Reading ‘A Sky Beyond The Storm’ by Sabaa Tahir | Spoilers and Tears

“We must understand the creatures, fey or human, who populate our tales. Respect them. Love them, despite the villainous things they do. We must see them. Else how will our stories echo in the hearts of those who hear them? How will the stories survive beyond one telling?”
52231414. sy475

A Sky Beyond The Storm by Sabaa Tahir is the final book in the ‘an ember in the ashes’ quartet. It was published on December 10th, 2020 and soon after my heart was destroyed.

I had honestly been waiting for this book for the entirely of last year and whilst I had a few tiny wrinkles, I still thoroughly enjoyed it and I would say it is what I wanted from this series finale. 

Here is what happened…

also just to reiterate this is a SPOILERY post. DO NOT go any further if you have not read the entire of ‘An Ember in the Ashes’ quartet. 



This post is very long. I really just did it for me as I wanted to remember my thoughts. If you read it all, well done. 

The Plot & Writing

First can we just talk about this line….

“I bank the fire, leaving a few embers burning deep in the ashes.”


okay, carry on.

This series has always been extremely fast paced with a new adventure or higher stake, and this book is no different. It continually kept me intriguing and the way it kept pushing the characters to new levels all the time was really engaging to read about. It is *go, go, go* from the start. I mean this happened on page 16. PAGE 16.

“But, to me, she will always be the Commandant.”

It was already an ‘oh shit’ moment. The plot really does never let you go.

I honestly think this is one of the series strongest points. As you continue with the series the plot gets more intense and deeper. You feel for the characters more each time as with every new situation, the stakes are continually raised.

“I fear, Banu al Mauth, that the world has yet to break.”

However, my first tiny disappointment with the plot was that we didn’t get to see enough Laia and Helene together. It was one of the things I was most looking forward too and whilst there were golden moments, I wanted to see their friendship blossom and grow. (I get that if it didn’t fit in with the plot but I’m still sad). However, at the end of the book, there was the absolutely stellar moment that I loved….

“Where’s Laia? I’d rather dance with her.”

I did love the development of the plot though. The way it tackled the themes of war, the stakes the characters were put in, how the relationships developed, the way the enemies were written and the closing of the story. It was the perfect level of emotion and adventure with an emphasis on stories which made it really special.

Although I do wish we didn’t have the prophecy of ‘they will all die’ because as soon as I read that I’m like ‘oh they will all live then’ and it is only annoying because you try to make me worry but no one ever goes through with ‘the death prophecy’. It is one of my least favourite tropes, there is always a change and it turns out to be fine all the time. 

As much as I did enjoy the book as a whole, my main issue was with the pacing, but I think it is a personal taste thing. I would have liked it to have slowed down at moments so we could really unpick what was going on and how the characters felt. For example, I remember one moment with Helene when she said this was horrifying and this moment was going to haunt her for her whole life, but I couldn’t feel that emotion. It was just told to me. This is why I prefer medium-paced books over fast-paced books, so I think that was one of the drawbacks of this novel for me.

The Characters

I loved the characters SO much. I have really bonded with them over time so seeing their journey arc and end was very emotional.

Laia of Serra

I still consider Laia to be the main character of this series and I think she continues to be the rock and heroine of it all. 

“I look up at the stars as if they will give me air. They have been the only constant in my life these past eighteen months. // Though that is not true. My own heart has been constant too. My will. That is not much. But it has gotten me this far.”

She’s been through a lot. Her losses have been constant from a world that was built to hurt her from the start. My favourite thing about Laia is how determined she is and how she constantly persists after what she has been through. She knows what is right and she always strides towards that. 

“Safe?” Laia laughs and it is a terrible sound. “There is no safe place for me in this world, Elias. Not unless I create it for myself. Go then to your duty. I will go to mine.”

It is all these qualities that make her the heroine she is. I think as this book really dove into the topic of war, and even topics of revenge, it was able to highlight Laia’s kindness and strength in different ways. Through her ability to stick to her sense of what is right in a dark time, the parallels to The Nightbringer (which I will mention down below), and through her kindness for everyone. 

“And as long as even one person remains, they are worth fighting for.”

I think with the development of Laia being linked to Rehmat. It opened up not only a link to the past (which I think was well explored as it always had a purpose and helped to give a message to you as a reader) but brought up emotions that Laia shared with The Nightbringer and how they both dealt with their pain. There was one conversation that stood out to me…

“I do not love my family any less than he loved his.”

