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Spirit Gate (Crossroads #1)

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3.57  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,104 Ratings  ·  244 Reviews
World Fantasy and Nebula Award finalist Kate Elliott breaks new ground in a brilliantly original new fantasy set in a unique world of fabled cities, mysterious gods, and terrible dangers. From the first page readers will be swept up in the story of Mai and Captain Anji, as they become unwitting players in a conflict that began many years earlier, and which will shake the f
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Hardcover, 445 pages
Published October 17th 2006 by Tor Books
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Nick Fagerlund
Jul 19, 2008 Nick Fagerlund rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: those seeking huge fantasy trilogies with decent worldbuilding (compelling characters optional)
Shelves: didnt-finish
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Pauline Ross
Fantasy Review Barn

I love this book. Or perhaps I should say - I did love this book, for a whole two chapters. It featured a wonderful, independent, self-assured female protagonist, who was completely comfortable in her own skin. Hurrah! A character I could really root for!

And then she’s never seen again. She existed for a whole two chapters purely to motivate a male character, who then mopes and whines and drinks and whinges (while also enjoying himself with other women) for (get this) nineteen
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Wealhtheow
Mar 28, 2009 Wealhtheow rated it liked it
Recommended to Wealhtheow by: somewhere in RaceFail09
I wanted to like this book more than I actually did. Elliott has created numerous societies, each with their own distinct gender roles, politics, religion, food, etc. The societies and people are clearly all non-Western--they wear silk, eat yogurt, have brown hair and skin. There are POV characters from each of the big three (the Qin, the Hundred, and the Sirnakian Empire), and no one country or society is painted as morally better than the others.

BUT. Elliott spends so much time building her w
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Brownbetty
May 26, 2008 Brownbetty rated it really liked it
Kate Elliot reminds me of a slightly less noir George R.R. Martin, but full disclosure: Martin's too dark and slow-moving for my taste, so this is not quite the endorsement it might be from someone who loves Martin unreservedly. I have always wondered why Elliot seems to have missed the acclaim given Martin.
A lot of the action is political, but some of it seems to be spiritual, which is not to say that people can't suddenly die from sepsis. (See, this is why it reminds me of GRRM!)

Once again
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Jocelyn
Apr 05, 2016 Jocelyn marked it as set-aside-to-be-returned-to-later
Shelves: fantasy, mythical
A number of factors made me set this aside at around page 144, the major one being it's due back to the library in a few days. A precious week of break and I'm determined to hoard it for other top-priority books.

But also, it's not holding my attention with that basic, irresistible desire to find out what's happening next. First, there's no faster way to dissipate my interest than to stuff a woman in the fridge and have a guy mope about it for years afterward.

So I skipped to Mai's storyline, the
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Emily
Sep 11, 2008 Emily rated it it was ok
I don't know. I love the concept of Kate Elliot books, but always feel a little let down with the delivery. I'm never sure exactly why. In theory this sounds like a great book and maybe the second book will explain a lot more and make me feel more satisfied. I had read almost two hundred pages before anything other than the introduction of characters was over. In fact the first two hundred pages didn't even introduce the people who were the main characters. I don't know. I did finish it, but I'm ...more
ambyr
I have a Kate Elliott problem, and it is this: every book she's ever written has a summary that makes it sound exactly like the sort of thing I want to read. Complex characters, deep anthropological worldbuilding, shades of moral gray . . . yes, please!

And then I read the book, and I am reminded, yet again, that my brain and Elliott's writing mix like stiletto heels and a muddy field. I try to trudge through, because what I can see on the horizon is awesome, but it's a painful battle, staggering
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Simcha Lazarus
Jul 08, 2010 Simcha Lazarus rated it really liked it
I admit that when I started Spirit Gate I was a bit thrown off because I had expected this book to be somewhat similar to the others that I had read by Kate Elliott, which it is not. The style in which Spirit Gate is written is very different from that of the Crown of Stars books and it just took me a little bit of time to adjust, though once I did the story quickly immersed me.

Some readers may have trouble with the fact that the story doesn’t really focus on any one of the characters. I know th
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Tim
Aug 17, 2010 Tim rated it really liked it
Rather than throwing in the usual bells and whistles of the fantasy genre, the underappreciated Kate Elliott prefers to work with, well, a full band, intricate but not obvious, including some smaller instruments that don't sound like much but that contribute to the overall sound. Elliott's quite excellent previous series, the seven-volume Crown of Stars, was keep-your-distance daunting to those not that into 5,000-plus page epics and ripples-within-ripples plotting. It went off in too many direc ...more
Doc Opp
Nov 12, 2008 Doc Opp rated it it was amazing
Elliott sure knows how to weave a masterful yarn. Very creative and suspenseful. Also with a more limited scope than her first series, so there aren't as many plotlines and characters to follow which makes it less confusing and more readable. I enjoyed the book so much that I went to 2 bookstores and a library to find the sequel. Which I really don't have time to read, but I'm making time by foregoing other important activities (like sleep)
Benjamin
Mar 10, 2013 Benjamin rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Decent, but I wasn't blown away. The best part of the book was some strong characterization. Not every character got this, but most of them did. When the book was focused on this and not the bigger picture, I quite enjoyed it.

