Brownbetty's Reviews > Spirit Gate

Spirit Gate by Kate Elliott
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May 16, 2008

really liked it
Read in May, 2008

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 in Shit I Ought To Have Been Told On the Cover: this is book one in a series. Thanks, publisher, I really enjoy being tricked into reading the first book when I would have waited until the rest were published, had I known.

I had some difficulty getting through this book, partly because Elliot follows a large cast who don't really interact with, or in many cases, know about the existence of each other for much of the book. But part of my difficulty was that this was a fairly complex book: four, perhaps five fully realized cultures, several political systems, and multiple religions are interacting, not in a simplistic way, and Elliot never stops the action to explain things to you, so you either catch on as it whirls past or you hope it gets clear later.

Elliot isn't showy about it, but her book tackles, and manages to portray holistically, I think, colonialism, debt-bondage, slavery, race, and gender, in more or less that order.

It's not terribly clear from the cover-art, but nearly everyone in the book is some shade of brown which is treated as completely normal, and I do remember hearing Elliot explain on a panel last year that she actually had to fight to get the person depicted on the cover to be given some colour.
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