Also: just look at the cover. Look at it. Lori is so lucky to have such a fabulous cover designer; both this one and the one for GATES OF THREAD AND STONE knock me off my feet every time. Of course, the writing's fantabulous, too, so.
**Warning: Spoilers May Abound**
The Infinite (Gates of Thread and Stone #2), Lori M. Lee
The walls of Ninurta keep its citizens safe.
Kai always believed the only danger to the city came from within. Now, with a rebel force threatening the fragile government, the walls have become more of a prison than ever.
To make matters worse, as Avan explores his new identity as an Infinite, Kai struggles to remind him what it means to be human. And she fears her brother, Reev, is involved with the rebels. With the two people she cares about most on opposite sides of a brewing war, Kai will do whatever it takes to bring peace. But she’s lost her power to manipulate the threads of time, and she learns that a civil war might be the beginning of something far worse that will crumble not only Ninurta’s walls but also the entire city.
In this thrilling sequel to Gates of Thread and Stone, Kai must decide how much of her humanity she’s willing to lose to protect the only family she’s ever known.
IndieBound * Amazon * Barnes and Noble * The Book Depository * Brilliance Audio
Narrative-Just as in the first book, THE INFINITE is told from the first person POV of Kai. Also just as in the first book, Kai is a complete sweetheart and a realist, analyzing everything in great detail (such as what it would mean to become an adviser to the new Kahl, Miraya), as well as keeping an extremely strong focus on the well-being of the few people she really cares about: Reev, Avan, and Mason. The narrative is simple, extravagant only when it needs to be in terms of description, and willing to read so easily that the reader can focus on what's happening rather than stumbling over awkward transitions or phrases.
Plot-THE INFINITE picks up just a few months after GATES OF THREAD AND STONE leaves off. Kai has somewhat settled into an uneasy new life in the palace in Ninurta, trying to get over the guilt of killing Kahl Ninu and also the distance that's been forming between herself and her brother, Reev, and Avan. Meanwhile, there's no peace in the White Court: rebel sentinels aren't taking to the new Kahl with ease, so there's been small uprisings within the palace while the new Kahl tries to grow into her position.
Then a servant girl named Yara shows up claiming to be from a city that nobody in Ninurta knew existed, and she needs Ninurta's help to save her city from destruction. Given that the people of Ninurta believed themselves to be alone in the world, it's part curiosity that lends to Kai and a small group of others to go along back to the new city and check things out.
Now, I was suspicious. Honestly. The randomness of Yara's arrival and the similarities between timelines-the danger to her city beginning around the same time Kai had killed Kahl Ninu-raised a lot of questions, and the longer Kai and her people spent in the new city the more questions popped up: their motives, their history, why they're in a war with another people along their border (the world got a whole lot bigger), and who their goddess is that they revere so much.
So I had questions, and I was suspicious, yet the characters and particular series of events eventually made me lose my guard. So by the time plot twist happened (I'm not telling you what happened, are you crazy?), I was dead. I was struck dumb, probably in as much shock as Kai. It was an extremely well-maneuvered twist in that, after it happened, I was so sure that I should have seen it coming. And I was devastated. And Lee pulled it off and the domino effect of everything that happened next was mind-blowing.
Particularly because it later involved Avan and his continuing search for both who he is and who he wants to be. And it involves Kronos, who's trying to convince Kai to become Infinite and take her place as his heir.
Basically, what I'm trying to say: in the total of about 360 pages, I was never once bored. The flow was incredibly smooth, the pacing perfect, and the introduction of a entirely new world-as well as the way it was woven into the world created in the first books-was done without boring the reader, but instead gradually worked into the plot one detail at a time.
And I think I'm just starting to repeat myself. This was awesome, guys. It's wild and emotional, and I'd honestly say that I think it was better than the first.
Characters-Kai's a badass. Despite the fact that she can't manipulate the threads of time for about half of the book, she jumps head-first into any situation that needs her, regardless of her own welfare. Her friends and Reev call her reckless, and while that might be true she's also such an incredibly brave person that I'm happy to look up to her.
Avan becomes an interesting character in this installment, simply because he's not the same person he was in the first book by reason of amnesia and having the power of an Infinite, now. He's become the new Conquest, and with that power comes a distance and a coldness that both Kai and the reader struggles to understand. His motives are extremely blurred all the way up to the last few pages (those last few pages killed me, Lori, I hope you know that and I hope you know that I almost cried).