Despite the good stuff, I had some major reservations with some aspects of the world-building. First, I couldn't figure out exactly why the reeves were supposed to be so important, and so when things start to go wrong for them right off the bat, it didn't make any sense why
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Nathan
Jan 17, 2012 Nathan rated it really liked it
Want deep world building that doesn't seem pretentious? Want differing cultures without the cliche of monolithic fantasy "races." And would you like a pretty good story to go with it? I must say, Kate Elliott my a have a book to hook you on a series.

The setting is fairly unique. The main story takes place in a land called the Hundred, which is home of the Reeves, giant eagle riders. They follow the laws set by mysterious Guardians, enforced by the Reeves for generations, but things are of cours
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Josie
May 10, 2012 Josie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know. I found that it was a little bit hard to get in to at first because it's slow and the story line tends to drag on for a bit then suddenly jump through time without letting the reader get a feel for the story properly. I also really hoped that I would get to know more about some characters like Marit who you barely hear about, so I was a bit disappointed in that respect.
But, I found that reading the next books made the first book make more sense. So when I went back to the first boo
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Fayley
This is the first book of a 3 book series and Kate Elliot again proves her ability to write fantastic female characters. The world building is interesting, believable and real.

The characters are complete multiple faceted and like able, I cared about what happened to them. Throughout this series Kate Elliott explores the path and consequences of power-lust and the corruptibility of people. The start is a bit weird in that it introduces characters that seem irrelevant for the remainder of the boo
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Jacqie
Jan 25, 2016 Jacqie rated it liked it
I really loved Kate Elliott's Crown of Stars series, set in a fantasy world very close to medieval Europe. The people felt authentic and the world was very rich. However, I bounced off her Spiritwalker series set in an alternate Victorian era. I know that Elliott takes diversity seriously and wanted to give her Crossroads series, set in an alternate fantasy Asia, a try.

However, for whatever reason, the book didn't draw me in. Maybe part of it was that it's a looong book at almost 700 pages, and
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Jen526
May 10, 2016 Jen526 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, kindle
This is a difficult one for me. By the end of the book, I was into it, and I'm curious enough about where they go from here that I'll probably add the next volume to my TBR... but there are a number of things that made this first volume a difficult read for me. I had a difficult time adapting to the bait-and-switch introduction, where the story being set up in the introductory section seemed to have very little to do with the main plot of the book, until she wraps back around to it near the end, ...more
Grey
Mild spoilers implied, be warned.

This book was tricky. Of all Elliott's works (so far), this one took me the longest to get into. The character introduced at the beginning turns out to be a fake-out lead, time skips and switching between numerous POVs until it finally gets settled a little after we meet the characters Shai, Mai, and Anji.

I'm glad I stuck through it, however long it took me, but there came a point when I realized I didn't want to put it down, because then I wanted all of them t
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Catherine Fitzsimmons
Sep 07, 2012 Catherine Fitzsimmons rated it did not like it
This is the story of a struggling land succumbing to bandits and civil war in the wake of the disappearance of the legendary Guardians that once presided over the land and kept peace.

Despite the interesting cover image, Spirit Gate was very disappointing. None of the characters was very likable, most were painfully cliche or annoying, and the writing came across as juvenile, which was the biggest deterrant to enjoyment. It got off to a bad start as the main character in the opening of the novel
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Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
This book gets 3 stars because the first 200 pages (in hardback) were a slog, but the remaining 250 were solid 4-star quality. I was a bit put off at first by the lack of tension, main characters happily carousing in taverns (snooze), and what seemed to be a very idealized fantasy world (not to mention the cartoony cover). But! The book gets better, the tension picks up, and the world isn't nearly as idealized as it might first appear. And the trilogy keeps improving; the final book is amazing.

A
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Res
Jan 22, 2008 Res rated it it was ok
Recommended to Res by: Jo Walton
Shelves: sff
The one where strangers from various lands come together to fight something that's only beginning to come clear at the end of the book. (Because this is one of those books where 'trilogy' means 'a single novel that happens to be published in three volumes.') Joss the reeve rides a giant eagle and fights crime and is incorruptible and grieving like the hero of a Western; pretty Mai takes a foreign husband and thus gets to leave her repressive culture, bringing along her kinsman, Shai, who can see ...more
Robert
Aug 24, 2013 Robert rated it really liked it
A bit different from your usual fantasy. No real magic (so far) apart from the giant eagles and barely glimpsed flying horses. I was a bit uncomfortable with these to start with, but they don't talk, so I got used to them. The real magic about this book is the way Kate has drawn all these disparate peoples with their different food, clothing, colouring, language, customs and religions. I hope she can maintain this standard in Volume II, which I am about to open.

