Book Review: A Sky Beyond the Storm – Sabaa Tahir
Blogmas Day 20
Title: A Sky Beyond the Storm
Series: An Ember in the Ashes #4
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: December 1st, 2020 (Razorbill)
Synopsis: 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.
By 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.
Following the events at Antium, the Martial Empire has been plunged into chaos. The imprisoned jinn are free and wreaking their long-awaited vengeance on humans. The Nightbringer has deadlier plans that stretch far beyond mere vengeance however, and self-declared Empress Keris Veturia takes city after city, massacring dissenters. Laia, now allied with the Blood Shrike, vows to destroy the Nightbringer even as she struggles with recent losses. Meanwhile in the Waiting Place, the Soul Catcher only wants to forget his past life and get on with his new duties, but to uphold his oath to Mauth, he must once again step out of his lands to prevent the oncoming destruction.
It feels like I’ve been waiting forever to read this book, and A Sky Beyond the Storm was undoubtedly one of the most satisfying conclusions to a series that I’ve read in recent years. The writing as always, was stunning, and I maintain this as one of the most quotable series ever. The pacing was perfect, and while not always filled with action, it will keep you turning the pages as the tension builds up for the final battle, which, by the way was absolutely epic.
“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”
Helene is a character I didn’t really start liking until A Reaper At the Gates. It felt like she allowed her sense of loyalty, whether deserved or not, to dictate her actions even when she knew it was wrong, but with the loss of Antium, now finally has her priorities straight. Her’s has been the most incredible arc of the three, and while I understand that what happens in this book serves to show that the hardships she has been through has made her stronger and a better person, Helene deserved so much better. Also, with how pivotal to the plot Helene continues to be, I don’t really understand why she isn’t on the cover of this book.
As for Elias and Laia, I don’t know what to say without spoilers. Laia has grown so much since book 1, and has become such a strong character, determined to fight even when things seem hopeless. We also finally get some explanation as to what her magic is and how she has it. I really liked the way Elias came back to himself, and that it was a gradual change rather than all at once, showing him struggling between being the Soul Catcher and the humanity that is still within him. Both their journeys were wonderful and everything I wanted from this book.
“Nightbringer was the name humans gave him. Along with the King of No Name. But before that, he had another name.
“Meherya,” I say. “Beloved.””
Getting to know about the Nightbringer’s past was probably one of my favourite parts of this book. There have already been many hints that he’s not quite the typical evil villain and that there is much more to his story, and it turned out to be really sad when all was said and done. The Commandant, while as deranged as ever, largely took a backseat to the Nightbringer in this book, but I do feel like she could have had a better resolution.
“Emifal firdaant. May death claim me first.”
As expected, this book held nothing back on the emotional stakes, and just when you think a character is safe, they’re probably not. One thing I will say about the character deaths is that yes, they were heartbreaking but not unnecessary or just for shock value. They’re a natural progression of the plot, and we actually do get some real closure over it all, which is something I’ve never seen in any other book. Doesn’t make it hurt any less though because I went and got attached to fictional characters and I won’t give away anything, but why, Sabaa, why couldn’t you have just given them their happily ever after?? 😭😭😭
So was this the best book in the series? I don’t know – Torch, and especially Reaper are extremely hard to live up to, so I’d have to say no, but Sky, in it’s own right is a masterpiece if only for how everything came together in a beautiful, if bittersweet ending. Overall, this was an amazing read, and it’s hard to believe this series is actually over and that we’re saying goodbye to Elias, Laia and Helene with this book, but despite all the emotional roller coaster I’ve just been on, I thoroughly enjoyed what was a fitting conclusion to this saga. Highly recommended!
Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
All reviews in this series: