. Now, I was not a huge fan of Laia, but I never completely dreaded her POV. That was what happened here.

Each time we were in her head I felt like knocking some sense into her. At one point, she leaves the fight they are in and cries over some random corpse. She has responsibilities in this book, but we do not see her actually fulfilling everything. Everyone acts like Laia is the best person in the whole world, and yes, she's been through a lot, but are you trying to tell me no one else has gone through a hard time?

Laia is suddenly good at every single thing; she can fight like Helene and Elais (who have been training since they were kids), she can turn invisible (only when it is convenient, though), and she has an actual jinn living inside her who keeps giving her advice (which she doesn't follow).

She is now besties with Helene, and they hated each other in the first three books. All I can say is, why? What happened to her character? The main reason I liked her character a bit was because she was a plain, ordinary girl who was still strong. This just ruined everything.

Now, Elais The Soul Catcher . I loved Elais in books 1 and 2, in book 3 - not so much. But I thought this book would rekindle my love for him. Did that happen? NO. I hated every single page we were in his POV. I wanted to skip his chapters all together. Why? Because his POV as The Soul Catcher is painfully boring.

It comprises of- “I love Laia. But I am The Soul Catcher, I should have no feelings. But I love Laia! NO, I am The Soul Catcher, I should not have feelings. BuT I lOvE Laia. No, I am the Soul Catcher, I should have no feelings. But I lOVE LAIA. No- I am the Soul Catcher- ”

And yes, a few chapters of this- I can tolerate. More than that? I CANNOT.

I was so upset by his Pov, that I had to put the book on hold for a few days. (whereas I read the rest of the series in a day or two) It made me very sad that his character got ruined.

Helene The Blood Shrike. I always adored Helene. She was my favorite of this franchise, and she is one of my favorite female characters of all time. Her POV's in this book were a blessing, and fortunately I actually enjoyed her parts.

I know that in this book she is 'blushing' and acting a bit different from her cool, calculated manner, BUT I loved it. Because I love Helene. And I loved seeing the more emotional side to her, as I consider myself an emotional person, and I could relate to her more. I do understand why a lot of people did not like her POV though.

That was about the characters. Let's talk about the plot.

I don't know why, but this book felt like a drag. It was 500+ pages, and I still felt like nothing happened. If I had to summarize the plot, I would say Laia is busy making rash decisions and not listening to anyone, Elais is moping about his life, and my poor Helene is the one suffering.

I think Helene has gone through too much, and in this book she should have gotten a break. I get it, this is war and there will be death and destruction and yada yada but why does Helene have to be the one who's tortured all the time?

I know, I am biased as she is my favourite but I think she is underrated. She's gone through the most, yet everyone talks about how great Laia is, when Laia is doing... nothing?

Honestly, there’s not much that happens in this book. There are about 4-5 major incidents I can think of, but otherwise the rest of it is just filler.

Don’t even get me started on the final battle scene, because that was an utter mess, which I will talk about later.

Now, the world building.

The entire concept of the jinn was cool! I liked it.
The execution- not so much.

There are so many unanswered questions about the jinn. How did they even come to existence? How many jinn are there? What are all their abilities?

The world was unique for a YA book, but I think it had a lot more potential that was not delivered. It left me yearning for more, and that’s not good as this was the end of the series.

And we never get an explanation as to how do Helene and Laia have powers in the first place? Which is odd, as now this series is over and there are still a dozen unanswered questions.

Now let’s talk about the romance.

I was never a huge shipper of Laia and Elais, BUT I love Helene and Harper. I had hoped that we would get some of their relationship, and we do, but it still wasn’t enough.

Most of the romance is about Laia and Elais and how much they lOvE each other but I wanted more Harper- Helene content. And I didn’t get it, which left me shattered.

And now let’s go over that mess of an ending, because seriously I read it twice to try and understand what it was but it still left me confused. (In spoiler tags)

I’m sure I missed something, because I mean it when I say this ending was a chaotic mess.

I hate nothing more to say. I am so disappointed in this book, and I truly think if it wasn’t for this I would have loved this series a lot.

“You have suffered. You have created suffering. You have killed. But you have also paid. With your life, twice over now, and with your heart, with your mind. You have guided thousands of lost souls. You have saved thousands of lives. You have done good in this world. Which will define you? The good? Or the suffering?”

DISCLAIMER - All opinions on books I’ve read and reviewed are my own, and are with no intention to offend anyone. If you feel offended by my reviews, let me know how I can fix it.

My ratings and reviews for other books in this series-

An ember in the ashes- 3 stars
A torch against the night- 3.25 stars
A Reaper at the gates- 3 stars

How I Rate-
1 star- Hardly liked anything/ was disappointed
2 star- Had potential but did not deliver/ was disappointed
3 stars- Was ok but could have been better/ was average / Enjoyed a lot but something was missing
4 stars- Loved a lot but something was missing
5 stars- Loved it/ new favourite


I drew some Helene Aquilla fanart.