One tiny gripe: I love maps. If th
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Derek
Aug 21, 2013 Derek rated it it was ok
Recommended to Derek by: Liz Bourke: http://www.tor.com/tags/Sleeps+With+M...
Shelves: fantasy

Maybe 2 stars. Fully of this book is taken up with mere introduction. We all know what's coming, but it just drags out for 300+ pages until suddenly everything happens.

Then we get left at the end with very little resolution, and still no real understanding of what's going on. Well, Ms. Elliott, I hope you're not holding your breath waiting for me to read volume 2.

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Walter Underwood
Sep 18, 2011 Walter Underwood rated it did not like it
Ponderous "worldbuilding" unrelated to the story just killed this for me. Let's describe all the shops on the street while we walk towards something that matters. Let's make the reader do math in their head to figure out the various "ages" when people have ceremonies to move on to the next phase of life, then have that not matter to the story. Tell me that the group is annoyed with the cleric rather than showing me, then have the cleric leave the group so none of it matters.

I found the whole thi
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Cindy
Aug 29, 2013 Cindy rated it really liked it
4.5 stars!

this is the first adult novel i've read
by Elliott and i loved it. sweeping, ambitious,
personal and epic, Spirit Gate has it all.
i didn't realize that elliott had written an
Asian inspired world until she told me, and i'm
so glad i picked this up. i really enjoyed the
touches of it that helped to inspire this world.
beyond her amazing world building and pulling
together of multiple view points and plot threads,
i think what i love most about the story is that
i care for every major character (
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Troy Mcdonald
Jan 23, 2016 Troy Mcdonald rated it it was amazing
Very well crafted book. Using a TV analogy, this is not a prime time show where you sit and mindlessly watch as the plot unfolds, it is the show that you are not quite sure you are "getting it" so you have to pay very close attention in order not to miss something important.

It is complex enough with the choice of words, phrases and style that as you begin reading you don't know if you ARE getting it. But the more you read the more you get and the easier it is to know what is going on. Completing
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Myridian
Sep 07, 2014 Myridian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Elliott's world and characters are vivid and wonderful. I enjoyed the cultures she created around the Hundred and eagle riders as well as the Qin and different countries. I felt like the sexual politics of the world were also interesting while not making women who were simply meek puppets. The story pulled me along for the most part and I am looking forward to reading the second in the series. I did feel during the earlier parts of the book that Elliott had limited the number of characters she w ...more
Juneau Public Library
Kate Elliott (a pen name for Alis Rasmussen) is a prolific fantasy and science fiction author, and one of my favorite series is her Crossroads trilogy, which starts with Spirit Gate. Set in a land called the Hundred, most people go about their lives quietly, following the traditions of previous ages. There hasn’t been much magic since the nine Guardians appointed by the gods disappeared a century before, and without the support of the Guardians, the reeves (people chosen by giant eagles to fly w ...more
Susan
May 11, 2010 Susan rated it really liked it
It's difficult to rate this one mostly because it took soooooo long to get through it. Either Kate Elliot is a superior writer or the narrator has a voice that lulls me. I could wander out of the room while the book was playing and not miss anything important. I could hear the same part several times and not care. Either way, I liked this book, its story and characters. Now I must search for the next book in this series.
Tulara
Jun 16, 2008 Tulara rated it it was amazing
I really liked this first book of the series. The characters are well-rounded and you can never count anybody out just because they die. Ok - no spoilers here, but I do like fantasy and magic (the world could do with more) and this is a good read - it's the kind of book that kept me reading into the night - and I like that. The next book is still in hardback, so I have a little wait for my next all-nighter.
Christine Jones
Jun 05, 2016 Christine Jones rated it liked it
This is a fantasy novel with epic twists. This is the first in the series, with a great story line and really interesting characters. This is not a small book to pick up and walk away from, readers will get drawn in to this tale. The world is very large, spanning numerous cultures and twisting them together in a tangled weave.
I would have ranked this novel higher, but there are a few sections that just dragged for me. I didn't feel like the plot was moving on in those sections. I understand the
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What's The Name o...: Fantasy, eagles, "Reeves" [s] 3 23 Jun 23, 2014 12:14PM  
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As a child in rural Oregon, Kate Elliott made up stories because she longed to escape to a world of lurid adventure fiction. She now writes fantasy, steampunk, and science fiction, often with a romantic edge. It should therefore come as no surprise that she met her future husband in a sword fight.

When he gave up police work to study archaeology, they and their three children fell into an entirely
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More about Kate Elliott...

Other Books in the Series

Crossroads (3 books)
  • Shadow Gate (Crossroads, #2)
  • Traitors' Gate (Crossroads, #3)

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“Of course we all suffer,' Priya often told her. 'But if you cling to suffering or fight it then it will hold on like a rat. If you accept it's existence and the pain it causes you, then you can release it'.” 0 likes
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