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Gates of Stone

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In a world of blood and magic, a powerful epic fantasy begins... AN EMPEROR'S DAUGHTER WHO WILL NOT BE DENIED Just before her sixteenth birthday, Princess Katerina is refused her rightful place as heir to the Empire of the Ice-Bear--solely because of her sex. Determined to regain her inheritance, she murders the foreign lord she's been ordered to marry and embarks on a peril In a world of blood and magic, a powerful epic fantasy begins... AN EMPEROR'S DAUGHTER WHO WILL NOT BE DENIED Just before her sixteenth birthday, Princess Katerina is refused her rightful place as heir to the Empire of the Ice-Bear--solely because of her sex. Determined to regain her inheritance, she murders the foreign lord she's been ordered to marry and embarks on a perilous voyage to the lush, tropical islands of the Laut Besar in search of the vast wealth and power she needs to claim the Empire for herself. A PRINCE FORCED TO TAKE A STAND On a small island kingdom, Prince Arjun's idyllic life is shattered when a malignant sorcerer invades, slaughters his people and steals the sacred sword of Jun's ancestors. With his royal father dead and his palace in ruins, Jun reluctantly tracks the sorcerer and the magical blade far across the pirate-infested waters of the Laut Besar. A SORCERER SEEKING TO DESTROY THE WORLD Long ago the powerful relics known as the Seven Keys were used to safely lock away the terrifying evils of the Seven Hells. With Jun's ancient sword in his grasp, the sorcerer Mangku has claimed the first Key, and begun his mission to unleash catastrophe upon the land. As the destinies of these three entwine in the lawless islands of the Laut Besar, the fate of humanity hangs in the balance. For if the sorcerer cannot be stopped, the world itself will be unmade...


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In a world of blood and magic, a powerful epic fantasy begins... AN EMPEROR'S DAUGHTER WHO WILL NOT BE DENIED Just before her sixteenth birthday, Princess Katerina is refused her rightful place as heir to the Empire of the Ice-Bear--solely because of her sex. Determined to regain her inheritance, she murders the foreign lord she's been ordered to marry and embarks on a peril In a world of blood and magic, a powerful epic fantasy begins... AN EMPEROR'S DAUGHTER WHO WILL NOT BE DENIED Just before her sixteenth birthday, Princess Katerina is refused her rightful place as heir to the Empire of the Ice-Bear--solely because of her sex. Determined to regain her inheritance, she murders the foreign lord she's been ordered to marry and embarks on a perilous voyage to the lush, tropical islands of the Laut Besar in search of the vast wealth and power she needs to claim the Empire for herself. A PRINCE FORCED TO TAKE A STAND On a small island kingdom, Prince Arjun's idyllic life is shattered when a malignant sorcerer invades, slaughters his people and steals the sacred sword of Jun's ancestors. With his royal father dead and his palace in ruins, Jun reluctantly tracks the sorcerer and the magical blade far across the pirate-infested waters of the Laut Besar. A SORCERER SEEKING TO DESTROY THE WORLD Long ago the powerful relics known as the Seven Keys were used to safely lock away the terrifying evils of the Seven Hells. With Jun's ancient sword in his grasp, the sorcerer Mangku has claimed the first Key, and begun his mission to unleash catastrophe upon the land. As the destinies of these three entwine in the lawless islands of the Laut Besar, the fate of humanity hangs in the balance. For if the sorcerer cannot be stopped, the world itself will be unmade...

30 review for Gates of Stone

  1. 5 out of 5

    Petrik

    ARC provided by the publisher—Berkley Publishing Group (Ace)—in exchange for an honest review. An Indonesian-inspired epic fantasy accompanied by Chinese, Japanese, and Indian influences; I’ve never read an epic fantasy with world-building like the one in Gates of Stone. Angus Macallan is a pseudonym for Angus Donald, a historical fiction writer most well-known for The Outlaw Chronicles series. Gates of Stone, the first book in Lord of the Islands series marked his first foray into the fantasy gen ARC provided by the publisher—Berkley Publishing Group (Ace)—in exchange for an honest review. An Indonesian-inspired epic fantasy accompanied by Chinese, Japanese, and Indian influences; I’ve never read an epic fantasy with world-building like the one in Gates of Stone. Angus Macallan is a pseudonym for Angus Donald, a historical fiction writer most well-known for The Outlaw Chronicles series. Gates of Stone, the first book in Lord of the Islands series marked his first foray into the fantasy genre. When I first stumbled upon this book on Twitter, I was utterly filled with joy and disbelief that someone actually wrote an epic fantasy inspired by my home country. And it’s real and not a joke; Macallan cleverly utilized his skills as an author of historical-fiction into creating a powerful beginning of an Indonesian-inspired epic fantasy series. The two main characters of the book are Katerina and Prince Arjun. Just before her sixteenth birthday, Katerina, the rightful heir to the Empire of the Ice-Bear was denied her ascension solely because of her gender. As such, Katerina was determined to scour the tropical islands of Laut Besar in search of vast power and wealth to regain her rightful inheritance. As for Jun, his peaceful life was shattered when a malicious sorcerer came to his island, slaughtered everyone and stole the ancient sword in his father’s possession. Jun then decided to track down the sorcerer and reclaim the ancient weapon, which apparently was one of the Seven Keys required to unlock a devastating power. Although the two main characters are teenagers, their stories contain trigger warnings for rape, gang rape, and some gore. There is a marked contrast in the personalities and character development of the two main characters. Katerina exhibits brutality and tyranny; her determination to not let anything stand in her way resulted in gruesome cruelty. She started off as terrifying and intimidating but as the story progressed, we get to see the depth of her personality peeled off layer by layer. Jun, on the other hand, was almost the complete opposite of Katerina in his characterization. I enjoyed the two characters’ development and storylines immensely. Admittedly, there was another side POV that took quite a while to spark my interest, Farhan. While Katerina and Jun’s storylines started with characterization over action sequences, Farhan’s POV featured tons of battle scenes right from the beginning with very few breaks in between. This isn’t necessarily a problem; I would imagine that anyone who prefers faster-paced narratives with action sequences introduced early on may enjoy his story a lot. However, as I’ve mentioned this in almost every review of mine, I’m a reader that places the utmost priority on characterization. It’s not until around 70% of the book that I was finally invested in Farhan’s story. Luckily, even though Farhan’s POV didn’t really click with me, the other two main characters were more dominantly featured. Macallan’s prose and action sequences were incredibly engaging and easy to follow. It doesn’t matter whether it was naval battles, close-quarter combats, magic, or sieges, Macallan delivered his vivid and visceral action scenes. I believe that his ability to write such great action scenes was one of the two skills stemming from Macallan’s experience as a historical fiction author; the other is world-building. Generally, I’m not a fan of reading a high fantasy that takes place on the same world like ours but I found the originality and intricacy in the world-building to be my favorite part of this book. Obviously, I’m a bit biased because I’ve been living in Indonesia since I was born. However, even without being an Indonesian, the book’s setting was highly original for an epic fantasy and its Indonesian inspirations were absolutely spot-on. The islands, the jungle, the fauna, the weapons, the terms, the names, the clothing, and the lore; I can’t possibly talk about each of them in detail without adding on at least an extra thousand words into this review. I’ll just list some of these Indonesian influences: -Pahlawan is an Indonesian word meaning ‘hero’. -Garuda Bird is the symbol for Pancasila, the official foundational philosophy of Indonesia. -Yawa is derived from Java, the islands of Indonesia. -Dewa in this book equates to the lower caste of a slave but the word itself means ‘god’ in Indonesia. -Muda is an Indonesian word for ‘young’. -Mburu, a hunter in this book, is most likely a derivative of the word ‘pemburu’, the Indonesian word for ‘hunter’. -Raja in Indonesia means ‘king’. Same meaning in this book. -Istana in Indonesia means ‘castle’. Same meaning in this book. -Laut Besar literally means ‘big sea’ in Indonesia. -Obat is an addictive narcotic in this book; in Indonesia, obat is ‘medicine’ or ‘drug.’ -Hantu Harimau is the other nickname for Ghost Tiger in this book. ‘Hantu’ and ‘harimau’ literally means ‘Ghost’ and ‘Tiger’ in Indonesia. -Kris (search for an image of this unique weapon.) Additionally, below this is a comparison between the maps of the world inside the book versus Indonesia. Picture: The World Map in Gates of Stone Picture: Map of Indonesia I purposely left some out, but if you really want to know the meaning behind the other terms while reading this book, do feel free to message me and I’ll answer your query the best that I can. Indonesian influences aside, other Asian influences from China, India, and Japan were also evident. Macallan imbued noteworthy Asian influences into his work with due justice. As an avid fantasy reader and a Chinese born, raised, and living in Indonesia, and one who also loves Japanese cultures, I truly applaud Angus Macallan for the courage to write something original and different from the other current mainstream fantasy. Gates of Stone is a uniquely great and impactful start to an epic fantasy series. Thank you, Angus Macallan. I’ve read many fantasy books over the past two years, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never read any with a setting and lore like the one in this book. With Gates of Stone, Macallan has established that he’s here to stay in the fantasy genre. Official release date: February 19th, 2019 You can buy the book with free shipping by clicking this link! You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions

  2. 5 out of 5

    destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

    DNF @ pg129 I might try this again someday, but honestly, I'm really sad to say that despite how ridiculously high my hopes were for this fantasy release, it isn't working for me. I'm not engaged, I can't connect to any of the characters or the writing, I'm not finding myself genuinely interested in anything that's going on, and the narrative voice itself isn't meshing well with me for a lot of reasons. I think this will absolutely be a big hit with the right reader, but sadly, that clearly isn't DNF @ pg129 I might try this again someday, but honestly, I'm really sad to say that despite how ridiculously high my hopes were for this fantasy release, it isn't working for me. I'm not engaged, I can't connect to any of the characters or the writing, I'm not finding myself genuinely interested in anything that's going on, and the narrative voice itself isn't meshing well with me for a lot of reasons. I think this will absolutely be a big hit with the right reader, but sadly, that clearly isn't me. Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this free review copy in exchange for an honest review!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bob Milne

    I'll be honest, when Gates of Stone arrived in my mailbox, I wasn't sure whether I would give it a read. The promise of " rip-roaring action" I liked, and a "believable Asian-inspired setting" intrigued me, but "tense political drama" and the reference to grimdark pioneer Joe Abercrombie gave me pause. I've grown tired of the whole amoral, violent, dystopian turn of fantasy, finding it to be more something I want to escape from rather than escape into. It didn't help when the booked opened with a I'll be honest, when Gates of Stone arrived in my mailbox, I wasn't sure whether I would give it a read. The promise of " rip-roaring action" I liked, and a "believable Asian-inspired setting" intrigued me, but "tense political drama" and the reference to grimdark pioneer Joe Abercrombie gave me pause. I've grown tired of the whole amoral, violent, dystopian turn of fantasy, finding it to be more something I want to escape from rather than escape into. It didn't help when the booked opened with a young woman murdering her husband in cold blood (although I did take a liking to Katerina right away), before switching to a young prince playing the coward card and hiding as his family is murdered around him (Jun was far more of a struggle to like). It also didn't help that there was such a focus on drug abuse, with the smoking of obat factoring into nearly every scene. And yet, despite all that, I preserved - mostly because I knew that Angus Macallan was a pseudonym for Angus Donald, and I hoped that his skill with historical fantasy would show here. Where the book started to win me over was at the close of the first part, as Jun watches Ketut, the skinny fisher girl, reveal herself as the vessel of a god (which is the first time the book really fulfills its magical promise), and Farhan picks up a musket in defense of Captain Lodi and his ship (which is where we get our first taste of large-scale, significant action). It is the opening of the second part, however, with Katerina paying an obat-addicted beggar to castrate himself (a fantastically chilling chapter), in order to demonstrate her intention to gather an army nation of obat-addicted slaves, where the book really began to come together for me. With that one cut, I went from doubter to believer, from reluctant reader to hungry for more. It took me the better part of a month to get through the first 160 pages of Gates of Stone, but less than a week to burn through the remaining 380. The world building is fantastic, and even if the mythology was teased out slower than I would have liked, it impressed me time and time again. The storytelling itself was strong, very much coming across as a historical fantasy with elements of epic (think a darker, slightly less poetic version of Guy Gavriel Kay) and I am excited to say it never went where I expected it to go. More than all of that, the way the character arcs developed was astounding. There is real growth and development here, as plagued by doubts and frustrations as they may be, constantly adding layers to character motivations and personalities. Katerina may very well be the most exciting character to grace epic fantasy in ages, and if the promise of the climax is carried through into the next book, I just may find myself an addict of a different sort, completely under her power. https://beauty-in-ruins.blogspot.com/...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mogsy (MMOGC)