A few new characters show up in this book, too: Miraya, chosen by one of the Infinite as the new Kahl of Ninurta; Kahl Emryn, Kahl of Lanathrill (the "new" city that needs Ninurta's help), and Cassia, a Council member of Lahathrill who befriends Kai. Miraya, as a character, is somewhat meek as she grows into her new position, but she's impressive in wielding her power when she needs to, ultimately trusting in Kai to make the best decisions regarding Lanathrill while she's away. Emryn and Cassia are different matters, particularly because it's revealed that they appear to be mahjo, or magic wielders. Their magic didn't show up until a few months prior (another coincidence in the timeline), and there's something off about it: using their magic takes a physical toll on them, which, as Kai points out, isn't characteristic of a mahjo's magic.
And here begins the on-and-off suspicious feelings. These two definitely caught me off guard; I loved Cassia the moment we met her, and Emryn was someone I slowly warmed up to as he appeared to start respecting Kai. But can we trust them? The answer surprised me, even though I later realized that I should have known from the beginning. I'll let ya'll decide.
Final Answer: 4.66 / 5
Haven't read GATES OF THREAD AND STONE, yet? Check it out:
Gates of Thread and Stone
Lori M. Lee
In the Labyrinth, we had a saying: keep silent, keep still, keep safe.
In a city of walls and secrets, where only one man is supposed to possess magic, seventeen-year-old Kai struggles to keep hidden her own secret—she can manipulate the threads of time. When Kai was eight, she was found by Reev on the riverbank, and her “brother” has taken care of her ever since. Kai doesn’t know where her ability comes from—or where she came from. All that matters is that she and Reev stay together, and maybe one day move out of the freight container they call home, away from the metal walls of the Labyrinth. Kai’s only friend is Avan, the shopkeeper’s son with the scandalous reputation that both frightens and intrigues her.
Then Reev disappears. When keeping silent and safe means losing him forever, Kai vows to do whatever it takes to find him. She will leave the only home she’s ever known and risk getting caught up in a revolution centuries in the making. But to save Reev, Kai must unravel the threads of her past and face shocking truths about her brother, her friendship with Avan, and her unique power.
IndieBound * Amazon * Barnes and Noble * The Book Depository * Brilliance Audio * iTunes
Praise for Gates of Thread and Stone:
“Lori M. Lee excels in building a world of intrigue, oppression, and magic amidst a Labyrinth setting as twisted and winding as the secrets hidden inside her characters’ hearts. Fans of strong heroines who don’t need a boy to hold their hands, action-packed fighting scenes, and whispers of steampunk and mythology, will find themselves wishing they, too, could manipulate the threads of time, if only to stay inside the story a little longer.”
A.G. Howard, New York Times bestselling author of the SPLINTERED series
“A fast-paced, heart-wrenching whirl of a story full of magic, immortals, and a romance that will leave readers gasping for more. I adored the tough, scrappy narrator and fell in love with the boy chasing after her heart. Lori M. Lee introduces us to a fantasy world unlike any other and gives us the first taste of an epic love story in the making. I can’t wait for more!”
Mindee Arnett, THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR series and AVALON series
“Inventive, romantic, and gripping. I was hooked from the first page!”
Amy Tintera, REBOOT and REBEL
“A thrilling adventure in a vivid world, GATES OF THREAD AND STONE is the kind of book you want to read both fast and slow: fast to find out what happens next and slow to savor the journey. I couldn’t put it down.”
Sarah Beth Durst
“Lee has woven a captivating fantasy that will thread its way into your heart and pull you into a world of magic and intrigue.”
Christina Farley, GILDED and SILVERN
Lori is the author of young adult fantasy novels Gates of Thread and Stone and The Infinite. She has a borderline obsessive fascination with unicorns, is fond of talking in capslock, and loves to write about magic, manipulation, and family. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, kids, and a friendly pitbull.
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Blogger @Rae_Slater reviews THE INFINITE @LoriMLee on her blog tour stop and calls it "wild and emotional" (Click to Tweet)
THE INFINITE @LoriMLee gets 4.66 / 5 stars, and comes with a plot twist you won't see coming (Click to Tweet)