Friday, March 6, 2015

Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee

The Basics:
Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee
YA Fantasy/Dystopia
Book One in the Gates of Thread and Stone series
Published August 5, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon Goodreads

Why I picked up this book:

The covers for this series blew me away (The Infinite is due to release on March 10th and I'll be reviewing it next week, if all goes according to plan.)

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.

My thoughts:

I really love cover for Gates of Thread and Stone and that made me oddly hesitant to start reading: I think I feared that the book itself would not live up to my first impression. Fortunately, it did not take long for me to be entirely hooked by the story. 

The main thread of the book, Reev's disappearance, happens very early, and from then on, main character Kai is focused on finding him. Well, she's focused on that *and* the intriguing Avan, who seems determined to stick by her side. I was definitely more into the romance than the main plot, but I think the main plot was still pretty strong. Kai's focus on her goal - finding and if necessary rescuing Reev - is admirable, and I appreciated that unlike in so many other books, she wasn't completely sidetracked by her attraction to Avan. That said, I was hoping that the relationship between these two snowballed a little faster than it did. 

I thought that Gates has some really unique worldbuilding elements (the Infinites, who are god-like, and their descendants, for one, as well as the mash-up of fantasy and dystopia), and there was just enough worldbuilding flavour to keep me interested without infodumping. I was pretty willing to go with the flow, and while I did have some questions (and wanted to know more about the history and geography of this world), they didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of the story. I loved the division of the city, the little cultural details that conveyed the class differences as much as the attitudes. 

This story has a very intimate feel even though there are some really big (like... city-wide, at the least) consequences to the potential outcomes of the plot. I saw this as a reflection of Kai's narrow focus - I thought she was much more concerned about her brother than the big picture. 

This book does end on quite a cliffhanger - which makes it particularly fortunate that the second book is due for release next week! I'm looking forward to reading it in the next few days.

Bottom line:

Gates of Thread and Stone is a very enjoyable YA fantasy/dystopia story. I thought the feel of this world was great - there were enough details that I could easily picture this place in my mind. I'm hooked - bring on book two!   

4.5 stars
For fans of not-quite love triangles, YA, fantasy with a healthy dash of dystopia

But don't just take my word for it! I grabbed a few links to other blog reviews of Gates of Thread and Stone:

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