It’s in my photos as well-https://www.goodreads.com/photo/user/...

Any feedback welcome, as I’m still new to drawing. :)


Previous review

This was disappointing. I don’t know what happened in this book. It was so long, and it felt like a drag. The plot was predictable for the most part and what just happened with the ending? I do not buy it. It makes no sense.

Helene was always my favourite character and I was disappointed with how it ended for her.

I didn’t ever care about Laia and Elias. Laia becomes such a Mary Sue character. When needed her powers work and when not convenient they don't. She also makes so many stupid decisions.

Elias is constantly complaining about his feelings and his role as the Soul Catcher. He was annoying to read about.

I only read this book for Helene and she is hands down one of the most interesting morally grey characters I’ve read!

I am very confused with the world building if this world and the whole Jin concept isn’t explained properly. There were characters who deserved better.

Despite this, I didn't hate the book. I need to say that the whole idea of the Jin was very new and I’ve never seen anything like that in YA before. The Nightbringer was a good villain with a good backstory.

The writing in this book is very good and I can tell that Sabaa has improved a lot as a writer! Everything about the writing was 4+ stars, but the ending ruined the whole book for me. If it wasn’t for that I think this series would have been one of my favourites.

Overall, this was a well written book but I HATED the ending.
Sorry that this is more like a rant than a review but I don’t know what to say.
Profile Image for Reading_ Tamishly.
4,166 reviews2,237 followers
February 28, 2023
***and the award for the most disappointing read of 2021 goes to....

Okay, time to go and break something because this one is bringing out the monster in me as I so wanted to destroy this one and wanted another version of this book 🤦 Sorry, dear pillows, bear my silent mind screaming 😌

And after all that drama and bloodshed, this entire series ends as a quest to answer who's Lovey. (We will all know who Lovey is ultimately but it seems so disconnected!)
I don't know if I should cry or laugh.

As much as too many emotions are being tried to force feed while narrating the story, the more shallow the reading became. The writing tried too hard I guess. And the characters were too desperate to become into ones who tried to feel emotions. Like just too damn obvious. I wish the impression of all these characters remained the same as in the first two books.

Sadly, this one is disappointing as hell! All that momentum that was built up in the first three books disappeared and never revived again.

I feel the writing got too lost in nothing and the story lost direction. Whatever the heck happened to the characters?! Whatever the bleeding skies happened to the plot intensity in the first 3 books?

My heart and soul. They are bleeding. For real. I cannot believe the last book became this average compared to the first 3 books. I want to cry so bad!

It was like reading an endless commentary on mind blabbering without nothing much happening.

I wanted more of the main characters. I wanted more of the Nightbringer. More of Helene and Harper. More of the jinns. More of the Commandent. More of everything.

Things were happening but nothing happened much if you know what I mean.

I feel betrayed.

(My entire life seems bleak now... The disappointment hurts.)

***I need to sleep on it. The anticipation of something better happening 'maybe in the next chapter/page' until the last few chapters is now hurting my head. And, to be honest, everything was quite boring compared to the first two books (which made my whole being enlightened with the fierce love of the books!).

I like the lead female characters but I do not appreciate the tone they were using describing men. If it happened with the guys talking about women the same way (talk stereotypes!), there would have been more problems I guess.

I find the characters pathetic at times in this book. Not at all expected.

Laia is as impulsive as ever. The Soul Catcher seems more weaker. The Blood Shrike became more plain.

And all kinds of chemistry weakened. Even the feeling of dread for the unstable moments and evil characters were totally missing. Whatever character development needed for the story to end well is missing.

Whatever the subtle romance or spark that was there before, it all turned into something cheesy so much so that I just couldn't bear it. God, why?!

The 'loss' in the end didn't make me feel anything. That's how disinterested I became. Seriously. So damn disappointing.

Keris Veturia. Why the hell is her story not given to me properly? The most intimidating character in the entire plot yet so conveniently forgotten, eh? Those rare few lines in between the chapters and a chapter didn't do much I repeat 😭 Are you bleeding kidding me????!!!!

Almost non-existent for the entire first 90 percent of the book, you can imagine how frustrated I would have been the entire first 500 pages!
Profile Image for Yumiko.
234 reviews495 followers
September 22, 2022
This review contains no spoilers.

There is anguish. There is grief. There is sorrow.

And then there is joy, and happiness, and family, and love. Sometimes it is so hard to separate the two warring sides in your head, of good versus evil. Sometimes it is so hard to see the good when your heart only knows the loss and the pain. That's how it was for me with A Sky Beyond the Storm. I wanted so badly to let this book shatter my entire soul (which it did). But I also had to remember the beautiful parts, no matter how much it broke me and tore my soul apart.

Buckle your seatbelts, friends. This review will be very, very long.

I wanted so badly to crumple in despair and throw this book against the wall and rage and rage and rage until I was numb and my throat was begging me to shut the hell up. But there was something beneath that emotion when I finished, some small, quiet thing inside me that insisted it breathe: happiness. I finished this book, and although those three characters died and completely shattered my entire being, there was hope afterward. Hope on that last page, hope even from the first page of An Ember in the Ashes. And it is hidden, and it is sacred, and sometimes it is so hard to spot because the circumstances seem so bleak and desolate that you can't even bring yourself to. But it is there. It is always there, maybe a kernel, maybe a flicker, maybe an ember. But I swear to you, it is always there, just waiting for you to set it aflame. That's what Sky taught me, and it is a lesson that will live inside me forever.

To all you Sky readers out there, I know. I know exactly how you feel. And I'm here. I'm here for you. If y'all ever want to talk, I'm here.

There is something here in the heart of this book that has molded, shaped, and altered my insides. That has unlocked my view of life, that has made me better understand humans, life, love, good, and evil. And as I am writing this review, I am going to try and discover what it was.

Everything about this book, from its name, to its words, to its characters will disturb you. It will shock you. It will drag you out of your comfort zone, will snag you by the reins of your heart and will tug at your strings insistently, demanding every single emotion from the space between the stars, all the way to the stones beneath your feet. It will force you to feel every drop of love, of remorse, of passion, of sorrow, of anger. "This book will disturb the comfortable, and it will comfort the disturbed." It will hold you so tight you won't remember what loneliness felt like. It will rattle you so hard you won't know what to do with your mortal life for the next few days, the next few weeks. This book will absolutely, positively destroy you. Inch by inch. Slowly, quietly, so gently that you won't even notice it. Not until your heart is a wrangled mess on the floor. Not until you're forced to pick up the pieces yourself. Not until you reach the last page and it is too late, far too late to put the book down and pretend you never encountered it.

This book ripped me to shreds. It tore me limb from limb, vessel from vessel, thoroughly. It demanded I shut up and take the pain like a woman, like Helene, or Laia, or Afya, or Livvy, or Mamie Rila, or Mirra, or as any woman in this series would. This book showed not an ounce of mercy, not an ounce of regret. But in a way, I am glad. Because Sabaa Tahir portrays life. She portrays life the way it truly is, not as she wishes it to be or as we, her readers, wish it to be. Sometimes life is not always kind, and sometimes we forget that. Sometimes we forget that not everyone is full and bursting to the brim with happiness. Sometimes people ache for it. Sometimes people search their whole lives for it, chasing it, and never obtain it. Sometimes their whole lives pass and they have never tasted it. And we have to be grateful for those fleeting times, those brief moments of joy.

If there is anything I have learned since the day that wretched Mask killed my grandparents and arrested Darin, it is that you must love while you can. For tomorrow, all that you love might be ash. -Laia of Serra

We have to remember the people that fought and died in these wars, the people who fought for a dream they would never get to see. I think that is what Sabaa Tahir's message is. That we must fight for those moments of happiness because we never know how long they will last. We never know when our time will be up.

I swear this book is powerful enough to spark a revolution. There are truths and there are lies. And then there is this book, which contains both, but that teaches us enough lessons that it barely feels like fiction anymore. It feels more like a memory.

This book took everything out of me. It took everything in me to get to the last page. It took a lot of convincing to make me understand that this series is truly over. That I will never read another new word, that I will never know how Helene moves on from her losses, that I will never know what color eyes Elias and Laia's children will have, that I will never know whatever came of the rest of these beautiful characters. And if I ever decide to put myself through this again (which I know I most certainly will, since this is my favorite series of all time), I will never read another new word, another new phrase. And my heart can't bear it. I can't move on. It's really, truly over. I couldn't stand the emotions that kept pouring out of me reading these raw, aching words. But I realized that no matter how many times I reread this series, even when I start memorizing every single line of each and every book, it will still yield the same pain, the same love, the same heartbreak. I will always feel something for these characters; I will never, ever let them go. They will always be with me.

Do I remember what life was like before this book? No, I don't. Do I want to go back to return to the life I had before this, to turn back 24 hours, to have picked up a different book that would not have hurt me in this way, that would not have wounded me so badly, that would not have changed something deep inside me? ... No. I don't.

