A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir brings the Ember series to a close in a breathtaking but satisfying conclusion
From the Blurb:
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.
A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir begins with The Nightbringer’s creation thousands of years ago, and then his search for Laia. The book then jumps to Laia’s POV as she and Helene prepare to recruit Princess Nikla to their cause in a mission that ultimately fails. It’s a powerful opening that reminds the reader of all that’s a stake in a few short chapters.
The tension only mounts from there as the gang tries to figure out The Nightbringer’s true goal. The first half of the book is slow as we switch between Helene gathering an army and Laia setting out to bring Elias back. As their paths converge, the pace picks up and the story becomes more action-driven.
Tahir also takes time to emphasize the passage of time in the book. It takes months to get between places, and weeks to gather allies. Helene even remarks that her nephew grows a new tooth during one of her absences. This, combined with political discussions, were a reminder that rebellions aren’t built overnight.
On top of that, Tahir continues building on her world with more importance given to the Jinn. She reveals their history through various characters, so it doesn’t bog down the story at any moment and keeps the mystery alive until right before the climax.
As action-driven as the book is, Tahir’s characters are at the heart of her story. Their character arcs reach their peak here, with Laia embracing her destiny, Elias fighting for his freedom, and Helene struggling to find inner peace when war is all she’s known. In fact, Helene’s journey in this book was my favourite of the three because I had no idea what would happen to her even late into the book. Ultimately, I was satisfied with the direction Tahir took.
As with previous books, Tahir’s effort extends to the secondary characters. They all exist beyond the main plot with their lives and personalities enriching the story. Darin and Musa stand out because their dynamic with Laia brings out a lighter side in her, while Livia does the same for Helene.
However, Tahir goes even further and dedicates part of the book to her antagonists’ backstories. By including the Nightbringer’s POV, how he still affects Laia, and his history, Tahir made me empathize with him. This treatment served to humanise both him and Keris to a lesser extent, adding layers to each character. Out of all the antagonists, the Karkauns are the only ones that remain one dimensional.
The culmination of the Ember series had a lot to live up to and A Sky Beyond the Storm does exactly that. While the book has its highs and lows, it fits into the series as a perfect conclusion. I’ll leave you with a quote that stood out to me as it represents the heart of the Ember series:
“I have learned to love you these past few weeks.” She says it casually, as if it is not extraordinary to gift someone with love.A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir