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Gates of Stone

(Lord of the Islands #1)

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  170 ratings  ·  66 reviews
In a world of blood and magic, a powerful epic fantasy begins...

Just before her sixteenth birthday, Princess Katerina is refused her rightful place as heir to the Empire of the Ice-Bear--solely because of her sex. Determined to regain her inheritance, she murders the foreign lord she's been ordered to marry and embarks on a peril
Paperback, 544 pages
Published February 19th 2019 by Ace Books
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Cam There is between the smaller characters and there were some hints that there might be in the next books, but none with the main characters in this one…moreThere is between the smaller characters and there were some hints that there might be in the next books, but none with the main characters in this one. The girl is not really the romance type.(less)
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Average rating 3.68  · 
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 ·  170 ratings  ·  66 reviews

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Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Asian-inspired epic fantasy fans
ARC provided by the publisher—Berkley Publishing Group (Ace)—in exchange for an honest review.

An Indonesian-inspired epic fantasy accompanied by Chinese, Japanese, and Indian influences; I’ve never read an epic fantasy with world-building like the one in Gates of Stone.

Angus Macallan is a pseudonym for Angus Donald, a historical fiction writer most well-known for The Outlaw Chronicles series. Gates of Stone, the first book in Lord of the Islands series marked his first foray into the fantasy g
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
DNF @ pg129

I might try this again someday, but honestly, I'm really sad to say that despite how ridiculously high my hopes were for this fantasy release, it isn't working for me. I'm not engaged, I can't connect to any of the characters or the writing, I'm not finding myself genuinely interested in anything that's going on, and the narrative voice itself isn't meshing well with me for a lot of reasons.

I think this will absolutely be a big hit with the right reader, but sadly, that clearly isn't
Dec 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'll be honest, when Gates of Stone arrived in my mailbox, I wasn't sure whether I would give it a read. The promise of " rip-roaring action" I liked, and a "believable Asian-inspired setting" intrigued me, but "tense political drama" and the reference to grimdark pioneer Joe Abercrombie gave me pause. I've grown tired of the whole amoral, violent, dystopian turn of fantasy, finding it to be more something I want to escape from rather than escape into.

It didn't help when the booked opened with a
Peter McLean
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
With tense political drama and rip-roaring action in a fresh and believable Asian-inspired setting, Gates of Stone reads like a collaboration between Joe Abercrombie and James Clavell.

Add ancient feuding sorcerers and a queen who would eat Cersei Lannister for breakfast, and you have the makings of an excellent fantasy debut. Angus Macallan is a compelling new voice in epic fantasy.
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Historical fiction writer Angus Donald begins a new epic fantasy series under his pseudonym Angus Macallan, drawing from his vast experience of living and working in Asia to create a world where nations war, rulers scheme, and in the midst of them all, a powerful sorcerer quietly pursues his bloodthirsty quest for the seven ancient artifacts required to destroy the world.

Gates of the Stone is the first novel of the Lord
Benji Glaab
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library

Gates of Stone is a fleshy debut stocked with intellectually satisfying writing.

I'm more than happy I picked this up on sight at my public library. I had very little previous knowledge going into this read. Alas Angus Macallan has crafted an opulent setting that mirrors our own worlds 18th-19th century South East Asia.

Flintlock/naval battles collide with Myth, and the supernatural. AM shows off his historical fiction chops with deft strategems while at the same time pleasing any fantasy afic
Mike Everest Evans
Full review to come on but as a teaser:

Angus Macallan’s foray into fantasy is off to a fantastic start with Gates of Stone. Whilst it took me awhile to get invested, the price of admission was well worth the pay off. Muskets, magic and mayhem – what more could you want?
Gates of Stone is the first installment in the Lord of the Islands series and it is a historical fantasy that will seduce your imagination with the amazing tale held within its covers. The start of this novel will grab your attention but I did find that it took me a bit to become quite invested in it. Mainly, it was because there was the introduction to the characters and the world. Just stick with it because…well…wow, just wow…. does the pacing pick up! Also, although the main characters are yo ...more
Simon Howard
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a debut fantasy novel by Angus Donald writing under the pseudonym Angus Macallan whilst we are more used to reading Angus Donald's great historical fiction novels I guess he fancied a bash at the world of fantasy. This is sprawling epic first attempt following multiple POV and for the most part is an exceptional story well told with an eye to the continuation of the adventure. We are join the story as princess Katerina is refused her birthright and forced into a marriage of convenience. ...more
Adam Lofthouse
May 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
The mighty Angus Donald turns his hand to fantasy, and makes a quite brilliant job of it.
Set in a fantasical Asia, the plot follows three main threads. Princess Katerina would be quite at home in Game of Thrones, fighting it out with the Mother of Dragons for supremacy in Westeros (and probably last longer than Cerci does in series 8), she is ruthless, a heart of stone, she will let nothing stand in her way.
Jun lives on a luxurious and peaceful island, where he lives comfortably as a prince. H
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Check out this and many other book reviews on my blog: Meet Your New Favorite Book


This book was AWESOME!

This book is action-packed and starts off with a bang! I really liked it! However, some parts were a bit slow for me.

It took me a little while to read this one, mostly because I kept having to put it down and do things in the real world (ugh, adulting sucks!), definitely not by choice though.

This book starts off fast, it does get a little slow in the middle, but then it picks back up
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book!