This was one quote that Laia said about how that had both loss their families through actions of others, and obviously in this story The Nightbringer is the villain and Laia is the heroine. I think their different reactions showed some of the key differences between a ‘villain’ and a ‘hero’, as The Nightbringer turned into his pain and let it become a drive for more pain, hate and death whereas Laia used it to become a drive for justice and stayed true to what is good. I think the quote I shared above just shows how passing on pain will only cause more suffering to innocents and it isn’t okay to harm others because of your pain because he didn’t love his family more than Laia and it wasn’t okay for him to do what he did no matter how just he felt in the beginning. 

Again, Laia is just so good and determined. She is like the hero role model.

So, for her ending, I really wanted it to be happy, she deserved to be happy. So, when Darin died, I felt so sad for Laia as it felt like such a loss after everything she had already gone through. It was so sad, whilst I didn’t feel too strongly attached to Darin as I felt like we could have gotten to know him more nor that the death was done in a devastating manner, but I still felt soo sad about it, just for Laia’s loss. 

As we move onto the end of the book, I was sooOOOoo glad to see Laia get some semblance of a happy ending with Elias and her new life of peace. It hard to believe we were able to get here after the events we have endured with Laia. The only when I can describe my feelings with seeing this for Laia is PERFECT BLISS. 

“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.”

Of course, Laia also became a Kehanni. It was simply perfect for the end of a series. It was powerful, beautiful and in a way nostalgic. It was such a special touch that felt like a nod to you as a reader in some way which I LOVED, LOVED, *LOVED*.

“I draw the story from deep within my soul, pouring my love into it, and my forgiveness, my anger and my empathy, my joy and my sadness.”

Elias (The Soul Catcher)

When we left Elias at the end of ‘A Reaper at the Gates’ he was Elias no more, but The Soul Catcher and he was going to forget everyone from his life. I knew this going in but still when I read this line….

“Those people– who are they?”

.. my emotions were DESTROYED. And just all the anguish when we were with The Soul Catcher. The pain, the loneliness. I thought I was ready for the hit of emotions but apparently not. 

“Doing so takes all of my focus, leaving nothing for my demons.”

But then, the hope, the glimmer. YES. 

“Elias Veturis yet lives. And it is imperative that he live, for the Great War approaches, and it is not the Soul Catcher who will win it, it is Elias Veturius. It is not the Soul Catcher who is an ember in the ashes, it is Elias Veturius. It is not the Soul Catcher who will spark and burn, ravage and destroy. It is Elias Veturius.”

THIS SENTENCE WAS EVERYTHING !!! I had to read it again. I got up out of bed. I loOOooove this line because YES, Elias Venturis. 

This is not to say it was a straightforward journey from there. Oh no. Elias had an internal battle as he got a few memories back, but he was still the Banu-Al Mauth and he had his duty which he put above everything else. He really only gets involved because of the impact on the waiting place. 

I love how we got to see this *angst* with Laia. We got to see an almost back and forth with a lot of emotion, as all the feelings were in the open, but they still couldn’t be together. It made for so many small, tender moments and I really liked how Laia was incredibly open and how she was a constant reminder of who Elias was. It just felt so special. 

Throughout the novel we continue to build towards the end and Elias was a big part in this because of his role, his skill and his power. I liked how the plot made sure they had to work together. Plus, it was able to emphasise how Elias still cared for Laia at moments and yessss. 

Finally, when we got to the end and he got to be himself. YES, we love to see it (thank you Laia’s mum, I was not expecting that). But yessssssss. I am so glad Elias came back to us and Laia, it had to happen. I was worried for a moment, but it was fine. Honestly when it said… 


…I was sooOOooo happy. I was waiting for this moment. Elias and Laia finally together. 

“If anyone can love her enough for everyone she’s lost, it’s you.”

Helene (The Blood Shrike)

Helene is probably my favourite character of this series. I think being in the centre of court politics made her really interesting and she is constantly put in situations which push on her emotions whether fighting someone she loves or having to help people she hates. 

I, also, absolutely love Helene because she is constantly like I don’t do emotions’ then proceeds to feel every emotion possible but continues to ignore it. I think it feels vulnerable and powerful, and touches on how those are linked.

*’Harper coming* Helene: “I look around the room for an escape.” (yes, this is how to handle your crush worrying about you, very good)
“My heart twinges a little at that, fool that it is.”

But we love it when sisterly love tells you that this isn’t the way to handle emotions, even if we don’t always listen at first. 

“One day, sister,” Livia says, “you’ll have to reckon with all the things you try to hide from yourself. And the longer you wait, the more it will hurt.” (well said Livia)

also, side note: Livia !! That was soooo sad and it actually did surprise me (although it probably shouldn’t have knowing this series). ouchhh. 

