Saturday, 5 September 2015

Review of Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee

I give it 2.5 out of 5 stars, based on the Goodreads ranking scale.

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To start, I want to state that I am not this book's target demographic, but I have a soft spot for YA fiction so I read it anyways.

The world laid out in Gates of Thread and Stone leaves something to be desired for logical consistency. It's set in a fantasy post-apocalypse world, that is explained by a clash between magic and technology that sounds a bit like they're living in a nuclear winter. The large scale world leaves something to be desired in terms of logical consistency. While I accept suspension of disbelief as necessary for fantasy, I don't understand how the world functions at all. There doesn't seem to be any weather, or any seasons, and I'm not quite certain how anyone eats anything as there doesn't seem to be any form of agriculture or herding or even hunting that would explain how a (very) crowded city is able to feed anyone at all.

The storyline is one single narrative line, and there is a plot twist at the end that I suppose is meant to be surprising but there was so many obvious hints throughout that it was pretty inevitable that something was going on behind the scenes. The pacing could have been slightly faster, but it did keep me reading along.

I did really enjoy the descriptions of the threads of time, and their manipulation by the protagonist, Kai. The manipulation of time was an interesting element of the storyline, and one of the saving graces.

There were two things that really bothered me: Kai's obsession with Avan's body, and the insertion of real-world elements for no apparent reason.

For the first, I don't care to know how much of the book was dedicated to minute descriptions of the male love-interest's body. His purpose in the storyline is to be hot, and to swoop in at the last minute and self-sacrifice for Kai. There is no justification for why he is so bent on safeguarding Kai, not even his family back story. He also always conveniently shows up just in the nick of time to save the day, which is not always explained. He owes her nothing, and she owes him so much, and their relationship is so tenuous I'd thought he was a very minor character until Kai's brother goes missing.

Throughout the books, there are random insertions of real-world elements in the way the speak, the items that they encounter, the way people look (such as a mohawk... I want to know how that woman got hair gel, or why that was even a style option considering other background characters are described as wearing corsets or tunics.) It was startling, and distracted me from the story. It goes back to my first point on the world lacking logical consistency.

I am going to read the sequel, and I'm hoping that the author will develop the world more. While Gates of Thread and Stone wasn't terrible, there are far better YA novels out there that feature female protagonists.

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