    3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2019/02/19/... Historical fiction writer Angus Donald begins a new epic fantasy series under his pseudonym Angus Macallan, drawing from his vast experience of living and working in Asia to create a world where nations war, rulers scheme, and in the midst of them all, a powerful sorcerer quietly pursues his bloodthirsty quest for the seven ancient artifacts required to destroy the world. Gates of the Stone is the first novel of the Lord 3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2019/02/19/... Historical fiction writer Angus Donald begins a new epic fantasy series under his pseudonym Angus Macallan, drawing from his vast experience of living and working in Asia to create a world where nations war, rulers scheme, and in the midst of them all, a powerful sorcerer quietly pursues his bloodthirsty quest for the seven ancient artifacts required to destroy the world. Gates of the Stone is the first novel of the Lord of the Islands series, and there are quite a few names and places to keep track of in this opening volume. Of the handful of key characters, however, the first of these is sixteen-year-old Princess Katerina of the Empire of the Ice-Bear. The story begins with the wedding between her and a foreign lord, but alas, their union is short-lived as the first thing Katerina does after their marriage is consummated is to jam the full length of a dull blade into the base of her husband’s brain. The princess has loftier ambitions than to be the wife of a mere lordling; she would have been heir to the throne of her homeland had her birthright not been snatched away because she was a woman, and she isn’t about to let this slight go unpunished. Murdering her husband and usurping his power was just the beginning; soon she will take her forces on the road to reclaim her inheritance from her traitorous cousin. Next, we have Jun, a royal heir in his own right to a small idyllic island kingdom where he spends his days in lassitude working on his art and poetry. But all that peace is shattered one day when his home is invaded by an army led by a fiendish sorcerer, who killed Jun’s father and stole the blessed sword of their royal ancestors. Determined to get it back, Jun endeavors to get over his cowardice and joins a crew of unlikely allies to follow the sorcerer’s trail through pirate-infested seas. Then we have Farhan, who beneath his guise as a middle-aged merchant is actually part of a mercenary group with much larger designs. A man of many debts, Farhan also has a lot invested in the current venture, given that it is his only chance to get the creditors off his back. And finally, there’s Mangku, the dark sorcerer searching for the Seven Keys to fulfill his greatest undertaking in blood magic. A native of Laut Besar who has been shunned and beaten down his whole life, he is now one step closer to holding the power that will make the whole world break. I’ll be honest, Gates of Stone was a novel that took me quite a while to get into. Much of the first half is not exactly what I would call fast-paced, and a lot of the “excitement” generated throughout the story felt very contrived and manufactured. From Katerina’s cold-blooded murder of her husband to the scene where she offers a fantastic sum of money to a drug addict to castrate himself, or the rape and torture that Jun encounters in the slave mines to the cannibalistic tribes that Farhan and his shipwrecked crewmates find on an island—all these examples were written in a way that made me think the author’s main priority was dramatic or sensationalist effect, which admittedly put me off for most of the book. The story obviously deals with a lot of dark and mature topics, yet unfortunately the presentation of many of these themes came across to me as superficial and overly simplistic, such as Katerina’s meteoric rise to power with little to no resistance, or her portrayal as cruel for the sake of being cruel. To be fair, these criticisms are likely the result of my own personal tastes in writing and storytelling style, but there were simply too many of these examples that don’t stand up to scrutiny. More concerning to me were the POV characters, most of whom I found difficult to connect with because for the first half of the book they were all so two-dimensional with entire personas that could be summed up in a couple lines. It also didn’t help that they were saddled with very unpleasant flaws, and if readers were meant to find these characters distasteful from the start, I must say Macallan might have done his job a little too well. That said, things did start looking up in the second half as he began beef up both plot development and characterization, although I still found the supporting cast (Captain Lodi, Ketut, Ari, etc.) to be more interesting than our three main characters for the most part. But here’s what I did like: the world-building of Gates of Stone is to die for, featuring a setting inspired by the island traditions and environments of Indonesia along with a slight smattering of influences from other Asian cultures like China and Japan. Macallan names this fictional region the Laut Besar, containing an archipelago in a tropical stretch of ocean teeming with pirates, slavers, and smugglers trafficking a potent narcotic known as obat. It’s ocean-faring adventures galore for those of us who love maritime fantasy; every place the plot takes us to is full of new wonders to discover. In fact, the world-building details were so richly described and vibrant and full of life, I only wished that our main POV characters had been given the same treatment. Still, while it might seem like I’m being overly generous with my final rating of Gates of Stone considering all my criticisms, I could not bring myself to give it anything less. It’s true I couldn’t get on board with many of the characters, but at the same time, all this latent potential beneath the surface is proving irresistible and making me curious to find out where this story is headed. I also can’t deny that great leaps and bounds were made in the second half of the novel with regards to the plot and character development, which spells great promise for what’s to come in the sequel. As it stands now, I think the author’s first foray into the fantasy genre was an average but solid entry, and subsequent books are probably where the series’ full potential will be found and realized. As such, I’ll be waiting for news of the next volume with interest.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Peter McLean

    With tense political drama and rip-roaring action in a fresh and believable Asian-inspired setting, Gates of Stone reads like a collaboration between Joe Abercrombie and James Clavell. Add ancient feuding sorcerers and a queen who would eat Cersei Lannister for breakfast, and you have the makings of an excellent fantasy debut. Angus Macallan is a compelling new voice in epic fantasy.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Benji Glaab

    4.5🌟 Gates of Stone is a fleshy debut stocked with intellectually satisfying writing. I'm more than happy I picked this up on sight at my public library. I had very little previous knowledge going into this read. Alas Angus Macallan has crafted an opulent setting that mirrors our own worlds 18th-19th century South East Asia. Flintlock/naval battles collide with Myth, and the supernatural. AM shows off his historical fiction chops with deft strategems while at the same time pleasing any fantasy afic 4.5🌟 Gates of Stone is a fleshy debut stocked with intellectually satisfying writing. I'm more than happy I picked this up on sight at my public library. I had very little previous knowledge going into this read. Alas Angus Macallan has crafted an opulent setting that mirrors our own worlds 18th-19th century South East Asia. Flintlock/naval battles collide with Myth, and the supernatural. AM shows off his historical fiction chops with deft strategems while at the same time pleasing any fantasy aficionado. Gates of Stone is on the heavy/dark end of the spectrum. I would compare this to Anthony Ryan's Raven Shadow trilogy. However AM sticks to a more streamlined cast accompanying the 3-4 main pov characters. I found it easy to follow never playing the who the F was that guy again game. The contrasting pov story arcs really helped to balance the story out. Like any descent modern day epic fantasy novel the storylines converge for a whopper of a finale full of show downs, and full scale battle sequences. The last 150 pages were straight 5 🌟 material for me. Upon completion I can recall greatly memorable scenes, and I'd have to say it was a real journey, and transformation for the characters. GoS is a book that is made right to fit in my wheelhouse, but I wouldn't classify it as accessible by any means. The quality is there, but it would come down to preferential taste wether this book is for you. I have an eye out for book 2 ( still not sure if this is trilogy or series) I really hope this series can gain some popularity since it seems to be flying under the radar atm.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mike Everest Evans

