Book two of Gates of Thread and Stone series
By Lori M. Lee
Available now from Skyscape (Amazon)
Read my review of Gates of Thread and Stone
Last year, I fell in love with GATES OF THREAD AND STONE, the debut novel from Lori M. Lee. This year I get the privilege of reviewing the sequel, THE INFINITE, and interviewing Lori for the official blog tour. I loved that THE INFINITE expanded the world of the first book, which consisted of not much more than a single city. When a messenger visits from across the Wastelands, from a city no one in Ninurta realized existed, Kai's world gets bigger. Especially as she's one of the envoys sent to help rescue the other city from a monster lizard invasion.
Reev and Avan are really only present at the beginning and end of the book, but their relationships are still very important to Kai and the changes within them hang over the whole of THE INFINITE. Reev and Kai love each other unconditionally, but she suspects that her brother is hiding something from her. He also has a tendency to be overprotective, and Kai now knows that she can protect herself. Avan, meanwhile, is no longer quite himself due to the events at the end of GATES OF THREAD AND STONE. Kai loves Avan, but neither she nor Avan know whether he is actually the boy she loves.
Lanathrill, the new city, gives Kai some new perspective. She discovers options she didn't know she had, discovers things she might not've with Reev and Avan hovering over her. Since the end of the last book, she's lost the ability to use her powers. I found her surprisingly nonchalant about this, upset but not actively doing anything to regain an integral part of herself. Especially when it would come in handy on her trip.
I must give Lori props for one of the most horrifying scenes I remember reading lately. It was visceral, upsetting, and I kept hoping it would turn out to not be as bad as it seemed. Yet it was. It's a real turning point in the book, one that made it even easier to get swept into Kai's turbulent world. THE INFINITE is a pulse-pounding sequel, and I can't wait for the series to grow even more depth in the third book.
1. Much of GATES OF THREAD AND STONE and THE INFINITE take place within a single, labyrinthine city: Ninurta. What were some of your inspirations for this city?
Well, the city itself isn’t very labyrinthine. It’s just the East Quarter, the slums of Ninurta, that’s earned that description. The East Quarter is made up of an enormous cube of stacked freight containers that the inhabitants have slowly converted into living spaces, which they’ve dubbed the Labyrinth. That’s where Kai lives. The Labyrinth was inspired by the Walled City in Hong Kong. It was once the most densely populated place in the world until it was demolished some decades ago.
Once I’d established the Labyrinth, the rest of the city came easily, because I asked myself, “In what kind of city would this place exist?”
2. There's been a rising demand for more diversity in children's and YA fiction. What is the importance of diversity in fiction for you?
Diversity is necessary in everything I write, and I’d love to see it more in what I’m reading. Stories should reflect the world around us, which is filled with so many different people and cultures. I also want my children to see themselves reflected in the books they read and the shows they watch. It’s a sign that we’re not nearly where we need to be that my daughter still delightedly goes, “Hey, she’s Asian!” whenever there’s an Asian person on a book cover because it’s so rare.
3. How does it feel to have your second book coming out? Is it more or less nerve-wracking than your debut?
It’s less nerve-wracking in that I know what to expect now. And it’s more nerve-wracking in that I’m worried about disappointing fans of the first book. It’s a haze of anxiety, chocolate, and hot cocoa basically lol. (Yes, I pair chocolate with... more chocolate.)
4. Is there anything you wish you could change about GATES OF THREAD AND STONE after writing the sequel?
I try not to think about things like that lol. Once the book is published, there’s no going back and changing things, so if I do sometimes wish I’d done things differently, I don’t linger on it for long because it doesn’t do me any good. I’m pleased with how the book and the sequel came out, and I hope readers are too.
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