Series: Gates of Thread and Stone #1
Published by Skyscape on August 5, 2014
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
In the Labyrinth, we had a saying: keep silent, keep still, keep safe.
In a city of walls and secrets, where only one man is supposed to possess magic, seventeen-year-old Kai struggles to keep hidden her own secret—she can manipulate the threads of time. When Kai was eight, she was found by Reev on the riverbank, and her “brother” has taken care of her ever since. Kai doesn’t know where her ability comes from—or where she came from. All that matters is that she and Reev stay together, and maybe one day move out of the freight container they call home, away from the metal walls of the Labyrinth. Kai’s only friend is Avan, the shopkeeper’s son with the scandalous reputation that both frightens and intrigues her.
Then Reev disappears. When keeping silent and safe means losing him forever, Kai vows to do whatever it takes to find him. She will leave the only home she’s ever known and risk getting caught up in a revolution centuries in the making. But to save Reev, Kai must unravel the threads of her past and face shocking truths about her brother, her friendship with Avan, and her unique power.
Gates of Thread and Stone is a strong debut from Lori M. Lee and a wonderful start to a new fantasy series. It’s got a little something for all readers and I think it’s a great introduction to fantasy if that’s not a genre you’re familiar with.
The story starts off strong and continues that way throughout. I was hooked from the very first page. The pacing was fabulous and I never felt the urge to put the book down. It’s a quick read that will leave readers wanting more. There is mystery, romance, action, and deception woven through every page. I never could guess what was going to happen next. (Until the very end when I had a tiny inkling that something might happen!) Like I said, this book really has a little something for everyone. Also, the fantasy aspect of it wasn’t quite as strong as other young adult fantasy novels like Rae Carson’s or Leigh Bardugo’s. I don’t mean that in a bad way though. I think this would be a great introduction to the fantasy genre for people who may be a little intimidated by some of the other fantasy novels out there.
The characters were a little bit lacking for me. I never felt truly invested in their stories. When one of them was hurt or taken, I didn’t get all that upset. Kai, Avan, Reev, and the others felt a little unreal to me. I never got enough information about them to feel like I knew their stories. I know this is only the first in a series but by the end of the book I felt like I should have cared more than I did for the characters. They were far from terrible though. Kai was strong and self-sufficient. She didn’t require saving every other page. She could take care of herself and in fact, she could help others too. Avan and Kai shared a lot of characteristics and I think that was part of why they fought so much. They both wanted to look out for the other when really both of them could easily look out for themselves. Avan was a true gentleman though. He was protective of Kai but he didn’t try to stifle her independence. I liked that he was confident enough in himself to not need to put her down. Reev was the most lacking for me. I liked him but there were a lot of mysteries surrounding him and I feel like some of those mysteries still weren’t cleared up at the end of Gates of Thread and Stone.
Kai’s ability was another big issue of mine for most of the book. It went unexplained for quite some time. Kai would use her ability but as the reader, I didn’t have a clue what she was doing, how she was doing it, or how it could possibly help her. Not until one of the last few chapters was her ability explained and I felt confused about it even then. I think there will be a lot more exploring of Kai’s powers in the next book.
Overall, Gates of Thread and Stone didn’t wow me like I hoped but it did get me interested enough to check out the next book. Fantasy fans will enjoy this one.
What others are saying about Gates of Thread and Stone:
Hell Is Cold’s review: “Yet another very, very mediocre novel that tries to be whimsical and epic in scale but ultimately falls short in all respects.”
Library of a Book Witch’s review: “I will continue on to the second one being that I’m really curious what it’s about.”
The Starry-Eyed Revue’s review: “Things definitely take an unexpected turn toward the end of this book, both in terms of plot and world-building, but I’m on board.”