    Full review to come on https://fantasy-hive.co.uk/ but as a teaser: Angus Macallan’s foray into fantasy is off to a fantastic start with Gates of Stone. Whilst it took me awhile to get invested, the price of admission was well worth the pay off. Muskets, magic and mayhem – what more could you want?

  8. 4 out of 5

    Minx

    Gates of Stone is the first installment in the Lord of the Islands series and it is a historical fantasy that will seduce your imagination with the amazing tale held within its covers. The start of this novel will grab your attention but I did find that it took me a bit to become quite invested in it. Mainly, it was because there was the introduction to the characters and the world. Just stick with it because…well…wow, just wow…. does the pacing pick up! Also, although the main characters are yo Gates of Stone is the first installment in the Lord of the Islands series and it is a historical fantasy that will seduce your imagination with the amazing tale held within its covers. The start of this novel will grab your attention but I did find that it took me a bit to become quite invested in it. Mainly, it was because there was the introduction to the characters and the world. Just stick with it because…well…wow, just wow…. does the pacing pick up! Also, although the main characters are young adults, do not expect this to be a young adult fantasy. Expect blood, death, cruelty, brutality, and characters that are so well developed and memorable that you will be begging for the sequel! From the start of this story, I respected Katerina’s character, though I can’t say that I liked her. She was brilliant but she had no regard for others, everyone was a pawn to be put in a place where they were most useful, alive or dead, it did not matter. If someone had no more use then they became expendable. She used, manipulated, and bullied all so that she could reach her goal. She was a tyrant and she was cruel, it was great to see a female character who was strong on her own and did not need a male character to come aside and “help” her be strong enough to take what she wanted. I know it sounds weird because I have not descried any endearing characteristics but it was refreshing to see a female in charge of her destiny, who was willing to do all that was necessary to achieve her goals. Prince Arjun, well, his character took me a lot of time to like and even more time to respect. He was a spoiled prince and things were extremely difficult for him in the beginning. He was forced to deal with many hard truths and his ego took a few hits. Though, I did end up liking his character by the end of this story. With him, as well as Katerina, their characters developed as the story progressed. It was great to know their fears, doubts, and motivations. Also, to see how they reacted to those feelings just made them come alive. The other characters in this story were just as strong and they all brought something to the plot, there are no cardboard characters to be found in this novel. What I greatly appreciated about reading Gates of Stone was that it was very unique and that the world building was quite believable. The Asian-Indonesian influence feels truly authentic. I can’t say “is” because I have no experience there, but the world that was developed, as well as portions of dialogue, felt right to me. What I truly loved about this story was the fast pacing and action! If you love amazing battle scenes where the action feels savage, then you will love this story too! There was so much to love in this book but don’t expect to walk away from it with warm and fuzzy feelings. There is much tension to be had, with the politics, the plotting, and the barbarity, you will finish this story with an understanding that you never, ever, want to live in that world but that the story you just read it truly a masterpiece. This review is based on a complimentary book I received from NetGalley. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating. Find this review and more at The Genre Minx Book Reviews

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sheila Goicea

    I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! My Blog ¦ Bookstagram ¦ Twitter ¦ Pinterest ¦ Facebook

  10. 4 out of 5

    Simon Howard

    This is a debut fantasy novel by Angus Donald writing under the pseudonym Angus Macallan whilst we are more used to reading Angus Donald's great historical fiction novels I guess he fancied a bash at the world of fantasy. This is sprawling epic first attempt following multiple POV and for the most part is an exceptional story well told with an eye to the continuation of the adventure. We are join the story as princess Katerina is refused her birthright and forced into a marriage of convenience. This is a debut fantasy novel by Angus Donald writing under the pseudonym Angus Macallan whilst we are more used to reading Angus Donald's great historical fiction novels I guess he fancied a bash at the world of fantasy. This is sprawling epic first attempt following multiple POV and for the most part is an exceptional story well told with an eye to the continuation of the adventure. We are join the story as princess Katerina is refused her birthright and forced into a marriage of convenience. Meanwhile on a small Island kingdom we meet Jun a spoiled prince who is about to face the cruellest of reality checks and then there is the sorcerer Mangku who seeks the seven keys of power. And then we have Farhan, con man, chancer, sometime spy. To get the one negative out of the way, is to say that with so many characters and their stories going on the pacing suffered slightly, but only ever so slightly... considering it is a first time fantasy novel the world building was really well done, be it cities or swamps or ice barren plains you really felt you were right there and in a world where political machinations and ever changing alliances rule there is a lot of grey area, so you could feel for each of the disparate groups the only really bad guy with bad intentions through and through is the sorcerer Mangku who just wants to open the gates of hell. Whilst everyone gets their fair share of page time, the main driving force is Princess Katerina and her ambition and burning desire to prove the Male dominated world wrong and seize power for herself starting with the tropical Island of Laut Besar and the Gates Of Stone. To be honest there is not a lot to like with Katerina, who is ruthless, brilliant, strong and determined to destroy or use anything or anyone in her path, but I think the author added just enough humanity to her that you cannot help but root for her. The character with the most growth by far is prince Jun, as his Island is attacked, his father the king killed and the sacred Sword of his people (one of the keys of power) is stolen by Mangku and his band of pirates.... Jun feels himself defined by a moment of cowardice and vows to retrieve both sword and honour, he is aided by a mysterious old servant that is obviously more than he seems and a lowly Fisher girl who carries the weight of a God Inside her, as the rigors of the journey and the enormity of his task sets in Jun has his eyes opened to just how small his 'Kingdom' really is, but this spoiled, rich pretty boy has more about him than first seems.... the question is, will it be enough? Last we have Farhan, a tragic figure, a con man, adventurer, play boy who is facing the fact that he is getting too old for the life he leads, has nothing to show for it and is in fact not even as free as he likes to think himself beholden to debtors and a spymaster and his insidious second Mamaji. Farhan has no choice but to roll the dice for one last time and hope that fortune does indeed favour the bold. All in all this was a wonderful read, with big battle scenes, moments of horror and humour..... great joy and despair and at the heart of it some great characters that I look forward to meeting again! Worthy first attempt indeed.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lashaan Balasingam (Bookidote)