Because I am a weapon that has been whetted, a weapon that has been sharpened and honed. My mind is sharper now, but it is also softer. More forgiving. More understanding. More thankful. And what I mean by that is I've learned so much from the villains in this story. Sometimes, as a reader, it gets difficult to understand the antagonist. Sometimes you just want to watch them to die a slow, painful death for ever hurting your characters. Sometimes you want to brandish the scim yourself. But there is a reason villains exist, and that reason is not to make life hell for the main characters. The truth is that villains are humans too. They are people. They have dreams, and desires, and hopes, and wishes, and fears, and loves, too. And this book really teaches you that. It really forces you to look inside yourself, to find the softest part, to find the part that truly understands the evil in this world, and that no one is ever truly evil. Because evil people never think they're evil. They think they are doing the right thing. They think they are bettering humanity, and that makes me wonder, how could we ever blame someone, a person who has felt love and fear and hate, for doing something if that's what they think is right? How could we ever deem them evil if that is what they have been taught all their lives, if that's how they lash out with their pain?

I couldn't help it. When I finished Sky, I couldn't help loving Keris Veturia. So many people hate her and wish her dead, and maybe I did, too, for a little while. But after Sky, I realized that she is a result. She got hurt so much, and her mother was taken from her, and Keris was forced to listen to her own being tortured to death. And from that flame, from that burning, rigid fire, Keris retaliated. She locked up her heart, sealed it with the strongest, toughest glue, hid it behind layers and layers of armor and pretended it didn't exist. Used it so rarely that sometimes she forgot it was there. That is a result. That is what happens when you have been hurt so badly and you are not strong enough to fight. For how powerful and tough Keris is, she was not strong enough. She gave in to her pain; she allowed it to rule over her. Thus, she lost every battle worth fighting. And at the end of Sky, when we finally realize why Keris is the way she is, understanding is gifted to us, is instilled inside us. Sabaa Tahir grants us an invaluable gift, one of empathy.

I've learned so much from Sky. I've learned the true power of love, of friendship, of friendship that turns into family. I've learned of hope, I've learned not to turn away from it, not to scoff at it and dismiss it with a wave of the hand. I've learned of holding on and how you can never let go, you can never stop fighting, you can never give up on the people you love, because if it was them, they would never stop fighting for you.

What is inside this book? Life. Love. Friendship. Loyalty. Pain. Death. Grief. But also so much more. So much that I don't think I'll ever be ready to talk about, because it just hurts so much, and the wound is still fresh and still bleeding and I need a break. I need to step away from this for awhile and gather my head.

When you think of Helene Aquilla, and all she has been through, all she has lost, I think to myself that it is unfair. It is unfair that someone as beautiful, as noble, as worthy of love and happiness and a good life had to endure one of such pain and sadness and loss. She did not deserve it. But then when I have these thoughts, I think back to these words:

"Love doesn't discriminate between the sinners and the saints. It takes and it takes and it takes and we keep loving anyway." (I really need to stop quoting Hamilton in my reviews. I think it's becoming problematic.)

I know a lot of readers are suffering from the amount of death in this book, especially the ones of three very important characters. I understand. But I also understand why those deaths were necessary, and it isn't just because Sabaa Tahir is evil (although a lot of us beg to differ, and rightfully so). War is not a living thing. It has no conscience. It doesn't understand what it's doing is wrong. It doesn't understand the cost. Sabaa is showing us that in war, we cannot choose who dies and who lives on. We can only choose our decisions. We can either choose to stop fighting and unite, or we can keep killing, keep hurting. From Sky, you learn to understand that for every person you kill, you are ridding a child of their parent, a lover of their beloved, a friend of their family. We are all human and we are all loved. We can't take lives. We can't just rip people out of each other’s arms. We should understand each other more. We should reach out to each other more. We should be there for each other. Sky just makes me wonder, why are we so damn disunited? How can we bridge the gap? Must there always be a villain in each story? Or can we just learn to protect each other, no matter if we are Scholars or Martials or Tribespeople? No matter if we are Black or Asian or Caucasian or Latinx? Must there always be one group fighting against another?

There is strength that is sometimes found in even the weakest of humans. There is something slumbering inside all of us, I think, a beast that awakens, that opens one eye, when we read about characters as strong and as brave and resilient as Helene Aquilla, as Laia of Serra, as Elias Veturius, as Avitas Harper, as Mirra of Serra, as Darin of Serra, as Musa, as Livia Aquilla. There is strength, and there is pride, and there is joy, but most of all, there is something ethereal inside each of us that awakens when we read about characters like these. Why? Because there is something inside us that is reflected on these pages, something we recognize in the characters that reminds us of ourselves. We always think we are weak, or scared, or afraid. We always think we are incapable of enduring the things Helene Aquilla has dealt, or of doing the things Laia of Serra has done, or being as strong in both body and mind as Elias Veturius is.

