Published: August 5th 2014 by Skyscape
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.
“My nails clawed against the smooth tiles as I pushed up onto my hands and knees. I rose unsteadily to my feet.
Speed is my ally. Breathe. In and out. Focus. Time is my power.”
Thank you Skyscape for providing me with an advanced reading copy for review.
My overall reaction with Gates of Thread and Stone has a lot to do with my disappointment. I expected to receive an epic fantasy about a girl who can weave the threads of time, unraveling the mystery behind her brother's disappearance. It certainly had those aspects, as it started out great and also ended on a high note. I can't shake off the feeling of discontent. I wanted so much more.
In the beginning of the book, I found it to be well-paced. The mystery jumped in from the start and made my interest grow with every page I read. Somewhere along the thrilling ride, that very interest suddenly disappeared. Although I was already two hundred pages in, I felt like there was nothing happening anymore. The more the book progressed, the less I knew what was actually going on. The characters were heading back and forth and no one seemed to have a plan anymore. The several actions scenes didn't even feel as action scenes anymore. They were rather scenes to fill up the pages. They weren't enough to make me want to continue, which resulted into a reading slump that carried on for far too long.
It wasn't until the book was nearing its climax that I grew interested again. The dull storyline picked up very quickly, and from then on the thrilling chapters kept coming. Even though the ending was a bit weird and rushed, it certainly left me wanting more. Something that didn't improve, was my lack of care. The characters themselves, for example, were okay. They didn't stand out, but there was nothing that made them bad or underdeveloped. I still felt no attachment to any of them.
The best thing out of the entire book would have to be Lori M. Lee's world. Ninurta is simply put, fascinating. I have always had a thing for a world where the chasm between the rich and the poor is remarkable, and has a huge effect on the population. As Kai has always lived in the Labyrinth, she knows how to survive on her own and doesn't act impulsive. The story puts her into unknown territory, yet she manages to play the game. Even if it takes her to unexpected losses and victories.
All in all, Gates of Thread and Stone is the kind of trilogy that could have been fitted easily into one or two books. I could have been so much more than what it is now. Despite it not being as good as I first expected, I do think this series still holds some potential. I may be hesitant towards the sequels, but I wonder where this might be heading.