In the Labyrinth, we had a saying: keep silent, keep still, keep safe.
Lori M. Lee's debut YA fantasy novel, Gates of Thread and Stone, is about a teenage girl who must carefully stay under the radar and keep her ability - to manipulate the threads of time - a secret, until her brother goes missing and she must risk getting caught up in a revolution in order to save him. Kai learns that nothing is as it seems - including her brother's past, her father's identity, and her friendship with dark, troubled Avan.
©2014 Lori M. Lee (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
"A different kind of Time Travel..."
A spiraling rewind through time, in a twisted world where magic thrives and danger rules, the GATES OF THREAD AND STONE had a fascinating plot, though did not live up to all my exceptions, but was still engaging enough to keep me reading until the end.
The GATES OF THREAD AND STONE was a totally different book then I thought it to be, and not as good as I hoped either. First, the plot was different then I anticipated, and confusing as hell at some parts. Their were a lot of parts where they were discussing their background and the roll of each person/being, and it was just too much to take in. The Infinite, the time god, the hollows, the mahjos, the sentinels, the cadets, the humans, and so on... It got to be too much for the plot and too much to remember after a while. And I finally just gave up caring and just rolled with it. And that was a let down in itself.
But nevertheless, it still had enough intriguing aspects to keep me enticed. Which is why I gave it the 3 and not the 2 star rating I was debating on. Even with it's many flaws, I sill found myself enjoying the world of the GATES OF THREAD AND STONE. Some of the characters not so much. But I was curious to what lies at the end of the story, and all the hidden secrets revealed along the way. I guess that was the main force that kept me reading until the end.
I LOVED Avan—the love interest to our main character Kai. He was so sweet and patient with her. But also was ready to strike at a minutes notice, and willing to endure the unthinkable to help Kai get through whatever situation she got herself in. He was just so lovable, and soooo HOT, I loved his overall personality.
Now Kai was another issue altogether. I really had a love/hate relationship with her. From the very beginning I didn't really care for her. It was something about her that just drove me crazy and rubbed me the wrong way. She was bossy, demanding, unthoughtful at times, yelling at Avan when she should be redirecting that anger inward instead of at him. And the whole dynamics of her personally was just a turn off. And it made it really hard to enjoy the book since I had so many ups and downs with the main character. Which was one of the issues I had. But their were still some parts where I admired what she was doing for her brother, and the love she had for Avan, even if she had a shitty way of showing it sometimes.
Since Kai was eight, all she's ever known was her adopted brother Reev. He found her on the riverbank and took her in as his own. So when her brother goes missing, with rumors of the mysterious Red Rider as the culprit—kidnapping people and turning them into mindless hollows, using them as slaves any way he sees fit, Kai knows it's time to act. She cannot and will not sit by like the others while her brother is turned. She will find him, and she will save him, even if she has to leave the safety of the city walls to do it. And she will stop at nothing until he is back to her once and for all...
Following the trail of the Red Rider takes Kai and her best friend and secret crush Avan beyond the city walls and into the dangerous outlands, where gargoyles hunt their prey, and one wrong turn can have them going in circles for days—if they even make it that long. But as Kai explores the world beyond the walls of Ninurta, she realizes everything is not as she thought, and the people she thought are not who—or what they claimed.
Before all is said and done, Kai will have the chance of self discovery, something she's always wanted, but never could grasp. But as Kai untangles the secrets of her past, and the ones of Ninurta, they become the explosive that could ignite and shake the foundation of their world to the very core. And Kai will be forced to make choices—choices she never imagined she'd ever have to make, choices that could very well change the fate of Ninurta, forever...
Overall, the GATES OF THREAD AND STONE was a little confusing, and not as good as I hoped, but still good enough to hold my attention and keep me reading until the very end. I will definitely be reading the sequel, because that cliffhanger was enough to have me instantly request the next book through Netgalley. I think if you enjoy fantasy books with a little bit of mystery, and a lot of adventure, and a tad bit of time twisting, with a slow romance, then you may find the GATES OF THREAD AND STONE an enjoyable read.
Gates of Thread and Stone felt like a book of greatly missed opportunities: flashes of originality and brilliance quickly buried by mediocre writing and a soppy romance. There just wasn't enough meat on these bones to distinguish it beyond every other YA distopian that's come out in the past few years.
Story: Kai has been raised by a 'brother' as orphans on the streets of Ninurta - one of the few cities to rise up after magic and technology wars destroyed most of the world. When her brother disappears, Kai must travel out of the City and into the dangers of the wild to find him. Accompanied by sexy neighbor Avan, who has looked out for her since she was young, Kai will brave the Gargoyles and the rebels in order to find her brother, Reev.