    You can find my review on my blog by clicking here. Historical fiction writer Angus Donald, the author of The Outlaw Chronicles, brings his talents into the epic fantasy game by writing under his new pen name Angus Macallan the first book of The Lord of Islands series, a high fantasy novel with a strong penchant for Asian culture and history. While the protagonists are young, the world he constructs is ruthless. With grimdark elements sporadically spread throughout the story, this is one adventur You can find my review on my blog by clicking here. Historical fiction writer Angus Donald, the author of The Outlaw Chronicles, brings his talents into the epic fantasy game by writing under his new pen name Angus Macallan the first book of The Lord of Islands series, a high fantasy novel with a strong penchant for Asian culture and history. While the protagonists are young, the world he constructs is ruthless. With grimdark elements sporadically spread throughout the story, this is one adventure that is far from being light and casual. Although the darker moments do feel a bit out of place and unexpected, they assure readers that Angus Macallan does not plan on giving us a fairytale but a fantasy story dripping with horrible instances that will require everyone to not be faint of heart. But does Angus Macallan have what it takes to shove his way among the top tier authors in the fantasy genre today? This is his time to prove it. What is Gates of Stone about? The story alternates between multiple characters and transports readers to different realities as their lives slowly intertwine within the islands of Laut Besar. Among these key figures is Princess Katerina, a sixteen-year-old young lady who is denied her rightful heir to the empire of the Ice-Bear because of her sex. To claim what belongs to her, she commits a dangerous crime and regains possession of her inheritance, placing her in a singular position that will force her to explore the fragile yet destructive powers she holds within the palm of her hands. Another important hero that sees his life completely changed within an instant is Prince Jun. His story brings him on an adventure to hunt down a dark sorcerer who stripped away from him everything he loved. A devious merchant known by the name of Farhan is also the center of attention as his actions hide much more than what he intends to achieve. Finally, the story also gives us an inside look at a dark sorcerer’s twisted path down into the darkness. What Angus Macallan successfully delivers in his latest novel is an enthralling and beautiful world that has a lot of action that takes place on the sea. With pirates and whatnot roaming everywhere, danger lurks around the corner, yet is always visible to the naked eye. How he builds his world and integrates his elements of epic fantasy and mysticism are also thoroughly intelligent and compelling without giving any sense of déjà-vu. It is also worth mentioning that his attempt to create an Asian-inspired world is impeccable as the level of detail put into fully-realizing the land and the sea are impressive. Even the research put into simulating the rich Asian history and culture was authentic and helps tremendously in immersing the reader. With what Angus Macallan presents in this story, it wouldn’t be farfetched to believe that there is so much more to explore and discover in the stories to come. Where things worked a lot less for me is with the characters. Right from the start, I was never able to connect with any of them as they never conveyed any particular traits that tickled my fancy. Often they seemed too unidimensional and functioned according to a particular way of thinking that ultimately led all their actions in one direction with barely any nuance. The lack of complexity was a bit staggering but as the story advanced, a slightly deeper appreciation for their development came to me and offered me the opportunity to overlook this in order to enjoy the story’s direction. To a lesser extent, I also found myself thrown off by some of the more historical elements that were dumped on the reader, especially when the names of people and places were pitched. In fact, a perfect example would be the historical extracts from a certain book that are placed at the beginning of some chapters that never successfully captured my attention or curiosity. Nonetheless, Angus Macallan does a wonderful job of building his world and telling his story. Gates of Stone is a promising foray into the fantasy genre by an author with a fantastic talent in writing historical fiction and who tactically manipulates his fantasy elements to deliver a dark and action-packed story. Thank you to Ace Books for sending me a copy for review! Yours truly, Lashaan | Blogger and Book Reviewer Official blog: https://bookidote.com/

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Creason

    Check out this and many other book reviews on my blog: Meet Your New Favorite Book OMGOMGOMG! This book was AWESOME! This book is action-packed and starts off with a bang! I really liked it! However, some parts were a bit slow for me. It took me a little while to read this one, mostly because I kept having to put it down and do things in the real world (ugh, adulting sucks!), definitely not by choice though. This book starts off fast, it does get a little slow in the middle, but then it picks back up Check out this and many other book reviews on my blog: Meet Your New Favorite Book OMGOMGOMG! This book was AWESOME! This book is action-packed and starts off with a bang! I really liked it! However, some parts were a bit slow for me. It took me a little while to read this one, mostly because I kept having to put it down and do things in the real world (ugh, adulting sucks!), definitely not by choice though. This book starts off fast, it does get a little slow in the middle, but then it picks back up and keeps its momentum until the very end. I absolutely 💓💓💓Katerina! She is denied her throne and inheritance solely because of her sex, and she refuses to accept that. She is a total badass and completely ruthless (and possibly a bit of a baddie)... That is one of the things I liked most about this book, although there are "bad guys" (and girls) and "good guys" (and girls), no character is only bad or only good. The author did an excellent job at character development and showing the many different facets of each character's personality so that it is not at all easy to classigy them as one of the other. The author also did an excellent job of world building. The Laut Besay is wonderfully terrible and brutal and filled with crazy tales that often turn out to be true. The whole book was full of twists and turns. It kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the whole book! The ending was EPIC! The only thing I am disappointed about is how long I will have to wait to see what happens next! The sequel is not listed at all on GoodReads yet, so it may be a while until the next book in the series is released. 😢 Until then, I will be waiting not so patiently for news about the second book's release. I received a copy of this book from the publishers, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Virginia