The characters, Katarina, Jun, and Semar, were so fascinating that I had to know how their journeys would end. I think Macallan did a fantastic job fleshing out those characters and paced their development really well. I haven’t seen good character development like this since reading about Jamie Lannister. At first I was a little annoyed with Jun, but when he stopped being so pompous, I found myself rooting for him and sympathizing every time he hit an obstacle. He’s pr
ash | novelly rooted
Jan 25, 2019 marked it as short-to-read-list
I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Lashaan Balasingam (Bookidote)
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
Jan 21, 2019 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
Jennifer Ulrich
Mar 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
I wasn't sure where all this was going until about 2/3rds of the way through. 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, 2019 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. Angus mentioned it was a “trade paperback” – is that some quality category? 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
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Gates of Stone introduces the Lord of the Islands series, as such, it has to provide a lot of background information and context before getting too deep into the actual story line. Personally, it took a while for me to get into the book, but once I did I was hooked. The character development is excellent and the way that Macallan weaves the different story lines together is impressive and seamless. After reading Gates of S
Nick Brett
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Angus Macallan is the pseudonym for the author Angus Donald. Mr Donald is the author of the utterly brilliant “Outlaw” series and a two part (so far) series set about the time of the “glorious revolution”. An immensely talented writer of historical fiction.
But Gates of Stone is a new direction as it is a proper fantasy novel and one set with a distinct Asian flavour. Given the author’s pedigree it was never not going to be good, it was going to be a question of “how good”.
This is a book that ask
Andrew Jaden
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars rounded up. Mild spoilers below (with one really big spoiler), so tread lightly.

Gates of Stone is your standard fantasy tale, retold in an unique setting: Southeast Asia, namely Indonesia, with an equally simple premise: A princess whose line to the throne is blocked on basis of her sex and kinda sorta exiled by way of marriage decides to plot her way back to said throne by seizing power in the archipelago she finds herself in, which is famed for its 'obat' (an Indonesian word that mea
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
This book was received as an ARC from Berkley Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

One of the needs in our library is new exciting sci-fi fantasy novels and Gates of Stone sure delivered on the wow factor. If I could describe this book the best its like what if Merida from Brave meets Maven from Red Queen and the setting of their adventure is a Game of Thrones type of environment. From beginning to end, this book
Jan 13, 2019 added it
In the market to begin a new epic fantasy series? Maybe something to help take the edge off once the final season of Game of Thrones airs on HBO? Luckily, there's a new series that will fit the bill coming this February. Gates of Stone, the first novel in the Lord of the Islands series, weaves tales of folklore and custom into a comprehensive tale of magic and political drama.   

Game of Thrones in Asia
Gates of Stone is being marketed as “Game of Thrones in Asia”. This both helps and hurts the no
Van (Short & Sweet Reviews)
Disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.

There’s been a huge wave of POC/diverse novels and authors the past year which led to many Asian-Inspired novels. But it was something I saw more prevalent in the Young Adult genre. I haven’t seen many adult Asian Fantasy, at least none that piqued my interest until Gates of Stone. I was intrigued by the ambitious princess willing to do whatever it took to regain her throne and the prince on a quest to hunt h
Realms & Robots
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Gates of Stone features a full, varied narrative complete with three storylines, all converging to decide the fate of this fascinating land. This is a world filled with leaders both large and small who are constantly watching out for the intrigue and deceit of neighboring lands.

Gates of Stone is a great example of epic fantasy done right. The characters are deeply imagined, and their actions heavily meaningful from start to finish. There’s the feeling of a grand plan in the works. Add in a terr
What's with all these Game of Thrones comparisons for everything lately?

Don't get me wrong, I love that book/show with all my being because the characters are just, fantastic. However, everything seems to be compared to it these days. Haha.

Though, another reviewer said a character from this thing has Jaime Lannister level development. Hmmm.
I'll wait for more reviews to roll in before I throw money at this.
Mar 24, 2019 rated it did not like it
I was excited about this and I hear that once we get into the back story of the main female character she becomes a bit more understandable. I ain’t got that kind of time, I don’t want to go through another couple of hundred pages to understand a reprehensible character! Too shallow, I related to no one, the world in interesting but just didn’t hold my interest. I’m in a tricky place with books lately, getting bored easily, perhaps at a more forgiving time this would have become a 3 star? But I’ ...more
Richard West
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adventure, fantasy
OK - I've never been a big fan of fantasy novels because I usually think of them as being ones with fire-breathing flying dragons that speak perfect English, are well-mannered and cultured. In other words, stuff a 10-year-old would really enjoy reading.

So, you can imagine my surprise when I found myself actually liking - as in, enjoying - this book. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that in the first 11 pages, you have a young woman in an arranged marriage who kills off her husband on
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm very disappointed that the publisher decided not to allow the author to continue with this series. It's one of the most original books I've ever come across. A very complex plot with layered threads that are spun separately, all coming together nicely at the end in a surprising yet inevitable conclusion. The book is satisfactory in its own right, but it sets up an intriguing coming series which I would love to continue with. I do hope the publisher reconsiders because I need to know how this ...more
Jacob Rundle
Apr 28, 2020 rated it liked it
This novel is one of the best I’ve read this year! The characters are so dynamic yet relatable. I loved the flow of the story. It held my attention the whole time.
Sandra Kennett
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a brilliant book. It might even become my favourite read of 2019! Loved the characters. Loved the world building and loved that there was some magic. Really liked that there was a "baddy" sorceror and can't wait to find out how the "goodies" are going to best him. All in all, a classic epic fantasy. Just how I like a fantasy to be. 5 out of 5 starts for the story, plot and characters. 5 out of 5 stars also for the book itself. A lovely, lovely floppy paperbacks. I love floppy paperbacks. Th ...more
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