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Spirit Gate: Book One of Crossroads Paperback – 18 Jan 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (18 Jan. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841495999
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841495996
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 887,847 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Accomplished storytelling (SFX)

This is truly epic fantasy (Publishers Weekly)

Book Description

The launch of a spectacular new fantasy epic in which the best and worst of human nature vie for supremacy - a violent struggle for land and power in a world of fabled cities, terrible dangers and mysterious gods.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Cook on 28 April 2010
Format: Paperback
Kate Elliott's Crown of Stars series would have been up there with the very best on my fantasy list if it hadn't been so long winded - and that is me being kind. For this reason I've put off reading Spirit Gate for quite a while and have only just finished it - and I'm glad to report that that all the old problems seem to have been ironed out and it is an excellent story.
The first half of the book mainly concentrates on character and world building and that does slow it down a tad, but the action soon picks up and it had me turning the pages at a furious rate. In fantasy terms there is nothing really new here, although the author keeps it fresh by introducing new people throughout and making you interested in their day to day lives. There is a very brutal conflict at the centre of this book, but it is also very character driven and that puts it above many other series in this overcrowded genre.
I'm already half-way through the second part and the third is on it's way from the US, as I'm too impatient to wait for August when it is due to be published over here. Best fantasy I've read in quite a while.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Martin on 26 May 2007
Format: Paperback
Kate Elliott has started a new series after finishing the "Crown of Stars" (7 volumes!). She tells the story of a world that is slowly coming apart. The reeves flying on great eagles try to uphold the law, but they are failing. For most of the book it is not at all clear if there is a driving force behind this descent into destruction and war. And it is only towards the end of Vol. 1 that one starts to get inkling what this mysterious cause might be.

Despite the fact that she introduces a number of main characters, she manages to maintain the momentum and the tension. You keep wanting to know what will happen next and keep getting surprised too.

I sincerely hope that Ms Elliott will not revert to her rambling style of the final volumes of "Crown of stars" and keep introducing new main characters each with their own story, completely loosing her focus on the central plot.

She's got off to an excellant start. But then so was the "The King's Dragon", the first vol. of "Crown of stars".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Brunneria on 12 April 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you like fast, action packed novels that rush from fight to fight, then this probably won't appeal to you.

However, if you enjoy world building, sympathetic character development and multi faceted story lines, then you may enjoy it as much as I did.

The entire book is shown (not told). I have been wondering if this was a forgotten art! The reader has the world (3 cultures, climates and countries + subcultures and rebellious individual attitudes) shown by observation. By the end of this book you could read a description of a town market, or village, and know which country you were in. The courage, pathos, generosity and venal self interest of the characters is revealed by changing points of view and occasionally overlapping timelines. The effect is beautiful (and I don't often say that).

I'll be starting the next vol this evening.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 9 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback
Spirit Gate is very slow to get started but eventually becomes quite a page-turner.

The book is the first in a series, meaning the author devotes considerable chunks of text to painting a picture of a detailed, alternative world. As a result, you have to grapple with large amounts of geography, an array of cultures and a whole string of characters. This makes for very slow reading initially, which can be quite heavy-going as you struggle to absorb all the information.

However, stick with it, because it is worth it. About halfway through, the story really gets going. There is a variety of convincing characters, a fascinating mix of cultures and plenty of excitement, mystery, romance and adventure to keep you turning pages.

If for nothing else, read this book as a foundation for the second volume in the series, Shadow Gate, which is much easier reading. This second book has a gripping plot, clears up lots of unresolved questions and uses far fewer of the description-heavy passages that slowed down the narrative pace of the first book.

In summary, Spirit Gate is well worth a read but is slow to get started and can be overly detailed at times. However, the pace picks up considerably in the second half of the book and things really get going in the sequel.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Shepherd on 18 May 2009
Format: Hardcover
Ms. Elliott has established a fair reputation with her Jaran series and the Crown of Stars set. This book looks like it might be the start of another incredibly long series. In and of itself, long stories are not a problem, as they allow the author to properly set the scene, build up all the little details of the world, and explore the characters in depth, and there's a lot of that set-up work done in this novel. Much of this is quite good, as she gives us a look at not one but multiple different societies, each with their own culture, habits, gods, and idiosyncrasies, along with a fairly nice reworking of the old trope of giant flying creatures capable of hauling people around with her eagles that are at least a little less unbelievable than the fire-breathing dragons that inhabit too many fantasies.

However, there becomes just too much of this background and scene setting. Every time someone walks down the street, every detail of that street needs to remarked upon, every peddler, beggar, fruit stand, scent, and building. The world mythology is detailed multiple times, frequently with the exact same words. After a while, this continuous descriptive work becomes overwhelming and smothers the story. In a planned series of books, I don't expect the first book to have a great amount of story/plot development, but here I found only enough to really occupy about a 200 hundred page book. As it actually runs to over 400 pages, that's a lot of filler.

Her character development is good, with enough depth given to several characters to make me care about what happens to them, and I found these people to be generally likable even with their obvious character flaws. The problems her characters face grow naturally from the environment and the starting premise of the book.
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