    I really liked this book! The characters, Katarina, Jun, and Semar, were so fascinating that I had to know how their journeys would end. I think Macallan did a fantastic job fleshing out those characters and paced their development really well. I haven’t seen good character development like this since reading about Jamie Lannister. At first I was a little annoyed with Jun, but when he stopped being so pompous, I found myself rooting for him and sympathizing every time he hit an obstacle. He’s pr I really liked this book! The characters, Katarina, Jun, and Semar, were so fascinating that I had to know how their journeys would end. I think Macallan did a fantastic job fleshing out those characters and paced their development really well. I haven’t seen good character development like this since reading about Jamie Lannister. At first I was a little annoyed with Jun, but when he stopped being so pompous, I found myself rooting for him and sympathizing every time he hit an obstacle. He’s probably my favorite character now. Not to be outdone though, I adore Katarina’s storyline! It’s really fun to read about strong women who have goals beyond getting married and aren’t afraid to get their hands bloody (that wedding scene, OMG!). She is such a badass! Let's not ignore the story itself though with it's fantastic descriptions of naval battles, guerilla warfare, and a world very different, yet familiar, to ours. After the initial world-building, the story really takes off and you won't want to put it down. I also really liked how he was playing off of Asian culture. It’s refreshing to see and pretty unique when it comes to high fantasy since most Asian-based stories tend to be in the sci-fi realm. **Read thanks to an ARC from ACE**

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ash | EmeraldBookOwl

    I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    Thank you to GoodReads and the publisher for giving me an advanced copy!! I finally finished this! It too me a lot longer than expected. Gates of Stone revolves around three characters: Jun, a spoiled prince, lives a life of luxury and ease on one of the islands in Laut Besar ( I can't remember it's name, sorry!!) Until one day his island is raided and some other things happen but I don't want to spoil it. This sends Jun on a mystical journey across the islands to catch the raiders (and also may Thank you to GoodReads and the publisher for giving me an advanced copy!! I finally finished this! It too me a lot longer than expected. Gates of Stone revolves around three characters: Jun, a spoiled prince, lives a life of luxury and ease on one of the islands in Laut Besar ( I can't remember it's name, sorry!!) Until one day his island is raided and some other things happen but I don't want to spoil it. This sends Jun on a mystical journey across the islands to catch the raiders (and also maybe there were other reasons that you'll have to find out for yourself). Of the three characters, Jun was my favorite story line. I just love when rich princes are forced to face reality. Also, Ketut, one of his traveling companions was awesome and my FAVORITE character of the book. I loved her. She was well written, with a good part and good motivations. Katerina is a cruel princess trying to take over her father's empire. Her father marries her off to some southern kingdom's King to get rid of her because he “ wants her to be happy”. Anyway, she's mad, she murders her husband and hatches a plan to travel to Laut Besar and eventually take over the empire.  She is the character I can see many people loving: she's driven, she's smart, and she's hardcore. She reminds me of Calaena in SJ Maas's Throne of Glass series. I however, did not enjoy her. I felt she was cruel for no reason ( though she claims to have a reason, but does having your handmaid whipped to the Bone because she messed up your hair sound like it had good reason behind it?) The book also fails to explain why she's cruel. Is it part of her culture? Was her father cruel? Don't expect those answers. Also, she's too beautiful. Everyone thinks she's beautiful, and everyone stays loyal, despite the fact the she is a foreign princess alone in the land! Furthermore, she gets away with her husband's murder too easily. One person questions her, and that's it. Anyway, she's not my cup of tea. I feel like she's verging on Mary Suedom. However, her Niho guards were interesting. The third main character was also boring to me. Mangu is the ‘evil sorcerer’ searching for the keys to the kingdom because he is a member of the original inhabitants of Laut Besar and has been oppressed his whole life until he finds his ‘master’. Now he practices blood magic (of course he does. Yawn. Was that supposed to be scary? Or surprising?)  Anyway, he runs around doing evil deeds, in a stereotypically evil way. There is another point of view character whose name I did not bother to remember whose a shady in debt merchant working for some resistance. I don't know. I didn't pay much attention. But he's there readers. Just so he doesn't surprise you. The first 160 pages were hard to get in to. They were sloowww. However, after that the pace picks up and the book becomes quite exciting. I liked the setting of the islands of Laut Besar. The Celestial Republic is another kingdom that I found to be intriguing! Overall, it was a fun read after you get past the start! I wish some of the characters had been looking stereotypical (Mangu!!) Because typical bad guys be boring. Anyway, happy reading!!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Adam Lofthouse

    The mighty Angus Donald turns his hand to fantasy, and makes a quite brilliant job of it. Set in a fantasical Asia, the plot follows three main threads. Princess Katerina would be quite at home in Game of Thrones, fighting it out with the Mother of Dragons for supremacy in Westeros (and probably last longer than Cerci does in series 8), she is ruthless, a heart of stone, she will let nothing stand in her way. Jun lives on a luxurious and peaceful island, where he lives comfortably as a prince. H The mighty Angus Donald turns his hand to fantasy, and makes a quite brilliant job of it. Set in a fantasical Asia, the plot follows three main threads. Princess Katerina would be quite at home in Game of Thrones, fighting it out with the Mother of Dragons for supremacy in Westeros (and probably last longer than Cerci does in series 8), she is ruthless, a heart of stone, she will let nothing stand in her way. Jun lives on a luxurious and peaceful island, where he lives comfortably as a prince. His world is turned upside down when his island is attacked, his father murdered. Thrust into a quest he does not seek or desire, his is a tale of coming of age, of realising a destiny he thought perhaps beyond him, finding an inner strength he didn't know he possessed. Farhan is an adventurer, a conman, deeply in debt and totally out of his depth. He's fun to read, unpredictable and his story line is perhaps the most engaging of the three. Each come with their own supporting casts, who are all very unique and rounded, making for an engaging story. If I was to give a critique I would say - having taken a week after I finished the book to review - that perhaps the first two parts of the book are a bit wordy. Part three is explosive and gripping, parts one and two provide the build up, but maybe the story builds for a bit too long. There is plenty of action and intrigue throughout, the world building is intricate and I could really picture the characters surroundings, and that could be why I felt there was such a change of pace in the final part, the world and characters were of course already laid bare by then. All in all, a really great read, as one would expect from Angus Donald (Macallan)

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Ulrich

    I wasn't sure where all this was going until about 2/3rds of the way through. Then all the loose ends wove themselves together into a great story. Journey with each character individually, then see them come together in a great ending!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Chad

