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Spirit Gate by Kate Elliot

Spirit Gate (2007)

by Kate Elliot

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Crossroads [K Elliot] (1)

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7131613,240 (3.65)16
Recently added byJawin, milesje, duncjo, blaircda, AprilBrown, private library, azeralpawn, ankney1, hannyah
  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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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 :-). ( )
  salimbol | Sep 6, 2013 |
This is a comment not a review:

The map is wrong. When she describes the geography of the Hundred she gets it wrong. North has mountains not sea pg 4. That is unforgivable. Otherwise, it took me awhile to get into it. The story is not bad but there are inconsistencies and did I mention the map? I know American Universities don't have geography as a major subject BUT STILL. ( )
  emcnicho | Aug 25, 2013 |
This book can best be described as a series of journeys. Not only across a troubled world but journeys of the heart and soul. The world building is excellent, the characters vivid and varied plus the various storylines are engrossing.

One of the reasons why Fantasy is my genre of choice is the escape it provides. While other types of fiction tell a great story they don't take me out of THIS world. However, when you encounter a superb world builder like Kate Elliott, the escape is total. The world she has created with the Crossroads Trilogy is both vivid and detailed, and yet does not override the characters' stories. Often I read books that get bogged down in the details. Pages and pages of nothing but descriptions of the local scenery, customs, laws and religions. I find my eyes skipping down the page to "get to the good stuff". Not in this case. Instead, I found myself as fascinated with the world they lived in as I was with the characters themselves.

Read Full Review: Dragons, Heroes and Wizards: Fantasy Series Book Reviews ( )
  Mulluane | Jun 15, 2013 |
Very slow-paced. Emphasis on world-building over characters. Disliked trope: introducing a character in the prologue with enough depth to imply this is the protagonist, only for her never to appear again except in spirit. ( )
  gwendolenau | May 12, 2013 |
I've not read Kate Elliott before. I picked up these three "crossroad" novels when Borders was going out of business, as they sounded interesting after going over the back of the book.

I now feel fortunate to have been able to read all three of these, one after the other. I found that it was hard for me to put these down.

The problem I now face is explaining what I've read.

This story is really about a place called "The Hundred". The Hundred strikes me as something like the greek city states, but not exactly like that. There are several large cities, and many more towns, villages, etc. The Hundred folk love to tell tales, and what is interesting is, some of these tales aren't so much tales, as recounting actual events. But most people don't realize that. At the end of this novel, when somebody puts out the entire "tale of the guardians", i was so eager to learn more about them that
I was hooked. I had to read the next novels. I will return to this in a moment.

The Hundred is not ruled by a king, or central ruler. It is ruled by the gods, as one of the character points out. So politically a town may set up it's own councils, militia, and functions. There are seven established gods in the hundred, each with their own temples, priests, and very distinct experiences. And these gods are the ones who had established what happens in the Tale of the Guardians.

The Tale of the Guardians describes how the Hundred is supposed to be. It talks of a young girl crying out for justice, and the gods establishing an order that was followed for countless years. They raised up Guardians, of which there are nine, to settle disputes in something known as assizes, which is like a court. They could see into the hearts and minds of people, reading their entire life in a gilmpse. There is also established a group known as Reeves, whom are kind of like police for the law. The law is carved into a rock on top of a high, and exalted place, in one of the cities. There law is fairly simple in that way. It seems that the Reeves might be like Police, and the Guardians like a judge.

Did I mention the Reeves ride giant Eagles? These eagles are really great characters, as they have many different personalities. The Reeves live in Halls, which I believe there are 7 or 8, with an administrative Hall that vaguely attempts to oversee the others.

The problem is, nobody has seen a Guardian since their grandparents time. So the handling of the judgements falls onto the Reeves, not something they really want to be doing. But what choice do they have?

This is the thing I loved about this novel. You know how things are supposed to be, from the Tales. And you see it slipping away, slowly but surely. I found it engaging.

There are many other things going on in this novel, besides the bedrock parts I've mentioned above. There are plenty of characters, and I get quite attached to them. Many of the characters begin crossing each others paths way toward the end of the novel, giving the "it's a small world" vibe.

There are many topics covered in the novel, beyond the fantasy and action. slavery, xenophobia, superstitions, culture clashes. You feel as if you've lived and breathed in some of their shoes, and probably will find a character or two that will remind you of yourself.

I suppose that it was written this way to establish many variety of boundaries. Because those boundaries are being violated, slowly at first, and then more rapidly as we get toward the end.

What will happen to the Hundred if the established order of things gets tossed aside? ( )
  NightHawk777 | Apr 1, 2012 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kate Elliotprimary 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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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:19:45 -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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