Snapshots: Gates of Thread and Stone (Books 1-2) by Lori M. Lee

I binge-read these while travelling and since I’m not yet done with my “Musings on Monster Girls” post, I figured I’d talk about these books instead. Lee’s books don’t really have a monster girl, but there is a slight “Am I human?” panic that happens … but I’m getting ahead of myself. *ahem*

What’s it about?

  • Gates of Thread and Stone and its sequel, The Infinite follow their protagonist Kai who has the ability to manipulate the threads of time.
  • Which is kind of a big deal and an even bigger secret since only the ruler of Ninurta, Kai’s home, is allowed to have magic.
  • Being found out for her ability to wield magic is the least of Kai’s worries, though. Lately, people have been going missing, purportedly snatched by the rebel leader Black Rider. But when Kai’s adoptive brother goes missing, neither the Black Rider nor the king himself can weaken her resolve to find Reev.
  • Teamed up with a sort-of friend, sort-of crush, Kai embarks on a journey that may have a few unexpected stops in store for her: from dealings with usurpers, to unravelling her own family history.

Magic and stuff?

  • Why yes, there is quite a bit of magic and stuff! However, the book is set in a future that is the result of a war between technology users and magic users. Consequently, Lee’s world has a very interesting mix of sci-fi type creatures (check out the cover of The Infinite) existing alongside gargoyles and the immortal personifications of things like death, famine, conquest etc. It’s a very intriguing world and Kai’s area, the Labyrinth, is one that I wish we’d gotten more of in these two books. Luckily …


  • Yep. There is a third book on its way. The Infinite leaves you with quite a few questions, so this is a good thing.

Pros and cons?

  • Well, is it obvious that I enjoyed frolicking in Kai’s world? Because I did. Very much. So, Kai’s world is a definite plus.
  • Most of the characters are coded/appear to be characters of colour, including Kai herself.
  • Avan–her friend/crush–isn’t at all what I expected. He’s charming, sweet, and loyal–and really just there to support her when she needs it, instead of constantly getting in the way and trying to talk her out of things “for her own good”. So, yay for un-annoying male character.
  • He’s also one of the few male characters of colour in fantasy (or, like, most any genre?) who is queer and tells Kai that “it isn’t all about gender” for him.
  • There is an overarching conversation about consent, control, and conquest throughout the two books. The issue isn’t discussed very thoroughly, but I hadn’t expected it at all, so I was happy to note Kai’s observations on the topic. (I also think these issues will be further examined in book three. I really hope I’m not wrong.)
  • I didn’t find the writing particularly incredible, but there are certain lines that delighted me, including the very first line in the first book: “Death lived in a glass tower at the center of the White Court.”
  • I like how inconsistent Kai’s desires and attractions are, though I can see how it may bother others. Basically, the books have quite a bit of romantic tension, so if that turns you off, perhaps these books aren’t for you. Though I would urge you to try them anyway!
  • The thing that annoyed me the most is the ratio of female-male characters. Kai is pretty much surrounded by attractive male characters and most of her interactions with female characters are either brief, or unpleasant, or occur in the background. Again, I am hoping this is something that is fixed in the next book because …
  • … have I mentioned how interesting I find this mix of fantasy/sci-fi? It’s completely captured my imagination.

And those are all the notes I have for this one!

Happy weekend! :)

4 responses to “Snapshots: Gates of Thread and Stone (Books 1-2) by Lori M. Lee

    • Aw, thanks! This is one of the shorter “reviews” I’ve done, and I’m glad to see that it works. The series, while not the best ever, is definitely captivating–or it was for me. I hope you enjoy it too. And thanks for leaving this comment! Made my day! :)

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