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Greek-Style Dystopian | Book Review: Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee

In the Gates of Thread and Stone, there’s good with the bad…

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

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gates of thread and stone lori m lee book review

Title & Author: Gates of Thread and Stone (Gates of Thread and Stone series) by Lori M. Lee

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy – Magic, Romance

Release Date: August 5, 2014

Series: Gates of Thread and Stone #1

Publisher: Skyscape

How I Got the Book: ARC via the publisher


“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.”

Greek + Dystopian Mash-Up Fantasy

The Gates of Thread and Stone was an interesting mash-up of concepts and characters. The world created is set in a fantasy future where there’s been a “Rebirth,” and magic is only used by the mahjo found in the White Palace/Court.

…Everyone except Kai, who can slow time by pulling on the threads of life she sees around her. It’s a secret she’s kept from everyone except her adopted brother Reev, who it just so happens has gone missing.

The book took a different approach to magic, and the parts I understood I enjoyed. The trouble is, there were a few explanations that were confusing and not fully explained.

Like, there are personifications of concepts (like Famine) who sort of served as gods because they are immortal and full of power. But, that didn’t really seem to fit in with the dystopian side of the story, where the magic of the world was being reformed.

And, maybe I totally missed it, but the “mahjo” was a strange addition to the world because he/they are not gods but still magical and…yeah I have no idea.

I think the Gates of Thread and Stone could have done a much better idea making these ideas clear and understandable instead of confusing and muddied.

Then there’s Kai. I enjoyed her as a lead heroine, BUT from the get-go she swoons over Avan, a local shop boy and friend. But it’s not a subtle “I think I like him,” it’s a “Let me relay in detail how my body reacts when I see him” description.

Which has its place, but not in every other paragraph. That frayed my nerves from the beginning.

Then there’s the ending. Things had a very nice pace in the book up until the last 20 pages or so. There things go HAYWIRE.

New characters are introduced, throwing out new ideas and plans that turn everything on its head. Too much, too soon.

I see where Gates of Thread and Stone was going, but I think plot devices and love triangles got in its way.


This is a tough one. I did enjoy most of the story, but a few things got in my way of thinking it was great and not just good. There’s an interesting fantasy world here, and if you can get past over-the-top physical attraction descriptions, then I think you might enjoy Gates of Thread and Stone more than I did.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • This sounds a like like CREWEL, in that it’s magic + dystopia that doesn’t really work.