And this nicely leads me on to HARPER. OUCCCHHHHHHHH !! poor Helene, honestly, f*** me.

“You got there first, my love,” I whisper. “I envy you so. For how will I endure without you?” // I hear no answer to my question.”

It was so tragic !!! This was when the tears started and didn’t stop until the end. 

I think Helene had a lot of growth in terms of what the empire is and what it should be as well as growth in facing her emotions. I felt like the book really delivered on seeing through that final growth and I loved seeing it.

So, Helene then became Empress (until her nephew comes of age). I think this definitely highlighted the choice of the people, what leadership meant and taking the empire into a new and just era which is what we really wanted after so much pain. 

“This is not what they want. I know it. For it is not simple or neat or clean. It does sweep the sins of the Empire under the rug, or allow those who have always had everything to return to that life. But it is what they will get, if I am empress. And they deserve to know.”

I think this quote really demonstrated the power of remembering and making good changes to society. It was really important and definitely relevant to our reality too. 

Like with Elias, when her chapter heading said Helene at seventy-one, I was so happy. We love to see it. 

Finally, her emotional growth… I LOVED IT. IT MAKES ME SO HAPPY! She saw the strength in emotions finally

“And instead of hating my heart, I began to marvel at its strength, at the fact that it thuds on insistently. I am here, it seems to say. For we are not done, Helene. We must live.” (this quote was everything !!)
“That despite all I have survived, or perhaps because of it, there is still joy in my heart.”

So, what did with think to Helene and Musa?? Honestly looking back, I could see how things were being put into place for them. I think because it seemed so sudden after we’ve spent most of the series with Helene and Harper for the ‘endgame’ (potentially?) to be different in our head in just the space of the last pages. It took a little adjusting, I’m not going to lie. I don’t hate it, I liked Musa a lot, he had a lot of good quotes and I know the book only hinted at it really, but I could see it working, even if I found it a slightly unnecessary add- on.

The Villains

“Suffering is the cup from which they both drink. It is the language they both speak. And it is the weapon they both wield.”

I personally find the enemies/villains of the ember quartet to be a really strong point for this series. I actually think a perspective from The Commandant’s POV through the whole series would have brought it to new heights. I really love how Sabaa Tahir writes villains because she is able to make them human and explore their humanity, but not use that to take away from their ‘evilness’. In a way, it kind of adds to it. 

“Her skill is otherworldly and yet grounded in savagery that is deeply, uniquely human.”

Like I’ve mentioned before I liked the way Laia and The Nightbringer were linked together. The way there were both affected by war and how they each wore their pain. His past was heart-breaking, and it highlighted what could potentially make a villain, but also showcased that he isn’t right in his actions because of it. I, also, like that because of his magical ability, it made for ‘a big bad villain’ so it felt like an epic final fight. It brought the book to intense levels. I did really like the way he was written in this book, more so than the previous ones. His emotions and plans felt more intense and volatile whilst also being more human which added a lot to the story. 

“Can you compare the rage of a storm to the rage of man?”

The Commandant has obviously always been a key character in the series, but I felt like she didn’t have a big role in this book which I guess makes sense with the journey of this book. However, I would have liked her to have more of a role. She kind of just popped in, murdered someone and left.

I feel like her and Elias had sure an interesting relationship and it could have been explored a lot more. It touched on it two times and in both times, it was used to add a humanity to her. It was an interesting layer as  she didn’t want to kill him (which was new). But she still did kill a lot of big characters *oww* and she was still VERY cruel (again I think this is shows how Sabaa Tahir is so great at writing villains).

“There is no weakness is having remembered your child… the weakness lies is denying it.”

I think Helene had to be the one to kill The Commandant because they mirrored each other quite a lot so I think it was not only important for Helene’s character, but it also couldn’t have really been Elias or Laia (she had bigger fights literally). 

We then get to further see The Commandant in the afterlife as she needs help being passed on. I think this was done to show a commentary on her going back to the time when she was most innocent and it being when she was really, really young. It kind of touched on how the world doesn’t protect or shield children and how it lead to her becoming who she was. It, again, highlighted the ‘villain vs hero’ aspect as the difference is what they do with the pain.

The Themes

As I have mentioned, the theme of war is predominant in this book as it is kind of like the final battle. I love how it was able to make it a fast-paced fantasy but also a have a lot of emotional depth. 

I think through Laia, we were able to look a lot at death and what it can mean to take a life. It can be quite conflicting as she is fighting for her life and for the world really, so she needs to do things, but it touches on the emotional toll and to remember the value of life. I think this discussion was SO great to see in a fantasy book and I loved the comments throughout.

“Life is sacred…. it is forgetting this fact that leads to war in the first place.”
“This is the nature of war. But you do not have to forget your enemy. Nor should you ignore the toll her slaying has taken on you.”
“But you’ll remain human. Is that not worth a bit of madness?”

It also touched on personal responsibility and how we all play a part in society and you shouldn’t dismiss the importance of your own role. I think it goes to show how society can allow injustices to continue simply through inaction by highlighted how it is important to follow what it right. 

“Do you know how many were used to kill innocents? But it wasn’t until it affected my family that I finally did something. That fact will haunt me until I die.”

Alongside the brutality and despair of war, there was of course HOPE and I really liked how this point was written. It reminded you to keep fighting and why you should keep fighting. As I’ve mentioned all our characters are incredibly determined and even motivated by hope and love, so seeing a light shone on the goodness that they fight for was really important. This theme really needs to go alongside war, and I thought it was delivered really well in this book.

“It is a small victory. But even those are hard to come by these days.”
“Love can be more powerful in a battle than planning or strategy. Love keeps us fighting. Love drives us to survive.”
“Life is too short not to hope.”
“And while family can cause pain and make mistakes, it is never a burden. Never.”

The Conclusion

Overall, it was an amazing finale, and I can’t believe this series has ended. I was wrapped up in the characters and plot. I really think Sabaa Tahir went the right way with the ending, with the right amount of action and relationship moments. It was a well suited, emotional end. I think one of the best decisions was making Laia a Kehanni-in-training as it highlighted the power, strength and beauty of stories which seems so symbolic and amazing as we draw this series to a close. I LOVED that touch and I just felt SO connected to what was said about stories in that moment. A perfect way to say goodbye to this series. 

Do not be surprised at the silence. Demand it. For you offer them a gift they will carry with them forever. The gift of story.”


31 thoughts on “Reading ‘A Sky Beyond The Storm’ by Sabaa Tahir | Spoilers and Tears

  1. This!!! Sophie!!! I love this post so much 😍 I too am a victim of Sabaa’s emotional destruction, and I love all the analyzing you did of the themes of this book and the series in general. And the quotes you chose ❤️ Laia and Elias and Helene are definitely amazing in their own ways… I can’t believe this series is over, I’ve grown so attached to these characters 😭

    Great post Sophie 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ahhh.. Thank you so much Abby. It honestly means so much that you enjoyed this post and I’m so sorry I’ve been late replying.
      I know Sabaa really does go into books with emotional destruction in mind because EVERY TIME !!
      Thank you, just whilst reading it I could see these things and I loved them. I really think they added to the books so I had to write them down !!
      I know, I love how different the three main characters are but all so strong and inspirational.
      yesssss, I feel like it was the last series to end that I’ve been reading for years…. so it was emotional !!! I’m so excited (and scared for my emotions) to see what Sabaa does next though.

      Thank you soooo much for reading and commenting !! 💕💕

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is convincing me to do a re-read of the series!! I love the quotes you chose and I think I need to start taking notes while I read as well. I look forward to seeing what Sabaa Tahir writes in the future because this series is so immersive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Honestly I was so tempted to do a re-read every time I worked on this post. I plan to one day but I’ll wait a little bit, haha !!
      But I’m so glad it gave you those feelings too !!
      Yay, thank you. I didn’t realise I saved so many quotes until the end but I loved them all. I would like to make notes on more books as I read too as I really enjoy it when I do !!
      Yesssss, same. I’m excited to see the next steps for her and I think it will be so good as I loved what she was able to do with this series !!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yesss I LOVEEE THIS! I definitely wanted more Helene and Laia 😭! Helene was probably my favourite character too. After Harper died I cried for her because she lost so much 😭. I just want her to be happy!!!! Is that so much to ask?
    But overall it was a great end to the series. All the characters grew so much!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ahhh… Thank you sooooo much !!! 💕
      Same, I think when I had finished Reaper it was the main thing I was looking forward too in Sky so I would have looked to have seen more of Helene and Laia together !!
      Yes, Helene was great and I loved her complexities !! I KNOW, I CAN’T BELIEVE HARPER DIED. Helene deserved Harper and happiness !! And for it to be taken away, so cruel !!
      Definitely a good end I thought as well and the characters really did grow, I loved experiencing it with them !! 💕
      Thank you soooo much for reading and commenting !!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This!! THIS!!!!! This is everything I felt reading this book! This book hurt so. much. and so. deep. Sabaa really had to destroy all my feelings. Why did they have to die like this 😭 Faris dying made me cry. Harper dying broke my heart into a million pieces. Livia dying 😭 I can’t even explain the crushing feeling I felt throughout this book.

