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A Sky Beyond the Storm

Image source: Sabaa Tahir/Twitter


R E V I E W – B O O K


Tasnia Shahrin


While in 2018, the release of A Reaper of the Gates was really exciting for me, but the book ended up slightly disappointing. Nevertheless, the magnificent story telling of the first two books still had me waiting for the fourth book and I hoped that A Sky Beyond the Storm would redeem the series for me. 

A Sky Beyond the Storm, Sabaa Tahir’s much anticipated novel of the Ember in the Ashes series, picks up a few months after the ending of the third book, A Reaper of the Gates. In the fourth book, several things are new — Laia and Helene’s close friendship being one of them. After spending the majority of the series as enemies, their sudden friendship feels really unexpected and completely out of nowhere. It was not a bad element at all; I just wish the transition was a bit smoother. 

Another epic plot twist was how Keris ended up being a stronger villain and the Commandment — a strong villainous presence in the first three books that was hardly present in the fourth book. Instead, we have Meherya, who is very much unsure if he truly loves Laia or wants to kill her. Also, his tragic backstory felt really out of space and he seemed like he had no idea of what he wanted to do, and that was another departure from earlier character development. 

A really disappointing aspect of the novel was the author’s constant attempts to redeem the Nightbringer and Keris. It may be just my personal opinion, but I believe that not every villain needs or deserves sympathy or redemption, because bringing the evil components unapologetically often makes the story more intriguing. But here, the Nightbringer gave up on his big plan because of a sappy speech given by Laia, whereas Keris got a happy ending despite rising as a villain. Thus, both villains were utterly useless by the end.

Apart from that, every character in this series was shown to have random superpowers that appeared at random times to move the plot forward, but disappeared when they were truly needed. Laia has invisibility powers until she does not; Helene has healing powers until it no longer works. There is also another main character who is suddenly introduced in the fourth book, but has not even been hinted at for the other three and not explained well. 

Elias remains the Soul Catcher in A Sky Beyond the Storm, even though he spends none of the book in his assumed role. Instead, the entire book is focused on if he will ever remember his past and his love for Laia, while Laia spends half the book pining and trying to seduce Elias. I have been on the Laia and Elias ship since the very first book. However, in the end, this just did not work for me. My Elias and Laia ship would have preferred it if Elias had not become the Soul Catcher at all, since it ruined their love story.

If I am making this book sound like a complete fail, then it stops here. Because this book did have some positives, too. Very unexpectedly and in a bizarre turn of events, the only character I truly loved in this book was Helene. I absolutely hated her in the first two books — here, she was the only character who seemed like a real person to me. I have read other reviews where people mourned and wrote that she deserved better, but to me, her story was the only one that appeared believable to me.

To conclude, it was Sabaa Tahir’s majestic writing style that made me stay and wait for all these four books. Tahir is a beautiful story-teller who can create a spell-binding atmosphere with her words. Like a moth to flame, she attracts the readers into the story that is simply irresistible. Despite the situational flaws I found in this book, the writing style continued to be breathtaking and finally reading the concluding book was like a breath I needed after holding it for so long.

In the end, I will say that I liked where the story concluded, but I just felt that A LOT could have been left out of the last two books, and they could have been condensed into one. If you loved A Reaper at the Gates, you will probably love this one too. But, if you found A Reaper to be lacking after the amazing first two books, you probably will not like this one as much.

 


The writer, a proud Slytherin, is a part of TDA Editorial Team.

 

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