Late at night a fight broke out beyond the compound's high walls.
–Kate Elliott - Traitors' Gate - c.2009
Crossroads; book 3
So, this is book three, so to give a quick recap would be to give spoilers for the previous books, so I won’t. However, I will say that this is less of a review and more of “oh my god” feels sort of wandering thought process. I don’t know why anyone would read it if they haven’t read the books, but I’ll still try to hide spoilers and not get to specific in my burblings.
First off, I loved this book. Loved it.
I mean, I really liked book 1, and enjoyed book 2 even more, but this one… yeah it just did he job. All of the job. Which isn’t to say that it is perfect, because nothing in life is, but I can’t come up with anything wrong with it at the moment.
Second of all the characters. There are so many of them, and they all have their own journeys and character arcs, and they are all so real. Even when I didn’t particularly like a character1 I still found myself utterly caught up in their story, and didn’t want to leave it, even when I really wanted to find out what was going on in another characters story.
And then there were the stories and characters that I loved and adored but that went in a way I so didn’t see coming and were so sad and heartbreaking… but I’m venturing into spoiler territory there, so I’ll leave it at that.
But yeah, lots of unexpected events and developments here. The title of the book, Traitors’ Gate, that’s all I’m saying, okay?
And then there is the world building. The main setting for the story is The Hundred, where there are no kings or queens and every town rules itself, with help, in theory, from the Reeves and the Guardians. But at the start of Spirit Gate the reader learns that the Guardians haven’t been seen in at least a generation and the power of the reeves has been slipping. The peace of The Hundred is not to last. In other, bordering, lands things are done differently. Most are ruled by one person, and that centralisation of authority can be useful in times of war. But not only are they organised in different manners, they also have different religions and customs. Even within The Hundred there are those who do not follow all the usual Hundred customs.
These different cultures allow Elliott to explore themes such as sexism, racism, slavery, power and privilege, and so much more. And boy does she! There is loads and loads to discuss in this book.
One issue I did have with the book was that at the start of some of the chapters names of characters and places weren’t capitalised, it is strange how much that interferes with the flow of reading, but I can’t lay the blame for that with the author :) now can I.
I think this book means that I will have to read everything by Elliott that I can, I was already working my way towards that idea, but this has cemented it. Good thing I have her Jaran series already on the kindle, and that her new short story collection The very best of Kate Elliott arrived last week.
or at least I didn’t at first ↩