Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Gates of Thread and Stone

The city of Ninurta heavily relies on an extreme class system where the affluent people live in the beautiful White Court while the poor are forced to live where they can in the Labyrinth. The ruler and his army are the only ones allowed to have magic, but Kai, with the ability to manipulate time, hides in fear of punishment. Kai was abandoned as a child and adopted by Reev. Her adopted brother is her whole world and they make sure to tell each other their whereabouts and make sure the other is safe. One day, Reev disappears with no trace and Kai vows to save her only family. It seems that the Black Rider, the only opposition to their magical ruler, has kidnapped him taken him to the Void, a very dangerous place, surrounded by gargoyles and wilderness. Kai and her friend Avan venture there and find that their whole way of life is a lie. Will they ever find Reev?

Gates of Thread and Stone is richly imagined and vividly rendered. I could easily visualize all the parts of Ninurta: the Void, the Labyrinth, the White Court, the Districts, and the Outlands. Kai's hero's journey takes her into each place and it felt like I was there. Ninurta is a typical fantasy world with magic and without technology, but there are small signs that it used to be our world. The people used to worship gods before their ruler showed himself to have magical powers. They have defunct artifacts from the past that are our every day appliances. I wish this aspect was explored more, but it may be in future books.

Kai is a cool character because she is fiercely loyal and fights to the death for her loved ones. However, her personality is a little hard to relate to. It just took me a while to connect with her, especially when she seemed selfish and much too reliant on other people. I also wish her powers were explored a little more, but she spent most of the book hiding them to avoid detection. Avan is also a fine character and he spend much of the book hiding his motives, so he was also hard to get a read on. The most significant thing about him was that he is pretty. Their romance was cute and felt like an organic part of the story. For me, the most fully realized characters were the minor ones. Irra, the Black Rider, in particular had a unique speech pattern and I could see his character easily.

I especially enjoyed the ending even though revelation after revelation is just dropped on the reader. It left the story hugely open for more books and I can't wait to see what happens next.

My rating: 4.5/5

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