    I love the poetic beauty of Keris’s end. I love that Cook actually survived and came back. I’m so mad though that the prophecy really had to make everything look so dire. And I was honestly ready to believe that they all indeed would die because that’s the kind of thing I was pretty sure Sabaa would do 😂😭 I’m glad though that Hel lived. She was also my favorite character, and I love how she was so strong, so fierce, and so determined to save her people. The number of sacrifices she made and was willing to make was terrible especially since I don’t think the Martials would care. But I love her for being who she was anyway. At least she has Musa, Laia, and Elias. Though I am so annoyed and hurt that she couldn’t have Harper too.

    I really love that Sabaa made the villains so layered, so nuanced. They’re not just BAD. There is so much that went into making them who they were, and to be honest, I understood why they did what they did and I couldn’t just completely hate them. Even Marcus when he died, I felt sorry for him 🤦🏾‍♀️ Yet I’d been hoping he would die for two books. The irony lol

    I also love everything you said about Meherya (I can’t think of him as the Nightbringer anymore lol) and Laia. Their circumstances are eerily similar, but they both chose different paths to deal with it. At the end when he let Rehmat take him, that also made me emotional. So much suffering, so much pain, so much hurt that he’d carried for centuries, and all because of those Augurs. I really don’t like the Augurs lol. Honestly, everything is all their fault.

    My heart is broken thinking about this book again, but I love your post so much ✨💕 I’m going to go cry about Harper (oh Harper 😭) and everyone else that was lost now lol

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sorry for the super long comment, but I forgot to add that I also wish there had been more Hel and Laia moments!! I loved the few instances where we had them together and it would have been nice if there were more (when they were talking about boys? The best lol). Okay, I think that’s all now, sorry!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. ahhh… Rukky. I’m so glad we had similar experiences with this book. It really did hurt, like those last like 100 pages really were an emotional wreck but I love the way the emotions were able to come off the page. I know Sabaa really does go straight in for the heart !!!
        Faris’ death was hard. THE SACRIFICE. It gets me every time. Even just thinking about it !!! Harper and Livia were so heart-breaking and Helene was there for them all— so emotionalllllll !!!
        Yeah I think Keris’ end was perfect for that situation (feels so weird to call a death that) but the way it spoke about the world and everything. It felt like a necessary end that conveyed a lot of emotions that were different to your typical ‘death’ scene.
        I know I was happy about Cook but I really didn’t expect it so it was really good !
        To be honest if any author was going to do the ‘and they all died’ prophecy and actually do it, it probably would have been Sabaa. I’m so glad that didn’t happened though, I would have been completely wrecked !!!
        Same, Helene was such a fighter and had such an emotional journey. I was so glad to see where she had come to in the end. She was so strong and determined, and like you said. So. many. Sacrifices. That’s true, I don’t think the martials would care but she continued to, so she was amazing. I’m glad she is still surrounded with kind people too but I would have loved Harper with her as well !!
        YES SABAA DOES VILLAINS AH-MAZINGLY. Some of the best complex and well written villains !! I think understanding the reasons why they do what they do is what really does it and I love how Sabaa went deeper into this, instead of some books where it is briefly mentioned and that’s it. I know, like how does she make us feel that after everything. It really shows her talent and I love it soo much !!
        Thank you, I thought it was interesting to see Meherya and Laia’s links and I felt like it added a lot to this book which I enjoyed. And like you said so much emotion was packed into his story and death making it hit differently. I know (!!!) the Augurs really are to blame !!!
        I know, you can still feel all the emotions when thinking about this book. It going to last forever. THE EMOTIONS.
        Honestly, THANK YOU SOOO MUCH FOR READING AND COMMENTING. I love how long your comment is, it made my day and I loooove talking about this book more (I’m so sorry I’m late replying though).
        ahh… yes I was so ready for lots of Helene and Laia moments so I would have loved more but what we got was sooo good. Yes the talking about boys moment was grand !!
        ahhh.. thank you so much again Rukky !! 💕💕💕


  5. I LOVE THIS POST SO MUCH and reading through your thoughts definitely bought all the tears and emotions back from reading it 😭😭😭💖💖💖 There was something about this book that made me not able to give it a full 5 stars and I couldn’t put my finger on it but now that you’ve mentioned the whole death prophecy thing and how it made it so obvious that none of them would die.. I think it was that for me! 😅

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ahhhh… Thank you soooo much for reading Azrah !! I’m glad it could bring back all the emotions whilst reading the book as I really wanted to remember my experience with this book because I can’t believe this series has ended !! THE EMOTIONS !!