    I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Gates of Stone introduces the Lord of the Islands series, as such, it has to provide a lot of background information and context before getting too deep into the actual story line. Personally, it took a while for me to get into the book, but once I did I was hooked. The character development is excellent and the way that Macallan weaves the different story lines together is impressive and seamless. After reading Gates of S I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Gates of Stone introduces the Lord of the Islands series, as such, it has to provide a lot of background information and context before getting too deep into the actual story line. Personally, it took a while for me to get into the book, but once I did I was hooked. The character development is excellent and the way that Macallan weaves the different story lines together is impressive and seamless. After reading Gates of Stone I can honestly say that I will be eagerly awaiting the rest of the Lord of the Islands series.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nick Brett

    Angus Macallan is the pseudonym for the author Angus Donald. Mr Donald is the author of the utterly brilliant “Outlaw” series and a two part (so far) series set about the time of the “glorious revolution”. An immensely talented writer of historical fiction. But Gates of Stone is a new direction as it is a proper fantasy novel and one set with a distinct Asian flavour. Given the author’s pedigree it was never not going to be good, it was going to be a question of “how good”. This is a book that ask Angus Macallan is the pseudonym for the author Angus Donald. Mr Donald is the author of the utterly brilliant “Outlaw” series and a two part (so far) series set about the time of the “glorious revolution”. An immensely talented writer of historical fiction. But Gates of Stone is a new direction as it is a proper fantasy novel and one set with a distinct Asian flavour. Given the author’s pedigree it was never not going to be good, it was going to be a question of “how good”. This is a book that asks a little of you, to give it time to get sucked in and properly immerse yourself in. Character setting and multiple points of view take a small time to bed in and before you realise it, you have gone from “this is okay” to “I can’t put this down”. The Asian setting works well with hints of cultures you are familiar with but with enough to make it interesting and different. Our main characters are a somewhat feckless prince who has all he knows taken away from him, a murderous young lady with world changing ambition and a merchant who is sometimes almost as clever as he thinks he is. The story leads characters to the famous Gates of Stone, all for different reasons and with unexpected outcomes. There is plenty of action and intrigue along with some dark humour that fans of Joe Abercrombie will likely enjoy. Some nice side characters too, especially Mamaji who….. No I’m not going to spoil that one, the pleasure is in the discovery. Which is true of the whole book to be honest. A welcome addition to quality and engaging fantasy.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

    This book was received as an ARC from Berkley Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. One of the needs in our library is new exciting sci-fi fantasy novels and Gates of Stone sure delivered on the wow factor. If I could describe this book the best its like what if Merida from Brave meets Maven from Red Queen and the setting of their adventure is a Game of Thrones type of environment. From beginning to end, this book This book was received as an ARC from Berkley Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. One of the needs in our library is new exciting sci-fi fantasy novels and Gates of Stone sure delivered on the wow factor. If I could describe this book the best its like what if Merida from Brave meets Maven from Red Queen and the setting of their adventure is a Game of Thrones type of environment. From beginning to end, this book was filled with excitement, adventure through every page you turn. When I read books like these I examine the title and then read through each chapter with the title in mind. This was the first book where the title and the context of the book made sense in the most unique way and the avid sci-fi/fantasy readers will really appreciate that! We will consider adding this book to our sci-fi/fantasy collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

    In the market to begin a new epic fantasy series? Maybe something to help take the edge off once the final season of Game of Thrones airs on HBO? Luckily, there's a new series that will fit the bill coming this February. Gates of Stone, the first novel in the Lord of the Islands series, weaves tales of folklore and custom into a comprehensive tale of magic and political drama.    Game of Thrones in Asia Gates of Stone is being marketed as “Game of Thrones in Asia”. This both helps and hurts the no In the market to begin a new epic fantasy series? Maybe something to help take the edge off once the final season of Game of Thrones airs on HBO? Luckily, there's a new series that will fit the bill coming this February. Gates of Stone, the first novel in the Lord of the Islands series, weaves tales of folklore and custom into a comprehensive tale of magic and political drama.    Game of Thrones in Asia Gates of Stone is being marketed as “Game of Thrones in Asia”. This both helps and hurts the novel. For obvious reasons, comparing a book to a well known property can pull in parts of a dedicated fan base. But this can also backfire. As we all know, fans are a tricky bunch and can be quite fickle. Gates of Stone is an epic fantasy drama with political struggles at its core, much like A Song of Ice and Fire (ASOIAF). There are additional similarities between Gates of Stone and Game of Thrones – in style, in scope, in brutality. And there are things that seem outright identical – a brutal horse-riding culture and a drinking, scheming, murderous woman with a desire to rule. These things provide a two-edged sword, to use a fantastical analogy. While it may lure some readers in, there is a sense that they’ve already committed years to a series and don’t need to do the same with a copycat series set in a different climate. Personally, I found the initial chapter introducing us to Katerina to fall into that category. I was dismayed. The book is large and dense and I just wasn’t sure if I wanted to read it. The brutality and the drug use were blatant and disturbing. But, I kept reading. As a result, I was introduced to the other characters in this epic adventure. Occasionally, there are bits that call dismayingly call back so familiarly to A Song of Ice and Fire. But when it doesn’t, when Gates of Stones revels in its own story, it is brilliant. The Individualism of Gates of Stone The Gates of Stone is most engaging as it forges its own path. The mythology and the “ethnographic” studies are inventive and detailed. There is an attention to detail in the variety of cultures mixing in the island nations. The book is mostly set in the Laut Besar, a region of numerous tropical islands reminiscent of Indonesia. There are pirates, cannibals, religious fanatics, merchants, slave traders, drug addicts, and more roaming the seas and islands of the Laut Besar. And despite this vast area, the main characters and their story lines converge sooner rather than later. This provides a welcome contrast to the occasional plodding pace of ASOIAF. Because of this I look forward to the next installment of the Lord of the Islands. I'm eager to see Ketut and Katerina interact with each other. I want to know if Xi Gung will catch up with Farhan Madani. And I can’t wait to discover the remaining Keys of Power. I'm eager to see the ultimate impact they will have on the world if brought together. There is a lot to enjoy and look forward to in the series.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Van (Short & Sweet Reviews)

    Disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for a honest review. There’s been a huge wave of POC/diverse novels and authors the past year which led to many Asian-Inspired novels. But it was something I saw more prevalent in the Young Adult genre. I haven’t seen many adult Asian Fantasy, at least none that piqued my interest until Gates of Stone. I was intrigued by the ambitious princess willing to do whatever it took to regain her throne and the prince on a quest to hunt h Disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for a honest review. There’s been a huge wave of POC/diverse novels and authors the past year which led to many Asian-Inspired novels. But it was something I saw more prevalent in the Young Adult genre. I haven’t seen many adult Asian Fantasy, at least none that piqued my interest until Gates of Stone. I was intrigued by the ambitious princess willing to do whatever it took to regain her throne and the prince on a quest to hunt his father’s killer. From reading the synopsis, I thought for sure the prince and princess’s path would cross and together they would fight the evil sorcerer hellbent on destroying the world…I was way, way off. Gates of Stone follows four characters in my opinion, not three. We have Katerina, Jun, Sorcerer Mangku and a sneaky merchant named Farhan. For about 85% of the book, the character’s stories are somewhat self contained, their threads don’t converge until the last 15% of the book, though some won’t meet face to face until the second book. What I liked about Gates of Stone was that Macallan used a medley of various Asian cultures, incorporating influences predominately from Indonesia, China, Japan and India. Something I don’t see often enough and done very well. I thought the world building was very complex and detailed. It was a bit difficult in the beginning keeping track of all the locations and characters mentioned but Macallan explained everything thoroughly and after a few chapters I was able to get into the flow of the writing and differentiate whose narrative I was reading. I also thought Macallan did an excellent job with the characters. Each character was unique in their personality, goals and flaws. However, none of them were good people or likeable…not even decent. This book was full of politics and everyone had their own agenda, doing everything and anything to get to the top of the ladder from bribery, lying to backstabbing and murder. And speaking of such, Gates of Stone is extremely graphic and violent, at times a bit too much and unnecessary in my opinion. It was so off-putting I had to stop reading and put it down for a length of time. Has anyone else noticed that fantasy (adult and YA) is getting darker and more brutal? Overall, Gates of Stone was a pretty good start to a new series. I may not be a fan of the characters, but I am still interested in seeing how everything plays out. Will Mangku succeed in finding all seven of the special artifacts? What will happen when Jun and Katerina meet? If you’re looking for a good Asian-inspired fantasy, then I think Gates of Stone is worth checking out, just be warned it is bloody violent and not for the faint of heart.

  23. 4 out of 5

    One-Edgy-Anti-Hero

    What's with all these Game of Thrones comparisons for everything lately? Don't get me wrong, I love that book/show with all my being because the characters are just, fantastic. However, everything seems to be compared to it these days. Haha. Though, another reviewer said a character from this thing has Jaime Lannister level development. Hmmm. I'll wait for more reviews to roll in before I throw money at this.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    I was excited about this and I hear that once we get into the back story of the main female character she becomes a bit more understandable. I ain’t got that kind of time, I don’t want to go through another couple of hundred pages to understand a reprehensible character! Too shallow, I related to no one, the world in interesting but just didn’t hold my interest. I’m in a tricky place with books lately, getting bored easily, perhaps at a more forgiving time this would have become a 3 star? But I’ I was excited about this and I hear that once we get into the back story of the main female character she becomes a bit more understandable. I ain’t got that kind of time, I don’t want to go through another couple of hundred pages to understand a reprehensible character! Too shallow, I related to no one, the world in interesting but just didn’t hold my interest. I’m in a tricky place with books lately, getting bored easily, perhaps at a more forgiving time this would have become a 3 star? But I’m looking for more.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sandra Kennett

    What a brilliant book. It might even become my favourite read of 2019! Loved the characters. Loved the world building and loved that there was some magic. Really liked that there was a "baddy" sorceror and can't wait to find out how the "goodies" are going to best him. All in all, a classic epic fantasy. Just how I like a fantasy to be. 5 out of 5 starts for the story, plot and characters. 5 out of 5 stars also for the book itself. A lovely, lovely floppy paperbacks. I love floppy paperbacks. Th What a brilliant book. It might even become my favourite read of 2019! Loved the characters. Loved the world building and loved that there was some magic. Really liked that there was a "baddy" sorceror and can't wait to find out how the "goodies" are going to best him. All in all, a classic epic fantasy. Just how I like a fantasy to be. 5 out of 5 starts for the story, plot and characters. 5 out of 5 stars also for the book itself. A lovely, lovely floppy paperbacks. I love floppy paperbacks. They are just so nice to hold and read and make the reading experience so much better. I wish all paperbacks were of the floppy variety. The cover is stunning and the pages of the novel are printed on good quality paper. All in all a lovely reading experience.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    I liked the beginning, then about half way through I got really bored [and the story got really dark], and from then I skipped all the chapters except Katerina's. Do I regret it? Nah. Lovely writing, a rich world, but none of the characters I rooted for and after the halfway point I stopped caring about the plot. I feel like I'm way too picky these days, or maybe I'm just reading the wrong books. Oh well.

  27. 5 out of 5

    CR

    My Review: This was a very interesting story of one girl who is denied her right to the throne because she's a girl. I feared that this being written by a man would make this a very sexist story. But I am happy to report that that is not the case. This was a very seat of your pants story that was inspired by a large number of different cultures. I will say that this one has rape, gang rape and a little bit of gore in so because of that I would say this one is set for higher teen readers. This on My Review: This was a very interesting story of one girl who is denied her right to the throne because she's a girl. I feared that this being written by a man would make this a very sexist story. But I am happy to report that that is not the case. This was a very seat of your pants story that was inspired by a large number of different cultures. I will say that this one has rape, gang rape and a little bit of gore in so because of that I would say this one is set for higher teen readers. This one really slightly reminded me of And I Darken by Kristen White. Just in the fact that this is way darker than I thought it was going to be. It was very good and I really need a finished copy of it but sadly it's not out yet. If you are looking for a fast read that you won't be able to put down check this one out! Go Into This One Knowing: Indonesian-inspired, Chinese, Japanese, and Indian influences, rape, gang rape, and gore

  28. 5 out of 5

    Marian

    Great! This is a well written book that grabbed me from the opening pages and kept me pleased through the end. I very much look forward to a sequel. I think this will be a series to re-read. Great characters, a fascinating world, and objects of power to change the world.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Eleanor Jethro

    What a great read. At first it was like what the heck. But the further I got into the book the more enjoyable it became. Alot of back and forth between characters but eventually it all merged. I'm glad i kept reading the book as I don't like the back and forth. The characters were great as time went on. I would recommend this book to anyone that is interested in reading fantasy - alot of it was believable even though I was not there in those times - so can't attest to any of it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nrere

    Ghost Tigerssss.

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