Readers of the genre will recognize these plot tropes from many YA dystopian novels:
- obsessing over sexy boy who watches over her mysteriously - and neither figuring out despite clues bigger than a mac truck that they like each other.
- Big misunderstandings to keep them apart.
- Dystopian city with eeeeevil leader.
- unique snowflake girl with special ability.
- leaving dystopian city to find out that it was all a lie (!)
- Meeting up with rebels only to find out they may be as bad.
- Someone is going to be secretly related to 'royalty' (most likely the heroine).
- lack of parents/orphan/mysterious past.
- heroine has special ability but doesn't know how to use it.
- heroine gets unrealistically 'leveled up' in fighting techniques in a few days.
- arena battles!
- desolated dystopian landscape with deadly twisted creatures outside that somehow never manage to kill our heroine or her boy toy love interest.
Honestly, I felt like I had read this book before and was kind of bored as a result. The whole misunderstanding/misinterpretation thing between Kai and Avan began to get old fast and I got tired of her admiring his various sexy body parts (can't she admire his intelligence?). I had to wonder if the book would have been better had they started a tentative romance instead. Then at least the plot could have progressed further.
Kai's background and powers were very underwhelming. They could have been interesting and the author done some nifty things with the power. Instead, the applications of that power were mundane. It felt like a writer problem - that only the romance was the consideration and so not enough thought really went into the actual mechanics of the world or plot. The whole reason for her being abandoned/found by her 'brother' Reeve was especially unbelievable and wince-worthy. Let's not get into the 'twist' about why Reeve was taken, which really made me want to roll my eyes.
As a Twinkie-type entertainment (sweet but empty) I'm sure this is fine as a Sunday read. But i can't help but feel there are so many better books or ways to spend my time. Note: I listened to the Audible version of this book and the narrator did a decent job.
"3 out of 5 star book"
Listening to Gates of Thread and Stone on audiobook immediately set it at a disadvantage for I generally don't like listening to books as much as I enjoy reading them. I thought this book was ok. I liked the beginning and middle much more than the end. The end felt very rushed with a ton of information and plot happening but not well written or organized. I liked it enough that I plan to continue reading the series.
The narrator sounded like the typical narrator for teenage girls. To be honest I get pretty tired of that same old voice and demeanor for every teenage gal in young adult fiction audiobooks.
"Maybe good for some folks. Not my cup of tea."
Struggled to finish this.
Whiney 1 dimensional heroine.
"plot development" felt more like a crowbar was used than a scalpel.
"A perfect read."
There was nothing that I didn't love about this book. Strong characters and a captivating storyline. Gates of thread and stone kept me on the edge of my seat. The phenomenal narrator, Jessica Almasy, brought the characters to life separately using distinct rhythms, pitches, slight accents and animation variances to make each one unique. Brilliantly done all around!
If you like mythology and Dystopian well this book is just for you. It’s an awesome mix of the two that will draw you in right away. I really loved this book series, I didn’t even know it was about mythology until I began to read and what a shock to find out, it just made me love this book more.
The characters were amusing, I loved Kai, she’s a brave girl who will do anything for the people she loves which are her brother Reev and Aven. They both share her heart and I just love how they interact with each other. She will run head on into a fire if its to save either one of those two, that’s how head strong she is. I love how her power is the ability to manipulate time. Sadly not much of her doing so in this book but hopefully in the next you get to see her use it more. As for Aven you know something is up with him from the start and you just want to really learn more about him. How Aven and kai act towards each other is cute and all you want to have them do is to hurry up and be together.
I love how the author comes up with some interesting things. Like the grays. They are mechanical beast that can move around if they have a energy stone(which they explain what a energy stone is in the book). They can be any creature mostly in the form of a horse. Great futuristic thoughts are put into this book and it makes the story all the more better.
I do recommend this book to people who love fantasy, dystopian and mythology books. This series will diffidently draw you in.
This book somehow managed to never get exciting.
It never really sucked me in like I wanted it to. it never got truly interesting . sure, things happened, but I was listening as a sidetracked observer instead of someone invested in the outcome. The climax came and went without much emotion on my end, even during a scene I suspect was meant to be highly emotional. I just couldn't make myself care.
The premise and plot, in someone else's hands, could truly be fascinating. But for me, I mostly listened to the end just to see if it ever got really good, if I'd get attached to any of the characters- and then, before that question was answered, it was over.
the best thing about the book was the narrator. she did a good job finding organic sounding voices for all the characters, but she couldn't make the story better than it was.
save your credit...I won't be reading /listening to the second book.
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