      Yeah like I really enjoyed the finale but I don’t think I would have rated it a full 5 stars either. I’m just not a big fan of the death prophecy thing at all so I could have lived without it tbh but still really good.
      Thank you soooooo much for reading and commenting 💕 (and sorry for the late reply)


  6. This is such a gorgeous, gorgeous review!! I love all the quotes and how in-depth you went! My heart BROKE for Helene, but I’m so happy for Elias and Laia. I couldn’t quite give it 5 stars either, although it was truly so very good. Lovely review💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ahhh… thank you so much Kaya !! 💕💕 So many good quotes in this book, I just kept saving them all haha !! Thank you, I really wanted to remember my experience reading this book so I kinda wrote every thought ahha !!
      I know, HELENE, bless her. It was soooooo sad !! WHY ?? Yes Elias and Laia finally, soooo happy !!
      Yeah there was just a little something but still a really good read. I can’t believe this series has ended, ahhh !!
      Thank you so much for stopping by again 💕 and I’m sorry for the late reply !!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ma’am (oops I’m late to this post but mayhaps expect some spam today) I didn’t fully read your post because I’m like two and a half books behind. But I shall def be coming back to this when I finish this book and am an emotional wreck. Love that for me. K love ya bye xoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. aww… thank you so much Ruby 💕💕 honestly you are the sweetest. ahhh.. I hope you enjoy the last books in this series and get through the emotional wreckage 😂😭 so excited for you !! I would LOVE to hear your thoughts when you finish !!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I just finished this book, and I agree that the main problem of this series is the pacing. It’s way too fast for me. I feel like I would’ve loved the books more if they at least have some moments of peace. Like, just let them talk. That would’ve made us even more attached, and now we just want them to succeed.

    That said, while I did enjoy this book, for the most part, I have to say the final battle was a bit meh. It happened too fast and ended way too abruptly. And I’m not against character deaths, but I feel like Harper’s death was overkill. Helene already lost so much — did she really have to lose everyone she loved??? As for Darin, I can understand him dying (though, personally, I don’t want him to die; he deserved a good life after the hell he’s gone through), but in my opinion, if he were to die, he deserved a better death. Like, he really just dropped dead. I wanted him to battle the Nightbringer before dying. Poor Darin. 😢

    Also, I agree with the villains. They are a strong point of the series. But once again, their deaths could’ve been better. Like, it only took some words to kill them both? Really???

    I know it sounds like I’m complaining, but trust me, I did enjoy this book. Sabaa’s writing style is just *chef’s kiss*, and I would love to pick up more of her works. I’m just a bit disappointed by the final battle and the resolution.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, the fast pace just never allowed me to feel like there was enough exploration of the emotions around the moment. I didn’t get a stand out emotion from what should have been emotional scenes at times. Plus, like you say, having those moments of peace that allow you to process the moment before moving on. Important scenes for the reader for sure.
      I agree actually. The final battle did have moments of feeling like it was anti-climatic. Harper’s death wasn’t needed and if you were going to do a death like that, I feel like more time should have been dedicated to it. Instead, it was almost like a throw-away death if that makes sense. Poor Helene for sure. Darin was so sad– I know what you mean by deserving a better death.
      I do love the villain complexities, just the fact that we heard their story makes such a difference and it was delivered well. True, they could have been harder fought death to make some epic scenes. I did like how it linked to the power of words, but maybe those scenes weren’t the best for that point.
      haha, I know what you mean, sometimes you want to talk about the wrinkles you had even if you enjoyed the book. This one wasn’t my favourite of the series so I had my own issues too. I do love the series as a whole and I’m certainly excited to see what Sabaa does next too.
      Thank you for your comment, I loved reading it and talking about this book with you!! 🥰

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Is 3 am for me now and I just finished reading this book. I read the other 3 before this one was released and had to wait… then let’s add that life happens and totally forgot! So O fine got my hands on it, reread the other three because I wanted all the story fresh (I have never read three book as fast as I did those hahaha) to finally read the last one…

    Your review is SPOT ON! I absolutely love Laia, Elias and Helene, but Helene is definitely my favorite.
    Is wonderful to ser how much the characters grow, specially Laia (who was so naïve and scared) and Helene (who see the wrongs of the Empire, although she wasn’t cruel… she just saw everything as normal and how she was so hard and strong and avoiding to be vulnerable)… how much the changed, without loosing their essence: Laia became stronger and faced difficulty standing strong, but while still having empathy and keeping hear heart; Helene was still strong, but stopped seeing emotions as a weakness and opened up more.