But how do you think Sabaa Tahir was able to create such resilient characters? Fiction is truth, and is derived from truth. Nothing is ever created; it is remade. Sabaa Tahir has encountered a soul as fiery as Laia's, as tough as Helene's, as good and as beautiful as Elias', as soft as Harper's, as enduring as Musa's and Livia's, as determined as Quin's. These people exist, and they are stories that live inside us. They are stories that will always be there, just around the corner of our minds to pull strength from. They will never go away. As long as we remember this story.

There will never come another series that changes me as this one did. I haven't lived the rest of my days out but I know. There will never be another like this. Not for me.

I have 253 characters left for this review, but I am not ready to shut up about this book. I still have so much to say. If there is one thing I know I will always remember about this book, it is that I will take Laia's courage, I will take Helene's intelligence and endurance, I will take Elias' strength and forgiveness. I will take Avitas' soft, good, kind soul, I will take Livvy's beautiful heart, I will take Tas' innocence, I will take Darin's stubbornness, I will take Afya's loyalty, I will take Mamie Rila's loyalty, I will take Mirra's toughness, I will take Quin's determination, I will take the Nightbringer's love.

And from all of these things that I take, I will be remade. I will become a better person. I will have learned not to take advantage of my people and my moments and the time I have left. I will have learned to stay silent and listen to people before I speak my mind and I will always keep believing in other people. And I do my best to spread love and kindness everywhere I go.

I feel like this review is sort of sad, so I want to end it on a positive note. If you still don't believe how good this book is, just know that I neglected food, water, sleep, and family while I rushed to finish this book. I snapped at my brother to shut up like ten times when he was blabbering nonsense. I ate nothing. (You know it's a big deal when I neglect food. Because I am greedy and I can never get enough.) I drank no water. I left my AP essay an hour before it was due (because we all know that’s not the priority here). From 10:23 am to 4:33 pm, the only thing I worried about was finishing this book. And if that’s still not enough to convince you to read this series, I am so so sorry for you.

Because you'd be missing out on an entire universe.
Profile Image for The Burning Rose (Jess).
161 reviews324 followers
Want to read
July 30, 2021
A Sky Beyond the Storm.. A SKY BEYOND THE STORM A SKY B- oh my god!! I love this title so fucking much. And the cover??? God, I’m so happy HOLY SHITE. The release date is so close. I need to pick up and read the 3rd book as soon as possible! 😧
Profile Image for Marzuqa.
63 reviews56 followers
January 23, 2021
A part of me grieves that this is actually OVER, and that I have to say goodbye to these characters that I had come to love. Laia and Elias will always remain one of my most favorite fictional couple.
Another part of me wishes I had enjoyed this finale book in the series as much as I wanted to. Sabaa Tahir has called this her best work so far, but book 1 still remains my most favorite book in this series. It warmed and touched me in a way I can never forget.
I just couldn’t connect the same way with the other books in this series, especially books 3 and 4, probably because of some tropes that I personally don’t enjoy.
But I’m so glad for having read these books, will defo reread book 1 in the future.
Profile Image for Arini.
696 reviews1,548 followers
February 2, 2021
Idk, just to give you an idea...

#1 An Ember in the Ashes — 5 Stars
#2 A Torch Against the Night — 4 Stars
#3 A Reaper at the Gates — 3 Stars
#4 A Sky Beyond the Storm — 2.5 Stars

So, you see it’s a long time coming.

For the record, I’m NOT disappointed. I’m... resigned and mostly unbothered. It’s just one of those series that you’ve been following since the first book was published but you slowly grow unattached to because the story no longer appeals to you. I loved the first two books, but the third one threw me off by going to a direction I did not expect and not in a good way. I guess that kinda cushioned me from the disappointment of this book.

There were a lot of details I didn’t remember from previous books, and the only characters I recognized were Laia, Elias, Helene, The Nightbringer, Harper, and Darin. Basically the big players. Since when did Laia become such a Mary Sue? I didn’t like that Elias’ narrative changed from him being a hot badass soldier to a sappy, mellow, angsty Soul Catcher. It felt like he was being singled out and became unimportant.

I was excited about Helene falling in love with Harper mainly because I’m always down for anything romance, but after what happened (which I think was one of the most ridiculous jokes of the century) in this book, her romantic side story was unnecessary. Also, since when did she and Laia become such BFFs?! They hated each other pretty much the whole series. I mean, war and the end of the world bring things into perspective and all, but still!

I used to like The Nightbringer the way I did The Darkling. He was one of those villains that you couldn’t help but root for and you were torn about killing or kissing. His backstory was interesting and heartbreaking, but I just... did... not... care... about him and everyone else in this book. I was along for the ride physically but not mentally. Reading but not really processing anything. That’s why my memory of this book is hazy.

To be frank, I’m not even entirely sure how the villains got defeated. I wasn’t reading because I was sentimental this was the last installment in the series, but I was doing it just because. So I could be rid of it. Anyway, sorry this review is useless. Funny how I also felt this exact same way with my first book of the year in 2020. I hope it doesn’t become a thing where I read a disappointing book at the beginning of each year. That would suck.

(Read as an Audiobook)
Profile Image for Irina.
88 reviews142 followers
December 13, 2020
I loved this so much. It was the perfect ending to an amazing series.
Now excuse me while I go in a corner and cry because of a certain character 😭
Profile Image for ELLIAS (elliasreads).
477 reviews37.7k followers
December 18, 2020
Five years of blood, sweat, tears, and cliffhangers later, the journey has finally come to an end...

Well, where to begin. This book ended perfectly. Beautifully. But (there's always a but), it could have been fifty or even a hundred pages shorter. I felt like there was so much exposition with little pay off with too much telling and not showing.

ex: "10 days later, Laia did this, 2 weeks later, Elias did that,".....

I felt like there were handfuls of 'empty' spaces within the book where characters would rest, talk, meet up, leave on a journey, and meet up again to fight, escape, repeat. But overall, spending time with them before the end was bittersweet. This book did not hold back the knife on killing certain characters. The final battle was a whirlwind of tension and throughout the entire time, holding my breath; literally living through the infamous phrase: I let a breath I didn't know I was holding.

In the end, I'm glad I know these broken brittle characters- their strength and weaknesses, their stories, this world.....I'm sad to leave it but looking ahead with more wonder, a fond heart, and lighter spirits, than before I began this harrowing journey.

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Profile Image for Heather.
379 reviews16.8k followers
December 12, 2020
Gah Sabaa Tahir broke my heart but mended it somewhat but still....ALL THE TEARS.
Profile Image for Lucy Tonks.
436 reviews703 followers
April 9, 2021
“You are broken. But it is broken things that are the sharpest. The deadliest. It is broken things that are the most unexpected, and the most underestimated”

I did, indeed, need tissues. I don't think a book has made me cry this much. Ever. This was such a beautiful conclusion to such an amazing series! I couldn't wish for anything better. I am so sad that this was the last book, and I cannot believe that this series is over. We went through so many things with this characters, and their adventure and everything they suffer to get to this point is finally over. This review will probably be the first half non-spoilery and the other half full of spoilers, but don't worry if you haven't read this book yet, I'll warn you when I start going into spoilers.

The plot was better than I expected. I was never bored and I was always saying in my mind one more chapter because I wanted to know what will happen next, I wanted to know how this book this series is going to end. And that end did not disappoint me. I was going through a rollercoaster of emotions in the last, I wanna say, fifty pages. The stakes where so high and I was so worried for the characters.

I loved following this characters along their journey. I suffer along with them, I laughed along with them, I felt happy along with them. Whatever was happening I was experiencing it along with them.

The cast of characters has been, since the beginning of this series, excellent. Helene is my favourite character, although I really did not like her in the first book, she warmed up to me in the sequels until I reliased she was my favourite character. I love Laia and Elias. I love Harper. Even the Nightbringer is a character I like. Sabaa Tahir created him, in such a way, that as much as you hate the way he is sometimes, you still undertand him, you still empathize with him. You empathize will all the characters in this book in the end and that shows how well written they are. It shows how much taught and emotions Sabba Tahir put in them so they would fell human, no matter if they are the heroes or the villains.

In the end, this book was everything I wished for and more. Sabba Tahir, I admire your talent. I admire you for this masterpiece that you have created. Thank you! Now onto spoilers!

*Spoilers Ahead*

So I predicted Harper's death, although I'm not mad about this. Don't get me wrong, I'm sad that he died, but I'm not mad that I predicted it. Sabaa Tahir put some foreshadowing in the beginning and through out the book with all the Emifal Firdaant. From the moment it was mentioned to Helene, I was sure that either Harper or Livia will die. In the end both of them died. And I'm so heartbroken for Helene, she didn't deserve so much suffering, she deserved to be happy.

At the end of the book, I didn't start crying when Harper died or when Darin died or when I thought Elias was going to die, as you might thing. The moment the tears started to roll down my face was when Mirra offered to take Elias place as the Soul Catcher. That's when I started bawling. And I continued to cry when Helene looked at Harper's body and I stopped when Helene was made Empress, but then I started crying again at the end of the chapter and continued to cry in the next chapter when Elias talked to Harper's and Darin's ghosts. Those scenes all broke my heart. I am so heartbroken because of the end, but at the same time so satisfied, if that makes sense. I feel like if Sabaa Tahir excluded Harper's death or Darin's the book wouldn't have been quite as good, it just wouldn't have been possible. Although I wish Laia and Helene wouldn't have gone through so much suffering, I do feel like those two deaths were necessary for this ending, it just had to be this way.

