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Spirit Gate by Kate Elliott
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Spirit Gate (2007)

by Kate Elliott

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Crossroads [K Elliot] (1)

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7722011,968 (3.63)21
  1. 01
    A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin (ImLittleJon)
    ImLittleJon: There are some similarities between Martin's and Elliott's series. Their epic scale is similar, with multiple interweaving plotlines, characters noble and humble, interacting cultures, and so forth. Both begin in a world where magic is a matter of legend, but slowly creeps back into usage. Spirit Gate might not be A Dance with Dragons, but it will help make the time pass until that book gets published.… (more)
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» See also 21 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
There were quite a lot of interesting plotlines in the story, but I found it an unsatisfying read overall. I understand that it's book one in a series, but far too little of the world it's set in is explained for my liking. Since it was pretty inevitable that Joss, Anji & Co would save the day, I found myself skimming quite a lot of the middle sections looking for clues to the more central mysteries.

On the upside, there's just enough revealed in the last few chapters that I'll probably read the next installment - I just hope more's fleshed out. ( )
  youkosiren | Aug 22, 2016 |
I wanted to like this book more than I actually did. Elliott has created numerous societies, each with their own distinct gender roles, politics, religion, food, etc. The societies and people are clearly all non-Western--they wear silk, eat yogurt, have brown hair and skin. There are POV characters from each of the big three (the Qin, the Hundred, and the Sirnakian Empire), and no one country or society is painted as morally better than the others.

BUT. Elliott spends so much time building her world (and seriously, she describes every town, every wharf, every meal) that even by the end of the book there were huge plot holes and I still didn't love any of the characters. The basic plot is that some sort of shadowy menace is slowly inciting chaos in the Hundred while slowly destroying the eagle reeves (people psychically bonded to giant eagles who fly around mediating disputes). Merchant Mai and her new husband Anji, the captain of the Qin army that conquered her homeland, travel into the Hundred in search of a new home. Emo reeve Joss tries to figure out why his homeland is descending into lawlessness. Their paths only cross near the end of the novel.

This wasn't a bad novel, but I'm not interested enough to read the next in the series. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
Kate Elliott is the author of the highly successful Crown of Stars series. Crossroads is her new series, a seven-volume series which is divided into two trilogies with a linking book between them. Spirit Gate is the first book of the first trilogy (to be followed by Shadow Gate and Traitor's Gate).

In this book, Elliott devotes considerable chunks of text to painting a picture of a detailed, alternative world. As a result, you have to grapple with large amounts of geography, an array of cultures and a whole string of characters. This makes for very slow reading initially, which can be quite heavy-going as you struggle to absorb all the information.

However, stick with it, because it is worth it. About halfway through, the story really gets going. There is a variety of convincing characters, a fascinating mix of cultures and plenty of excitement, mystery, romance and adventure to keep you turning pages.

If you like fast, action packed novels that rush from fight to fight, then this probably won't appeal to you. However, if you enjoy world building, sympathetic character development and multi faceted story lines, then you may enjoy it as much as I did.

I started the second book as soon as I closed this one. ( )
  Jawin | Jul 11, 2015 |
I picked this up after an LT discussion around another book with the same name. This is the (slightly) more well known one. Enjoyable. Low fantasy, hence little out-right magic, but ghosts appear to a few characters and there's the chance that the ancient gods might be be-stirring themselves to take a hand in the fate of a country.

We follow a few characters living different lives in different cultures and countries as the tides of war and politics eventually cast them together in a small town. The town is situated in the Hundred, a collection of provinces of shared rule. Abandoned by the gods and Guardians some years ago, they're left with only the reeves mounted on giant eagles to keep law and order. Few and far between failing in numbers their respect is further diminished when outlaws start a concerted campaign from the North. Meanwhile the captain of a troop of mercenaries on the run from politics pick up's a wife from one of the countries his nation had subjugated. Familiar with the marketplace customs of most of the world, despite being unaccustomed to the rigours of journeying she provides useful information in keeping the troop gainfully
occupied on their flight north.

Nothing really jumps out as special, but it's well written engaging and enjoyable in a fairly sensible world. The varying religious customs take a bit of getting used to, but it all comes together in the end. There is an slightly too obvious bias towards various earth cultures, but enough differences remain for it not to feel racist or pointedly attacking one culture.

I will try the sequels sometime. ( )
  reading_fox | May 12, 2015 |
A start to a new and excellent epic fantasy series from the ever-readable Kate Elliott. After a gripping and shocking prologue, the story is sprawling and slow-moving, and the main cast and the central thrust of the narrative take some time to cohere (this may explain why it's actually taken me some months to get though it) - but it's certainly building up a decent momentum, and I'm very keen to get to the next book now. As always, Elliott is top-notch at world-building; here's she's painstakingly portraying multiple cultures across several continents, and unlike many fantasy authors, she understands the fine balance between supplying enough detail to build her world and totally bogging her narrative down with unnecessary description. Other things that particularly impress me are her sharp examination of gender roles in her various cultures, the slow but growing sense of horror lurking behind everything, an (almost) completely non-white cast, and last but not least, giant eagles :-). ( )
1 vote salimbol | Sep 6, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kate Elliottprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kaluta,MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rostant, LarryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The novel is lovingly dedicated to my sister Sonja who, during the same year I was writing this book, tackled three major life changes very like those in the story.
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On a hot summer's day like today Flirt liked to fly straight up along the shoreline of the river, huge wings huffing against the wind.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765310554, Hardcover)

World Fantasy and Nebula Award finalist Kate Elliott breaks new ground in a brilliantly original new fantasy set in a unique world of fabled cities, mysterious gods, and terrible dangers. From the first page readers will be swept up in the story of Mai and Captain Anji, as they become unwitting players in a conflict that began many years earlier, and which will shake the foundations of their land.

For hundreds of years the Guardians have ruled the world of the Hundred, but these powerful gods no longer exert their will on the world. Only the reeves, who patrol on enormous eagles, still represent the Guardians' power. And the reeves are losing their authority; for there is a dark shadow across the land that not even the reeves can stop.
A group of fanatics has risen to devour villages, towns, and cities in their drive to annihilate all who oppose them. No one knows who leads them; they seem inhumanly cruel and powerful. Mai and Anji, riding with a company of dedicated warriors and a single reeve who may hold a key to stopping the deadly advance of the devouring horde, must try, or the world will be lost to the carnage. But a young woman sworn to the Goddess may prove more important than them all . . . if they are not too late.
A haunting tale of people swept up by the chaos of war, this is superlative fantasy adventure, rich in texture, filled with color and excitement, masterfully crafted by a brilliantly gifted storyteller.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:37 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

As a terrifying group of fanatics spreads across the land, Mai and Anji, along with a reeve representing the power of the Guardians and a young woman sworn to the goddess, may be the only ones who can stop the horde's deadly advance.

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