    The villains… oh the villains… yes, they were something else. You couldn’t help hating Keris and despise her with all you being and then all of a sudden a little bit of pity grows when we are shown her vulnerable moments.
    The Meherya… the turmoil of emotions he provokes is huge. He is definitely another of my favorite characters. Such a complex character. LOVED IT!

    Livvy… when I read the part were she died, I actually heard an echo of her laugh. She was just laughing and being herself a few moments before that and all her jokes and sisterly advice came back as a flood… I was like “but, she was just laughing with Helene… how can this be happening???”

    Harper… if Livvy’s death hurt, this one was pure unfairness. Not just for Helene, but for Haper himself and for Elias. I can’t even go through this one. By the way, I knew the moment Helene tells him to stay away… that wasn’t going to happen, but I expected him to just get badly hurt or gives us a scare.

    Faris… that one hurt. This made me cry. I kept hoping that the rest of their friends survived, so his death hit hard (at least we still got Dex)

    Darin… I felt also for Laia when I saw he got killed. I tried thinking that maybe it was better after all the trauma, but he was actually thriving and being happy when he was with Laia. So even when it hurts… I still felt good knowing that Mirra was alive and Elias was back.

    A character I want to mention is Musa: he tugged at my heart. He made me laugh a lot and I thought he was absolutely adorable. Then we know his back story, his suffering and pain and I kept thinking “will he have a break?” The hint that he and Helene may have something is nice. Is actually open to our imagination and not thrown there as a slap on the face. They are both broken and both understand each other.

    I absolutely loved these books. They hit a lot of nerves with all the cruelty and death (as a mom, every time I read a child got killed was a lot to take in), but then you see mercy, empathy, understanding, friendship and love thrive in spite of everything else.
    Oh and is been a while a book made me cry so much! Geez!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha it was a finish in the early hours of the morning book. Life can get in the way like that but it was a great idea to reread the books before the finale, I wish I did that actually. The determination to get to the finale, love it 😂

      Yay, I’m glad you liked (and agree with) my review. Thank youuu ❤️
      They are wonderful characters… but, Helene is special for sure. Their growths were wonderful. I liked Helene’s a lot, for its complexity as she learnt what the empire was like and decided what her role was going to be. I like that a warrior also got to become more vulnerable too~~ i am sooo glad she got that chance.
      Laia growing stronger in each book was very fulfilling to experience as a reader.

      Keris was one of the best villains I’ve read in a YA book. Like you say, you hate her. But then her emotional complexity adds some interesting layers. Sooo good.
      The Meherya had such a strong backstory, and I loved the complexity too.

      Livvy’s death was so sad. She captured a lot of joy and she brought out a different side to Helene with ease. They had a lovely relationship and her death was a shock.

      Harper’s death haunts me the most. It would have been lovely to see Elias & his relationship develop I agree. And, like you, I loved Harper too. Good prediction, after an touching speech, it can make you nervous for whats to come.

      Faris 😢 seeing all these deaths listed reminds me how many were lost in the finale. The cost of war indeed.

      Darin was sooo sad. He had a lot of trauma still to survive, but I had hoped he would’ve got that chance.
      Mirra coming back surprised me but it was a good surprise. Elias returning was needed for me, it was a wonderful moment when it happened.

      Musa was the funniest character of the series. Very easy to like but definitely had a lot of hardship. I thought the potential of him and Helene was sweet and I definitely like the idea of them when developed. They definitely could form a close, supportive bond.

      I am so happy to hear your adore these books and thank you sooo much for sharing your thoughts. It was so nice to read and I love your passion. It did go to dark places and the death of children is always very harrowing (I can’t imagine the emotions you must experience as a mother). I’m glad the series made a point to bring in light and hope in these moments, and didn’t do the haunting acts just for the sake of it.
      It was an emotional roller coaster, but very well done.


  10. As I’ve said elsewhere I’ve finally read the Ember Quartet & I adored it. In all honestly I think the finale was my favourite of the series which I really wasn’t expecting having seen a few negative responses to it. I really fell for the romance in this one though. Throughout I’ve adored the friendships, enemies and family bonds but it wasn’t until now that I connected to the romance. Which was pretty damn devastating in one case!!! I must just love angst I suppose 😅

    Helene has turned out to be my favourite character too. Back in the first book when she wanted to go to the Commandant about Laia & Izzi I could have slapped her so it really shows how much she’s grown over the course of the book. Her viewpoint, as a female warrior in such a conflicted place, has always been a highlight for me though. I loved the unexpected route of Elias over the novels too with the Soul Catcher storyline. It was so interesting watching him lose himself & struggle back through. I agree that it’s Laias story more than anyone else’s though & I love how much her strength continually grows.

