Title: Gates of Thread and Stone
Author: Lori M. Lee
Genre: Fiction, YA Fantasy, Magic, Dystopian
Publication Date: 5th August 2014
‘Keep silent, keep still, keep safe.’
(Phew, I just about managed to read this by the end of the month!)
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.
This is the first YA fantasy book I have read in a long time, and I loved it! Kai was a really strong heroine, and her power was fascinating. I do wish I could have seen more of her magic at work in the book, but there are a few sequels to develop this further. Avan was certainly an interesting companion for Kai, though as he holds many secrets, he spends an awful lot of time being vague and dismissive; at times this did become a bit annoying. I did however love the chemistry between him and Kai, and the surprise beginnings of a love triangle when the pair meet Mason. I wasn’t sure who to root for…
Human minds are fragile things. Supply them just enough magic and miracles to keep their reverence, but not enough to challenge what they think they know of the world.
The world in which Kai lives is really quite unique. I can only describe it as Dystopian Fantasy – traditional fantasy elements with a science fiction edge. I found it fascinating! My favourite part of this world were the metal animals known as ‘Grays’; these can be modded and are run by energy stones – more machines than anything else. I also loved the Gargoyles, a refreshing enemy beyond the wall.
And you never knew what a person could do fueled by hope.
Just a little something I didn’t like – I felt there was a lot of dialogue. I love it when characters communicate, but there was an awful lot of talking. I’d love to know if this is a trait of YA fantasy, as I find that adult fantasy is much more descriptive.
My biggest criticism however is the ending. I think writing about time manipulation must be difficult, and the final scenes of the book are where Kai uses her powers the most. I kept forgetting what speed time was going along at, and it was pretty tricky to visualise and keep up. Maybe it’s just me? I think it would work wonderfully as a film though! However, the ending in general was very unpredictable and bittersweet, enough to make me what to continue reading the story in book two.
Star Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ (4/5)
What’s everyone else’s verdict on this book? I know I’ll certainly be reading the sequel!