I cannot believe that Sabaa actually made me care, although that might be too big of a word, about the Commandant. I don't think care is the right word, but I actually felt something positive towards her! That doesn't change how many horrible things she has done and the fact that I still hate her. Like she killed Harper, I would never forgive her for that, but still I understood why she became like that. Instead of what Laia and Helene did, instead of fighting all those feelings that came with suffering, she let them consume her, she let them guide her life.

I think that's it for my review, I love this book with my whole hear. This is a favourite series of mine now and I will for sure read anything that Sabaa writes in the future. I'm so excited to see what she writes next!
Profile Image for Angelica.
805 reviews1,067 followers
Want to read
June 6, 2020
Waiting for this book has me like:
Profile Image for Jananie (thisstoryaintover).
290 reviews13.2k followers
December 3, 2020

BUT. I love this series with every one of my breaths and will forever hold it close to my heart. Sabaa has created a gift and I'm so glad to have experienced this journey.
Profile Image for solanne.
197 reviews462 followers
June 30, 2021
if you’re wondering how I’m doing, just know that I finished this lying on the kitchen floor at one in the morning in a puddle of tears :)


there is something incredibly bittersweet about reaching the end of a series, knowing that every page turned is one step closer to the end of an era, knowing you’ll have to let a whole world slip through your fingers at last, relinquishing your hold on beloved characters. although i only started this series in 2020, much later than many fans of the series, my anticipation for A Sky Beyond the Storm was through the roof.

but to be completely honest? i was also fucking terrified.

thank god for Sabaa Tahir because she pulled through. i don’t have anything eloquent to say, all i can offer is a heart full of adoration. thank you for giving so many of us characters to cherish and a world full of wonder. for giving so many of us a home. chef’s fucking kiss.

4.5 ☆
Profile Image for Musings and Perusings.
42 reviews2 followers
December 6, 2020


First things first, credit where credit is due. The thing this book, and the series in general, does well is the emotion. We've grown to care about these characters (some of them) and we see the horrible decisions they're forced to make and the consequences that come as a result.

As for the magic and supernatural aspects of the world-building, I've always thought they seemed a little out of place and this book shows why. They are not, in any way, well-defined. I want to know the rules of the magic. Where does it come from and how does it work, but we don't get that. The magic is a constant, ever changing, plot device, there when it suits and missing when it doesn't.

This series was so much better when it was just focused on fighting back against an evil empire and freeing the Scholar people and Darin. It was about the surprising cruelty and kindness of humans, not the supernatural.

The ending is terrible and anti-climatic. The characterization, with the exception of Helene, is also lacking what we've come to expect.

And now for more specific examples.

To wrap all this mess up, it honestly feels like Tahir didn't know where she was going with this story when she wrote book 1. I remember when book 1 first came out that it was supposed to be a standalone or something and when we all read it, we were like "No way is this meant to be a standalone" and it wasn't. But it's hard to change something once it's been published and so you have to work with what you got.
And even if Tahir intended to end up here in the last book, that's possibly even worse because then this was intentional. Either this book was a disaster by mistake or by design. It's still a disaster.
How could someone who wrote An Ember in the Ashes have gotten this so wrong?

This was the last book. It was supposed to wrap everything up and finally bring an end to the story we've all been following for so long. And yet, having read this book, I would go so far to say that it would have been better if this book had never been written at all. I would take not having an ending at all over the ending we were given.
Profile Image for Mariam ☀️.
165 reviews374 followers
December 3, 2020
I have no words, and I don’t know if I ever will. 5 stars is a criminal understatement. Sabaa Tahir is a writer to behold for generations to come for this story that she so beautifully crafted with such immense love and care. I am forever changed.
Profile Image for sam.
362 reviews522 followers
December 13, 2020
“I wish I could live a thousand lives so I could fall in love with you a thousand times,” he says. “But if all we get is this one, and I share it with you, then I will never want for anything.”


Favourite Book of 2020
The only fantasy novel that has ever genuinely made me cry until now
All time favourite
Best conclusion to a series

I can’t believe it’s finally over 😭 I’m gonna miss them all so much. Full review is up on my blog with a overall series review.
Profile Image for mish ♡.
106 reviews221 followers
January 7, 2021
What a small thing it seems, to walk with the one you love. To look forward to a day with them. I marvel at the simplicity of this moment. And I thank the skies for the miracle of it.

finishing this series was so heartwarming and bittersweet and also heartbreaking all at once. when i first read an ember in the ashes three years ago, it reignited my love for reading and was one of the books that really back into reading again. i absolutely fell in love with the world, laia, elias and everything else. needless to say, it's one of the series closest to my heart, along with it's flaws.

my favourite is still and will always be the first book. there was just something so compelling about the way it was written. the characters that i initially fell in love with were so different in this one. elias will still be my fave even though his character arc kinda broke me :) would confirm that i'll still let him step on me and thank him for it. and the way every book just slowly got more sad and dark, bye😔😭 while reading a sky beyond the storm, i shed teARSSS (which i rarely do tbh) and what i can say is, the end scene was all i ever wanted :') laia becoming a tribe's kehanni when she said in the first book that she wanted to be that since she was a child??? thAT was everything uGHHGHGHSJFKS. when i read that it was the moon festival boYY i was about to tear up because we came such a long way from the first moon festival. aaand just realized i won't ever be able to write a critical and coherent review with all my thoughts about this so imma just rate it and goooo 👉🏾

my messy emo thoughts right after finishing:
i truly have no idea what i did to deserve this series. my heart was broken into pieces and then put together and i'm being SO dramatic here but idk what i'm going to do rn. forever going to love sabaa tahir ofc because this kind of changed me as a person and i'm going to go now because it's 3am and i might just start rambling/crying so yeah :')


waiting for this to save/ completely change the face of my 2020 for the better
Profile Image for Hanna.
172 reviews66 followers
March 28, 2023
Will I ever recover?? 😭😭😭 I need a moment to process, but RTC!

Profile Image for chaity.
164 reviews346 followers
February 13, 2022

“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.”

Sabaa Tahir indeed 'worked her tail off' on this book .Was I heartbroken again? Sadly yes. But did this book disappoint me? No. Is this my new favourite? Hell yeah.

The tale,my friends, was finally told.

This book is everything I have been looking for in the first three books of this series(my most favourite book from this series is the first one. No competition). Some stuffs, however, the author used was not my favourite. I did not like the way, the 'main plot' of this book appeared (Waiting place and all that). I loved the characters more the plot. Hell, I do not remember a time when I wasn't in love with Elias-laia or was not fascinated by Nightbringer.Yeah,Nightbringer has my heart.I loved Elias in this book more than the previous ones. Laia was her amazing self.I disliked Helene less.

The ending was perfection. Also, this author can break hearts.
“I wish I could live a thousand lives so I could fall in love with you a thousand times”

Oh. Emotions .

And before I get more emotional, I want to say,Sabaa Tahir is one of my favourite authors. An ember in the ashes is my favourite series. Laia and Elias are my favourite fictional characters. In spite of all the chaos, the world Sabaa built is somewhere I would love to live.This series has been such a huge part of my bookish adventures. I've learnt so many things from Laia, Elias, Darin, Musa And Helene that at this point i'm not sure what to say now that this series has finally came to an end. But 'nothing ever ends' Elias and Laia will always be loved. I will keep rereading the series. I'm grateful to have met all those amazing characters.

You, Sabaa Tahir, shattered my heart into pieces. And, I love you for that (with my broken heart)

Don't judge. I'm an emotional mess right now.

I'm still confused about so many stuffs. I can't wait to see what sabaa Tahir creates next.


Elias might be a Soul-Catcher but Sabaa Tahir is a Heart-Breaker.


Not sure if I'll take that(what I said in my pre-review) back.
Profile Image for Elle.
584 reviews1,294 followers
December 3, 2021
Now a Goodreads Choice finalist in Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction!

Well, we did it. This is the end of the Ember in the Ashes series! Thanks to Natalie for making me pick these books back up, sometimes *forcefully*, after finishing the first one last year.

Will try to do a non-spoilery section up here, with the rest hidden under tags below. But it’s probably no surprise that there was lots of death and war, a good amount of magic and plenty of ~ a n g s t ~. Still, it seemed at times that certain things were added for shock value over making narrative sense or character development, but that’s been consistent through most of the books, if I’m being honest.

So much of this series has felt like the characters were on a loop. Elias struggling with his feelings for Laia and just kind of in general. Helene trying to do a plan only for Keris to be 2 steps ahead. Laia making a plan and then blowing it up because she’s actually just a terrible person to put in charge of anything. It became frustrating to read them all fail in the same way over and over again, seemingly never learning from these mistakes. But now that it’s the final book it was such a relief to go into this knowing one way or another it would end differently. Well.....mostly.

I know I’ve been a little negative in these reviews, but I did enjoy my time with these books! It’s probably one of the most readable fantasy series I’ve experienced and has a good amount of world-building (outside of the magic). It can be hard to blend pacing with fantasy in YA because so much needs to be explained when creating a new world from scratch, so props to the author for that! I think people who don’t want a whole lot of in-depth explanations in the fantasy books they read will appreciate this series more, so this may work well for a more casual fantasy reader. I would also definitely be interested in reading more from this author in the future!

**For more book talk & reviews, follow me on Instagram at @elle_mentbooks!
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