Sarathena Remillus, daughter of the newly elected Primus of the Republic of Temboria, has been given a mission: discover the secret of slave magic. Anxious to escape the corruption and treachery of the capital, Sara welcomes the chance to finally prove herself far away in Kandrith, the tiny nation of former slaves.
Accompanying her on the journey is Lance, a Kandrithan to whom Sara owes her life. Lance despises the nobility, and is determined to resist his desire for Sara, despite her attempts to entice him into divulging the secret of his magic.
Soon their travels become fraught with peril, and Sara discovers she's fallen victim to the ultimate betrayal. To end a war between two nations, she will have to make the ultimate sacrifice...
First of all, I really loved this book. The world building was amazing. I love how Nicole Luiken was able to introduce the reader to her magical world and make them fall in love with it. I appreciated having some background on the mechanics of magic in Kandrith, but I really like that the background wasn't delivered in a heavy-handed way. We learn the secrets of "Slave Magic" step by step along with Sara.
A large portion of this book is what I like to call a "road fantasy," where the characters are traveling from one location to another, having various adventures along the way. Road fantasies can be awesome or they can drag on and be boring. Gate to Kandrith was definitely the former, with enough action and tension (sexual and otherwise) to hold the reader's interest.
On that note, please let me warn you that Gate to Kandrith is definitely not for young readers. There are some adult situations with varying degrees of graphic imagery (I feel that because I read and review YA books as well as adult, this warning is important).
I enjoyed Gate to Kandrith's examination of issues including corruption, racism and slavery. For example, can a person be morally good and still own slaves, or is it mutually exclusive? At what point do you give up on someone you love(d)? Do you ever? I guess that last question will have to wait until the next book is released.
I was also really pleased with the ending of this book. Whenever I'm reading a book and really enjoying it, I start dreading the ending. I've been burned too many times by books that start off amazing and have a really terrible ending. But Gate to Kandrith was excellent, a fast-paced, extremely exciting ending with a bit of a cliff-hanger that makes me super eager for the next installment (Nicole assured me she is working on it).
Oh my gosh, the final climactic scene is so intense! It is definitely my favourite part. I literally had to drop everything to finish this book!
Sarathena Remillus. Sara was loyal, kind and selfless. That said, she was by no means perfect. She was quite naive is many ways and tended to be a bit reckless. She is also a great example of a person shaped by the environment they grew up in, but not bound by it.
I also liked Julen a lot. Ambition is sexy!
My Rating: 5 Hearts!
Source: egalley provided by Carina Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Where to Find It: Goodreads | Amazon | Carina Press