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She is such a badass! Let's not ignore the story itself though with it's fantastic descriptions of naval battles, guerilla warfare, and a world very different, yet familiar, to ours. After the initial world-building, the story really takes off and you won't want to put it down. I also really liked how he was playing off of Asian culture. Jan 25, ash emeraldbookowl marked it as short-to-read-list Shelves: approved-arcs , high-fantasy. I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Feb 22, Lashaan Balasingam Bookidote rated it liked it Shelves: read-in , fantasy. You can find my review on my blog by clicking here. Historical fiction writer Angus Donald, the author of The Outlaw Chronicles, brings his talents into the epic fantasy game by writing under his new pen name Angus Macallan the first book of The Lord of Islands series, a high fantasy novel with a strong penchant for Asian culture and history. While the protagonists are young, the world he constructs is ruthless.

With grimdark elements sporadically spread throughout the story, this is one adventur You can find my review on my blog by clicking here. With grimdark elements sporadically spread throughout the story, this is one adventure that is far from being light and casual.


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Although the darker moments do feel a bit out of place and unexpected, they assure readers that Angus Macallan does not plan on giving us a fairytale but a fantasy story dripping with horrible instances that will require everyone to not be faint of heart. But does Angus Macallan have what it takes to shove his way among the top tier authors in the fantasy genre today?

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This is his time to prove it. What is Gates of Stone about? The story alternates between multiple characters and transports readers to different realities as their lives slowly intertwine within the islands of Laut Besar. Among these key figures is Princess Katerina, a sixteen-year-old young lady who is denied her rightful heir to the empire of the Ice-Bear because of her sex.

To claim what belongs to her, she commits a dangerous crime and regains possession of her inheritance, placing her in a singular position that will force her to explore the fragile yet destructive powers she holds within the palm of her hands. Another important hero that sees his life completely changed within an instant is Prince Jun. His story brings him on an adventure to hunt down a dark sorcerer who stripped away from him everything he loved.

A devious merchant known by the name of Farhan is also the center of attention as his actions hide much more than what he intends to achieve. What Angus Macallan successfully delivers in his latest novel is an enthralling and beautiful world that has a lot of action that takes place on the sea. With pirates and whatnot roaming everywhere, danger lurks around the corner, yet is always visible to the naked eye.

It is also worth mentioning that his attempt to create an Asian-inspired world is impeccable as the level of detail put into fully-realizing the land and the sea are impressive. Even the research put into simulating the rich Asian history and culture was authentic and helps tremendously in immersing the reader. Where things worked a lot less for me is with the characters. Right from the start, I was never able to connect with any of them as they never conveyed any particular traits that tickled my fancy.

Gates of Stone

Often they seemed too unidimensional and functioned according to a particular way of thinking that ultimately led all their actions in one direction with barely any nuance. To a lesser extent, I also found myself thrown off by some of the more historical elements that were dumped on the reader, especially when the names of people and places were pitched. In fact, a perfect example would be the historical extracts from a certain book that are placed at the beginning of some chapters that never successfully captured my attention or curiosity. Nonetheless, Angus Macallan does a wonderful job of building his world and telling his story.

Gates of Stone is a promising foray into the fantasy genre by an author with a fantastic talent in writing historical fiction and who tactically manipulates his fantasy elements to deliver a dark and action-packed story. Thank you to Ace Books for sending me a copy for review! Jan 21, Wendy rated it really liked it. Thank you to GoodReads and the publisher for giving me an advanced copy!!

I finally finished this! It too me a lot longer than expected. Gates of Stone revolves around three characters: Jun, a spoiled prince, lives a life of luxury and ease on one of the islands in Laut Besar I can't remember it's name, sorry!! Until one day his island is raided and some other things happen but I don't want to spoil it. This sends Jun on a mystical journey across the islands to catch the raiders and also may Thank you to GoodReads and the publisher for giving me an advanced copy!! This sends Jun on a mystical journey across the islands to catch the raiders and also maybe there were other reasons that you'll have to find out for yourself.

Of the three characters, Jun was my favorite story line. I just love when rich princes are forced to face reality. I loved her. She was well written, with a good part and good motivations. Katerina is a cruel princess trying to take over her father's empire. Anyway, she's mad, she murders her husband and hatches a plan to travel to Laut Besar and eventually take over the empire.

She is the character I can see many people loving: she's driven, she's smart, and she's hardcore.

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I however, did not enjoy her. I felt she was cruel for no reason though she claims to have a reason, but does having your handmaid whipped to the Bone because she messed up your hair sound like it had good reason behind it? The book also fails to explain why she's cruel. Is it part of her culture? Was her father cruel? Don't expect those answers. Also, she's too beautiful.


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  5. Everyone thinks she's beautiful, and everyone stays loyal, despite the fact the she is a foreign princess alone in the land! Furthermore, she gets away with her husband's murder too easily. One person questions her, and that's it. Anyway, she's not my cup of tea. I feel like she's verging on Mary Suedom. However, her Niho guards were interesting. The third main character was also boring to me. Now he practices blood magic of course he does.

    Was that supposed to be scary? Or surprising? Anyway, he runs around doing evil deeds, in a stereotypically evil way. There is another point of view character whose name I did not bother to remember whose a shady in debt merchant working for some resistance.

    I don't know. I didn't pay much attention. But he's there readers. Just so he doesn't surprise you. The first pages were hard to get in to. They were sloowww. However, after that the pace picks up and the book becomes quite exciting. I liked the setting of the islands of Laut Besar. The Celestial Republic is another kingdom that I found to be intriguing! Overall, it was a fun read after you get past the start!

    I wish some of the characters had been looking stereotypical Mangu!! Because typical bad guys be boring. Anyway, happy reading!! Mar 05, Jennifer Ulrich rated it really liked it. Then all the loose ends wove themselves together into a great story. Journey with each character individually, then see them come together in a great ending! May 15, Oscar rated it really liked it.

    A cracking piece of fantasy with good characterisation, a satisfying narrative arc and plenty of potential future storylines. The physical book was disappointing — thin cover, thin flimsy paper. It felt a bit cheap. Anyway, I know nothing about publishing so that is purely a gut reaction.

    That said, the story was great.

    I enjoyed the characterisation and the diversity. At first I was concerned these would be cut-out charac A cracking piece of fantasy with good characterisation, a satisfying narrative arc and plenty of potential future storylines. At first I was concerned these would be cut-out characters — beautiful princess, foppish prince, ageing businessman — but Donald gave them all an inner life and enough complexity for them to work.

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    I like too that none of them are unequivocally likeable or anti-heroes, and that we are invited to empathise with and recoil from the characters at various junctures. The narrative arc is great — I love a big geopolitical opera and the mix of different cultures, drivers of ambition, sources of power, and other political elements. I enjoyed the intermingling of hard muscular realpolitik and fantasy magic, human motivations and supernatural elements.

    Donald has clearly brought a lot of research and some emotional engagement to the geographic setting which comes through very strongly. Book one has both a satisfying set-piece conclusion and a load of potential new narrative arcs to deploy. Jan 03, Chad rated it really liked it. I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.