Friday, 6 March 2015

Book Review: Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee

Gates of Thread and Stone (Gates of Thread and Stone #1) by Lori M. Lee
Publication Date: August 5th, 2014
Format: Physical copy (my own copy).

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.
Alright. I want to begin this review by stating one thing: I love magic. Give me a story that involves magic and there's a really good chance I'll want to snatch it up. There's so much potential with magic and so much you can do with it.

Combining magic and time manipulation? Yay! Give me the book now, please! (Of course, the lovely cover and the hardcover art doesn't hurt it, either).

This story, we focus on a girl named Kai. She's determined to stay out of trouble. After all, all she really wants to do is survive and live a normal life. Well, normal as in... working hard to keep a roof over her head and food in her belly. Working hard to make sure her brother, Reev, doesn't have to worry about her twenty-four seven. Despite all the issues, they're still doing better than most people in their position I'd imagine.

The gears begin moving forward in motion when, one night, Reev never returns back home to her... and she will travel beyond the walls- beyond everything she knew- to find out where her brother could be and why they would take him from her. Where we discover that the walls around her city keep more than freedom... and danger.

The topic of magic was touched in this book, but not as much as I would have liked it to be. But I am slightly biased, all things considering, because I love all things magic. Although there was one thing that had been brought up a few times, but has never been brought up: how is it that others could see what Kai was doing with her ability? Could they see her suddenly move faster than usual? Could they see her 'reaching' for the threads even through they themselves couldn't see the threads at all? Other than how the magic was connected to descendants of the Infinite and how rare they are, nothing else was really elaborated on. Hopefully they'll be more information about it in the third book since I feel like there's going to be more focus on it then. Reasons are... well, spoilers for the second book.

The romance... I feel like that, despite it not being there that much, that it was sort of unnecessary? What romance scenes that were there throughout the book didn't... feel like it was romantic at all.. I don't know how to explain it. I guess part of my confusion comes from the fact that I've seen some of the reviews for this book. Some of the complaints were because this book was too romance-heavy. I've read heavy-romance books. This is definitely not one of them. There were hints of it, but nothing too horrible.

I'm still on the fence about Mason, though. He helped Kai a lot with training and traveling and such, but as soon as I noticed that he had even a little hint of a romantic notion to her... ugh. Unnecessary third wheel in the romance. With Avan, okay- they spent a lot of time with each other. It's more plausible, in my opinion, but when your focus should be on saving your brother... I can't see how she found the time to even think about potentially seeing someone in a romantic sort of way.

... yeah, I'm biased.

I do love the characters. Famine, Kai, Avan- I love them all.They were characters I could connect with, even though there are some times with Kai I wanted to shake her lightly when she was focused on saving Reeve- or when she was close enough to actually save him. She's so focused on him that she can't think straight. If it wasn't for Avan, she probably would have been in trouble.
For character development: Avan... well, alright, he did change... but without seeing his side of the story I don't know how much he DID change, you know? Reeve ended up being more headstrong than before. Kai became wiser, I think. She learned how to lead and handle herself in stressful situations which is very useful. But, at some points, it felt like for Kai and Avan that things were just... handed to them? They left Ninurtia to fine Famine? Didn't take very long. Fighting gargoyles? A bit of a struggle? Alright. Thankfully, this changes a bit in the second book- but you didn't hear that from me.

I want to find out more about this world. I want to read about how and why it became the way it did when Ninu was in power. Why did he get into power and how? Tell me WHY all these people suffered this way and were they always like the way they were? Why were all the Kahl's (forgive me if that's misspelled, I'm slightly tired at the moment) killed off? TELL ME MORE ABOUT THE MAGIC DARNIT!! I want to know more about Kai's magic of time travel, please!!

Overall: it was a good read. I never felt like I was about to pull my hair out save for when Kai was too blinded, in a sense, to think properly when saving her brother. Otherwise, I feel like she has a good head on her shoulders. It was an enjoyably read. It's a good first book to help set up into the next book: The Infinite (review coming soon). Plus side, as minimal as it was, I feel like the romance wasn't too heavy like most YA books. For me, it almost felt like it wasn't there/ too forced/ I don't even know how to explain it. So, if you don't care much about the romance, no fear. You're better off finding a book more focused on romance.

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