September 15, 2014

Diversiverse Review: Gates of Thread and Stone

Gates of Thread and Stone First in a series
By Lori M. Lee
Available now from Skyscape (Amazon)
Review copy

Kai lives with her brother Reev in the Labyrinth, a poor part of Ninurta.  She delivers messages, he bounces, and somehow they make ends meet.  But one day Reev disappears, apparently pressed into service for an outlaw.  Kai heads out with her best friend Avan to rescue him.

I loved GATES OF THREAD AND STONE.  There were small things here and there that bothered me, but I was really swept away by the novel.  Kai can manipulate time, which is a very dangerous secret indeed.  It's a power she has trouble resisting using, because who hasn't wanted to make time slow down or speed up at times?  But as amazing as it is, it can't help her rescue Reev.  The devotion between the siblings was very sweet, and definitely part of what drew me in.

I liked that GATES OF THREAD AND STONE was a bit ambivalent about their co-dependance.  Avan is clearly interested in Kai, but unsure of how much room she has in her life for anyone but Reev.  Kai's not good at giving him positive signs.  Of course, she's wary because she knows she's a homebody and Avan is a partier.  He has a reputation, well known for sleeping around to secure places to stay and escape his abusive father.  Kai, who is utterly devoted to her family, has trouble understanding that Avan does not want to go home even if his father no longer actually physically abuses him anymore.  It was a pretty realistic flaw, even though I wished at times she would understand Avan better.

I also really loved the world.  I liked getting a sense of the city, and the division between the poor and rich.  When Kai and Avan leave the city, it really broadens her world (and not just geographically).  The true nature of the despotic ruler was quite a reveal, and really opened the way for much of what happens in the rest of the novel.  I'm very intrigued about what will happen next in this series, given the upheaval the main characters cause and go through themselves.  There are a lot of powerful forces at work behind the scenes of their lives.

I recommend GATES OF THREAD AND STONE to fans of desperate siblings, desperate best friends, slow burning romance, girls rescuing boys, and people forging new lives for themselves against the odds.  I think the style will appeal to fans of Robin McKinley.


Diversiverse is hosted by Aarti of BookLust.  It is all about finding new authors, from a whole range of backgrounds, to read.  Quoting:
Reading diversely may require you to change your book-finding habits.  It ABSOLUTELY does not require you to change your book reading habits.
Lori M. Lee, the author of GATES OF THREAD AND STONE, is a debut author and lives in the United States.  She was born in Laos and immigrated to a Thailand refugee camp before immigrating to the US.  Fun fact from her website: "She doesn’t know her real birth date. Her legal one was given to her in the refugee camp. Apparently, the mountain villages don’t keep birth records. This means she is allowed to lie about her age."



16 comments:

  1. This sounds quite good - and I love Robin McKinley. I'll be adding it to my list. Thanks for the review!

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  2. Lee sounds like an author to keep an eye on. I'm currently tired of YA novels where the more privileged one of a couple can't/won't understand what it's like to be the other, but I like your description of the plot.

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    1. Kai isn't actually more privileged in many ways. Kai and her brother work blue-collar-type jobs, whereas Avan comes from a family that owns a store. While Avan is bisexual, that doesn't seem to be an issue in this world. But, just as in real life, privilege is complicated.

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  3. Sounds interesting! i haven't heard of this one.

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    1. It's really good! It's from one of the Amazon imprints, which don't have great publicity.

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  4. Girls rescuing boys is always a winner with me! Haha This does sound good. I fantasy novels with strong world building and sense of place. It sounds like this book has that.

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    1. It certainly worked for me! This book was like my catnip.

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  5. I was attracted to the cover at first, but wasn't sure if I'll like it. Now, I'm definitely adding it to my wishlist! Since I love "desperate siblings, desperate best friends, slow burning romance, girls rescuing boys, and people forging new lives for themselves against the odds" and am a Robin McKinley fan to boot, I absolutely should read it, huh :D

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    1. Glad I could push you over the edge! (And there is always the library to minimize risk!)

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  6. This sounds right up my alley! I love the complications that come with being able to manipulate time. Also, I LOVE the premise of a girl saving a boy.

    Thanks very much for participating in A More Diverse Universe!

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    1. Thanks for hosting - I always have fun during this event.

      And yeah, a huge part of the appeal was reading about a girl desperate to save her brother instead of a boy desperate to save her sister. I also liked that she had to really work to implement a rescue.

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  7. Liviana, I don't usually read supernatural books, but your review would make me take a second look at this series.

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  8. Oooh, this sounds like something I'd really enjoy. Thanks for the great review!

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