I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee
Series: Gates of Thread and Stone #1
Published by Skyscape on August 5, 2014
Source: the publisher
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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.
Gates of Thread and Stone both fascinated and frustrated me. Though an interesting read, the slow pacing and confusing beginning weighed the intriguing plot down and prevented me from fully enjoying the book. The characters, though, were what really kept me reading. Though I felt a slight disconnect to them, especially in the beginning, I felt drawn to them and found that I couldn’t put the book down without knowing what happened to them.
While reading Gates of Thread and Stone, I found myself comparing it to Defy (Sara B. Larson), Pawn (Aimee Carter) and The Immortal Rules (Julie Kagawa). Which is oddly appropriate, since I didn’t enjoy Defy’s plot but loved the characters; didn’t enjoy Pawn’s characters but loved the plot; and absolutely adored The Immortal Rules. While reading, at some point or another, I had a little bit of all those feelings towards Gates of Thread and Stone. I also noticed the similarities in the plot, though despite those similarities, Gates of Thread and Stone still had an original and unique plot all on its own.
The overall theme of this book, however, was “confusing.” We’re thrown into the world immediately, which can be great when done right. There’s a fine line between explanation and info-dump and this book did a little bit of both, but in the most confusing way possible. Half the time, I couldn’t figure out what was going on. The plot itself started off in one direction and took a sharp turn a little over half-way through the book. It reminded me of this weird mix of Greek Mythology and the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse. Since those are two things I find fascinating, this was where the plot and pacing picked up for me. I was totally intrigued by these two concepts and the world and history.
I wanted to know more about the Rebirth, though. I wanted to know the timeline (was this past, present, not-so-distant future or distant future?) and how things came to be how they were. I wanted to know more about the Infinite and the Mahjo.
In the beginning, I felt disconnected from Kai. I didn’t like or dislike her. She just existed to tell the story. She knew how to stand up for herself and protect herself and I appreciated that, but nothing made her stand out among the sea of YA heroines. As the story progressed, she redeemed herself and I grew to like her a lot more. She never let anything distract her from her mission to save her brother. She learned to fight and she took some huge risks. I was completely intrigued by her ability to manipulate time and I loved learning the origin of that ability.
I want to say I liked Reev, but I feel like we didn’t see enough of him – for obvious reasons – for me to make a final call on this. He was an amazing big brother – protective, dependent, loyal. He did everything he could to keep Kai safe. In the end, I was satisfied with how his story ended. It was interesting to learn some of his past and how he came to find Kai.
Avan was pretty swoony! Though I knew from early on that he was hiding something and knew more than he was letting on, which always made me slightly suspicious of him and his motives. In the end, I did NOT expect the truth to be what it was. It wasn’t what I expected at all! There was one thing that happened with him and I knew it wouldn’t be permanent (it was a little predictable, actually), but I didn’t know HOW he would get out of the situation he was in… I was surprised by the way his story ended, though. I was both relieved and upset and I definitely want to know what will happen next with him. Though again, it’s a bit obvious and predictable (though I can’t elaborate without spoilers, so you’ll just have to read the book and decide for yourself).
I really liked Mason, though I didn’t trust him in the beginning. There was the smallest hint of Mason being the third part in a (forced and unnecessary) love triangle, but it didn’t amount to much and it’s obvious who Kai should end up with.
The ending was fascinating and while some of it was predictable, the rest completely threw me and I didn’t expect it. I liked that things wrapped up nicely, so we weren’t left with an epically annoying cliffhanger. At the same time, just enough went unanswered that it left it open for a second book, which still definitely interests me!
Overall, while the beginning was horribly confusing and the pacing was slow, the characters kept me reading, despite a small disconnect. I ended up really caring about them, desperate to know what would happen to them. I’m definitely interested in seeing where a second book would take the plot and the characters. I still recommend this book, despite the issues I had with it. Others might not be bothered by what bothered me and, overall, it’s a truly fascinating plot.