Thursday, August 7, 2014

Review: Gates of Thread and Stone

Gates of Thread and StoneAuthor: Lori M. Lee
Series: Gates of Thread and Stone, #1
Published: August 5th 2014
Publisher: Skyscape
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

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.

As voracious readers, we’ve learned to fear debut authors combined with gorgeous covers. It’s a Pavlovian reflex of sorts: see a pretty cover, get a panic attack and run. But the very conditioned response that keeps us away from sad excuses for literature could do some serious damage in this case. Why? Because Gates of Thread and Stone is more than just a pretty cover. It’s perhaps one of the best books I’ve had the pleasure of reading this year.

All the unexpected developments lying in wait are just one of the things to admire about Gates of Thread and Stone. Its most admirable quality might just be the intricacy and richness of Kai’s world. Or it could be our Kai herself, stubborn and brave, timid but fierce, smart but not overconfident.

I’ve been completely surprised by the fierce love and protectiveness I felt for Kai from the start. She has a story that’s certainly difficult to forget: she was abandoned when she was eight years old, floating in the river with no memories, only to be rescued by an older boy who then took care of her like she was his own sister. But her tragic past and her upbringing in poverty didn’t make her stand out for me. It was her spirit, her fierce loyalty and unconditional love and her unfailing sense of right and wrong.

The mythology in this book is as original as it is surprising. It wasn’t until the end, when I had a full picture in front of me, that I really started to appreciate what Lori M. Lee has done. There are a few things that are familiar, yes, but even they often go in unexpected directions. As for the very nature of Kai’s journey and her fight, I should say that it wasn’t easy to guess at all. I knew exactly what Lee wanted me to know at any given moment and not a thing more.

The only thing that could have been done differently is the romance. Kai and Avan have a fabulous bond and an undeniable chemistry. But they are both prone to dancing around their issues, never speaking things out loud and making all the wrong assumptions. Her feelings for Avan are the only thing Kai is truly afraid of, the only challenge she constantly avoids and even hides from. A part of it can be written off as inexperience, but there were moments that smelled of pure cowardice.

In everything else, though, they were both admirably strong. I enjoyed their journey, colored by their past and years of friendship and admiration from afar. I felt that Kai learned something from every experience, and while she had a hard time admitting her mistakes out loud, she was unfailingly honest to herself.

Shut down the warning signals in your heads that tell you to run away from too pretty covers. This is one book you’ll be very proud to own.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.

Stop by The Nocturnal Library on August 12th for a Q&A with Lori M. Lee.


  1. You're right, the cover can be tricky and I fell in love with this one too as soon as I saw it and I confess I'm intrigued by the mythology and all but I'm quite anxious because it's the first goos review I see about this one...

  2. Admitedly, the cover is gorgeous. The story also seems intersting. Might give it a go.

  3. I wouldn't say that it's pretty covers that make me subconsciously run away from a book as much as a new book with a good summary does. Usually books I get excited about don't end up being that great unfortunately. I'm so glad to hear that you liked this book, it puts my mind at ease :)

  4. I unfortunately didn't love this as much as you did, Maja. I just had a hard time with the pacing and wanted more from the world building. I seem to be a bit of a black sheep though.
    I'm happy that you enjoyed it though. I can tell that you were invested in every aspect of the story line. :)
    Lovely review!

  5. LOL--that's so true!! The cover's gorgeous...but there's nothing good inside. It's a conundrum. Kai's world sounds amazing and I like that it intrigued you.

  6. Nice to see you discovered a new author to love, Maja. It's a shame about the romance, because as you know, that's my favorite part. It's sounds like the rest of the story makes it worthwhile to pick up. I'll have to check this out.

    Btw, Brenna & Tessa did attend that author event with Maggie I just didn't mention it. I was bummed that I didn't know they'd be there ahead of time. Mostly over Tessa because I didn't bring her books to have them signed. I had already met Brenna & had all her copies signed before. But it sounds like it's been a fun tour for all of them. Too much to relate in one recap! :)

  7. Wow! I am so happy because I am dying to read this book. I even featured this in one of my WoW posts. I'm glad this wasn't the case of good covers hiding a meh story inside. I love that Kai made you feel so strongly! I think she's really a character I would love. I am also so excited to know about this mythology and how it worked in the story. Fantastic review, Maja! :)

  8. Well YAY MAJA!!! This was one of my most anticipated reads of the year and then reviews started coming out for it that were less than enthusiastic so I was really bummed. I couldn't be happier to see you loved it so much, though the lack of communication in the romance does sound frustrating, but overall I'm excited all over again to give this one a try!

  9. I love that you loved Kai from the start and were protective of her, that is always a great sign in an author's ability to allow you to connect with her characters.
    This sounds fantastic Maja!

  10. WOW!
    This book looks amazing!
    I love the cover and I love the blurb and your reviews makes me more sure that I need to get my hands on this
    great review, Maja!
    Your reader,

  11. I am delighted for once to hear that the pretty cover is equally balanced by a good plot! The blurb definitely sounds fantastic, and I am so pleased to hear you enjoyed this one, Maja!

  12. YAY! I'm stoked you gave this one 4.5 stars!! I'm waiting for our library to get this one in (I'm making my girl order it - tee hee) I love a story that has a heroine with powers she "shouldn't" have so I was all substance over cover whore first... okay, I was a little bit cover whore, too... :D

  13. Woohoo! A book that has a pretty cover AND a good story. I've come across quite a few with gorgeous covers and the story was all... bleh. I seriously wanted to run away from some after reading it. It's upsetting that I can't throw it against the wall because the library owns it.

    Despite the fact I try to avoid it, I'm a pretty cover sucker. :p

  14. I'm really, REALLY looking forward to reading this. I'm a bit disappointed that the romance might be slightly annoying, or at least some aspects, but I won't get too concerned since everything else sounds absolutely wonderful!

  15. I avoided this because I was afraid of the beautiful cover. I am so glad you reviewed this and loved it. I am going to get a copy ASAP!

  16. The cover is absolutely stunning indeed! I still haven't sat down with the book past the first two pages, but after reading your review and know you loved it... I cannot wait to read it! I'll keep your warning about the romance in mind too...
    Thank you, Maja!

  17. After reading several negative reviews I was afraid that this one would disappoint me too. But I'm so glad you enjoyed it that much and it gives me hope as I trust you :) Shame about the romance though, but well I can live with that. Great review, Maja :)

  18. I am hearing mixed things about this one so I wonder

  19. I laughed at your opening sentence because it is so true. I am delighted to hear this has substance and was indeed a worthy read. I have added this one to my list, and hope to get my hands on an audio version. Thanks Maja for your beautiful and informative review.

  20. I love the cover of this one and have it on my wishlist but hadn't seen any reviews for it. So, I'm really happy that you loved it so much and found it to be very original. I can't wait to read this one now!

  21. Since there was mention of this book coming out on August on Goodreads, it immediately was on my mind everytime there was a Waiting on Wednesday post. That's why I was so happy seeing that you wrote a review and I'm SO glad that you enjoyed it so much. I didn't know there was mythology to be honest. Actually, I didn't know many things about it before reading your review so thank you! :D

  22. Oh, oh, Maja! I'm so glad you loved this. It is at the TOP of my TBR list--I hope to get to it sometime this week. And b/c of that, I only skimmed your review, but I'm am even more excited to read it now than I was before, and I'll be sure to come back after I finish it ;)

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