Gates of Stone features a full, varied narrative complete with three storylines, all converging to decide the fate of this fascinating land. This is a world filled with leaders both large and small who are constantly watching out for the intrigue and deceit of neighboring lands.
Some spoilers ahead, so beware!
We follow three characters through their journeys, each as different as they are intent on their purposes. One, a princess from the North, uses her awesome power to overtake a land she has no desire to lead, exploiting fear and subservient men around her to take a throne. Another, a young prince who is arrogant and vengeful, seeks out the murderer of his family. Finally, we have a wily merchant who seeks to con a formidable ruler out of his gold. Through it all, the stench of battle and death wafts about, making this a land where bloodshed is common and betrayal is expected.
Macallan’s narrative weaves back and forth between these characters, each point of view offering something the others don’t. We see terror, intrigue, and cunning in the princess from the North. We see battle, cowardice and conceit in the wily merchant. And we see moments of learning and a journey out of naiveté from the slighted prince. Through it all, the land itself holds sway in the imagination, filled as it is with myths, legends, and epic histories few have forgotten. Magic is real, the gods are watching, and destiny is at hand.
Gates of Stone is a great example of epic fantasy done right. The characters are deeply imagined, and their actions heavily meaningful from start to finish. There’s the feeling of a grand plan in the works. Add in a terrifying sorcerer whose bloodlust knows no bounds, and you’ve got a new series that truly lives up to the word epic.
NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.
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