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Spirit Gate (Crossroads #1)

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3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  2,457 ratings  ·  207 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 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those seeking huge fantasy trilogies with decent worldbuilding (compelling characters optional)
Shelves: didnt-finish
I'm kind of sad that I didn't like this enough to finish it, because it had all these clever little flourishes that I dug. Like the way it seemed to be setting up the eagle reaves as a Pern-y wish fulfillment companion animal thing, and then described the eagles as "smart as pigs... but no smarter." Or the way the author killed off the putative main character at the end of chapter 2. Or how the most impressive force for maintaining order in the Hundred is actually totally weak-ass and only has p ...more
Wealhtheow
Mar 28, 2009 Wealhtheow rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
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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Emily
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
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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Doc Opp
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
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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Tim
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
Josie
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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Simcha Lazarus
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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Catherine Fitzsimmons
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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Nathan
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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Res
Jan 22, 2008 Res rated it 2 of 5 stars
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
Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime)
Aug 21, 2013 Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime) rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime) by: Liz Bourke: http://www.tor.com/tags/Sleeps+With+Monsters
Shelves: fantasy

Maybe 2½ stars. Fully ¾ 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.

Walter Underwood
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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Myridian
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
Quinn Jeor
Just a note: I did not finish this book, so it is a review of what I read in the book.

I hated this book. It is one of a handful of books that I have thrown away (in this case, without finishing it). It had a good premise, and when I picked it up, I was excited because it seemed like an interesting new series. My main problem is that this book is BORING. Nothing happens. Now, I'm not one who requires a lot of action in my books (I'm a big fan of Modesitt), but I at least like to know that the sto
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Dann Todd
From reading elsewhere, you will already know that Spirit Gate is the first of the Crossraods trilogy of books written by Kate Elliott (Alis Rasmussen).

I gave this a 2 star rating and thought about saying it was really a 2.5 star rating. I also toyed with simply not finishing the book. A 2 star rating is an honest reflection of my experience.

Ms. Elliott's other work may demonstrate an outstanding ability to tell stories. This particular book left me with the impression that her skills fall well
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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
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
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.
Fence
Once The Hundred was a place of peace and safety. The Guardians delivered justice and the reeves flew in answer to them. But no one has seen the Guardians in generations. The reeves still patrol but their authority has been on the wane for quite a while, and now there are reports of attacks on villages. Reeves and their eagles have been murdered. Something dark and troubling is on the rise.

Okay, so that blurb is fairly standard for an epic fantasy, but don’t dismiss this book as a by the numbers
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Emily
Man, I love and hate Kate Elliott. I really like her characters, her lands, and her plots but I just wish she was a little less epic. That being said, if she wasn't epic, she wouldn't be Kate Elliott. This book got good for me about a third of the way through, with the introduction of Mai.
Nick
Something seems askew in this richly detailed fantasy epic about a couple from two disparate cultures trying to find a home in a third. There's a war brewing, but we don't know why, or who the antagonists are. The rules of the couple's destination country are mysterious and only sketched in. We lurch from one character and plot line to another before we can understand what's at stake in their lives, and at the wrong points in their stories. To me, Spirit Gate seems like a brilliant first draft i ...more
Helen Walton
Love the eagles (at last Tokien's eagles find a place), the touches of language (sheh! etc), the depth of world and the female characters... but much of the book feels repetitious, while the opening is incredibly slow. This is a book (and the two which came after it) crying out for a really strong editor. Huge swathes could have been cut without anyone missing yet more of Josh's repetitive banter ("Don't you ever stop?" No, really. Don't you?) or yet more of how evil the evil characters are (whe ...more
Sean
My god, Kate Elliott loves the sound of her own writing. Too bad I didn't—and too bad I didn't like the unlikeable characters, the glacial, wandering plot or the confusing geography. Give this one a pass.
Tamara
I didn't give this novel much of a chance, which I regret. So all I can really say is that I'll have to try reading this again sometime.

Update: Tried. Failed. Oh whatever. I don't like this book.
Tessa Sainz
I randomly picked this up at the library and I liked it. It took just a bit to get into, but it starts with a prequel sort of thing to set you up for the main story and it was that part that I wasn't sure about and once it got to the main story it was good. It seems a bit Game of Thrones-y in that it intertwines several characters into the story and shifts the point of view back and forth quite a bit (although not nearly as many characters at GoT). I also liked that it definitively ended this st ...more
♥ Ashleigh ♥  contrary to popular belief im not actually mad!
So i think its fair to say at the start of this book i wasnt a fan but being that i bought this book Kate Elliot has a few series going on i thought i'd stick it out and im pretty glad i did. while Spirit Gate will never be one of my favorites, at times i did enjoy myself quiet a bit, though that 'happy place' feeling sadly never lasted long.

What is the book lacking?
hmmmm im not sure i can put my finger on it.... though i did feel like there was way to much description when it came to the scener
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Megan
Kate Elliott did a fantastic job creating a world completely new and thrilling to me! I have really enjoyed reading Ms. Elliott's works in the past (I and my brother absolutely loved the Crown of Stars series), and she did not fail to deliver well-crafted and fresh world-building in this series.

I have not read many books in the past with a focus on a bird element, but I definitely enjoyed the addition and personalities of these birds (they are a not a POV, but they add in small meaningful ways
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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...
King's Dragon (Crown of Stars, #1) Prince of Dogs (Crown of Stars, #2) Cold Magic (Spiritwalker, #1) The Burning Stone (Crown of Stars, #3) Cold Fire (Spiritwalker, #2)

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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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