    One of the highlights for me in this book was the Nightbringers POV, especially the scenes where he was looking back on his past. I’d love to have seen more of his interactions with those he’d gotten pieces of the star from. I agree that the Commandant could have used more page time. I’d have loved to have seen a few of her thoughts concerning Elias too considering the change of attitude towards him. I wish I knew more of her history with her father too as he’s surprised me over the course of the books, especially accepting Laia as one line mentioned.

    This book was so devastating time & time again. I didn’t see the Harper bit coming!! I guess after everyone that had been taken from Helene that she’d be left with more than who she was. It’s the same with Laia though. I’m glad she can still have contact with Mirra though , I loved that she & the jinn turned up for her story like that. Also this quote:

    ‘All of us trained to tell stories have a bit of magic in our bones.’ 😍😍

    Fingers crossed that I finally get to more of your fantasy favourites soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah… So glad you read and adored the ember Quartet!! Such a strong series! Wow, the finale is your favourite, that’s great 😍 I can definitely understand why you found the romance strongest in the last one, it took more precedent . I felt strongest towards them being endgame here too. Yes, it loved to focus on anguish at times 😂

      Helene was an amazing character which is surreal to say when you think back to the first book, where she was mostly a thorn in the side!! Such a compelling arc and her position made his POV so interesting. I loved her conflict especially too!

      I could never have pictured Elias’ storyline going the way it did, focusing on emotions and his struggle. I enjoyed it being such an unique plot though.

      Laia owned the heart of the story for sure. Her strength was wonderful to see especially as she didn’t always see it in herself, it made me route for her more.

      It was really interesting to see the Nightbringer’s past explored more, he felt so right in himself and had an epic journey to get to this point. A prequel novel could definitely be written about him.
      I’d have loved more commandant page time– she must have some conflicting thoughts herself especially around Elias. I could spend days learning more about her and the past. I never thought too much on her father but you are right, he was a surprising character at times and looking into his relationship with his daughter would be interesting!

      It was a devastating journey. I can’t believe Harper’s death, even now! Helene lost sooo much and Laia too. So upsetting!
      I liked that Mirra turned up as well!

      Ahh.. What a stunning quote. Some amazing lines in the books! 😍😍

      Aw.. I hope you enjoy any you read ❤️ thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me 💜

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you ❤️❤️ yes I really wasn’t expecting that so it was a lovely surprise. I’m glad it wasn’t just me that felt that way then. And it certainly did!!

        Yes it really surprised me considering some of her actions back then. As soon as her POV came in I was hooked on it though. And she seemed to grow increasingly likeable over time. It was really well done!!

        Yes it was definitely an interesting direction to go in. I loved the involvement of the ghosts too. And his struggles to feel once more.

        That’s so true!! She was so much stronger than she knew.

        Ooh I’d so love a prequel novel like that!! It could end up covering all the pieces of the star or even his life before he turned to revenge. Or even a mixture of both.
        Yes she must do. I’m surprised she wasn’t in the finale more as she was the cause of a lot of the clashes previously. I thought he was going to be nastier than he was tbh given his status and daughter. So how things turned out really surprised me.

        I know I can’t believe that as they felt perfect together. Both of them lost so many people. It was so crushing on numerous occasions. I wasn’t expecting her reappearance!!

        There are. I love all the ones you shared too ❤️

        Thank you. And thanks for being so patient with how long it took me to finally get to the series 😅

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Lovely! 💜 Not at all! I am glad those two got a happy ending with each other at least.

          I know! I bet if I reread ember I will be shocked by some of her early actions. She had a great arc and definitely became more likeable!

          The ghosts were interesting and all those emotions!
          Exactly 💪🏻

          It would be a great story and the fans would be there for it. I know there are the graphic novel prequels for the series, but they seemed to be following Laia.

          Me too, I expected more from her in the finale too.
          He was a surprising character, not what I would have pictured at all.

          I know 😭 they really did, I think Sabaa wanted to show the cost of war.
          Me neither!

          Soo good 😍 and thank you ❤️

          Haha it has been great hearing all your thoughts on it 😍❤️

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yes me too, they certainly deserved some happiness after everything that they’d been through.

            Yes I’d imagine so. She definitely had a great arc like you said though & it was so interesting to watch her grow.

            Yes so true.

            Ah I think i may have seen those now that you mention it but I haven’t read them. I’ll hopefully get them out of the library one day to see what they’re like. But yes I think lots of people would love that story too.

            It’s a shame as she seemed manipulative enough to have more plans of her own.

            Yes I think you’re right.

            Thank you ❤️❤️ I’m glad I finally got to read the series.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s