Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Nicole Luiken - Gate to Kandrith

Sarathena Remillus, daughter of the newly elected Primus of the Republic of Temboria, has been given a mission: discover the secret of slave magic. Anxious to escape the corruption and treachery of the capital, Sara welcomes the chance to finally prove herself far away in Kandrith, the tiny nation of former slaves.
Accompanying her on the journey is Lance, a Kandrithan to whom Sara owes her life. Lance despises the nobility, and is determined to resist his desire for Sara, despite her attempts to entice him into divulging the secret of his magic.
Soon their travels become fraught with peril, and Sara discovers she's fallen victim to the ultimate betrayal. To end a war between two nations, she will have to make the ultimate sacrifice...

Comment: I added this book to my list because it seemed a promising title about a fantasy romance and I'm always looking out for this genre in hopes of finding the next best world ever. Sadly, this story wasn't explored the way I imagined...

In this novel, we follow the adventures of Sarathena Remillus, a young woman who travels to the so called Slaveland in order to learn the secret of magic for her father, the ruler of the country. Along with Sara are going her maid and an advisor and also Lance, a guide who can take them to Kandrith, the name slaves call their land. On the way, the convoy faces several situations and problems and things start to go wrong until they reach the Gate of Kandrith, the only path one can use to enter the country. 
Sara will try her best to avoid a war and helping her father seems to be the only choice but weird things are happening and can Sara deal with a secret that almost cost her life?

There are several great ideas in this book and I can see why this would be a great story if only one could go past some of the more awful details which weren't always necessary I think.
I would say this is an easy fantasy romance story but the tone is much darker than one infers from the blurb. The question is that this could have worked as easily if things were better presented and without so much pain and issues. I can totally see a secondary road for every plot move if only the purpose would be on the world building and the romance and not the drama.

The plot itself isn't tricky to maneuver and the situations presented not bad at all. But the path the author takes this story too could still be poignant and incredible without so much focus on the shocking effect and there several of those, in particular towards the end. I guess I understand that. 
But I was more interested in seeing how things could work out instead of imagining os supposing it might happen. One example: Kandrith, the so called land where Slaves live (when they are no longer slaves of course) is a complicated society, it works but it's no El Dorado where people try to live the lives denied to them in the rest of the world. I think this would be a great opportunity for the author not only stress out the difference but to improve the society and the hierarchies and even the interactions between the different types of former slaves, for instance. But still providing a better, happier, safer and better social structure than the one we find when the character get there. This truly disappointed me! 
The notion of slave magic is quite interesting, but the part of me that appreciates balance and symmetry still considers the downside of magic to have been too harsh. Shouldn't love give more than taking? A reader of the story might understand what I mean but I don't want to use spoilers.

The main characters have their moments but I liked they are not perfect examples of their countries or that they represent lots of traits. Their relationship isn't easy nor sugary but I kind of hoped for a bit more romance, that's for sure.
While I liked that they were mostly focused on their mission and what surrounded them, I still would have liked for a lighter tone in the plot that would allow for more romantic scenes or a more obvious relationship...I can say it felt balanced but not powerful enough when compared to the end, when they sort of declare themselves.

The book ends up in a sort of cliffhanger. Besides the fact I hate how authors use this to create suspense unnecessarily, I'm not overly interested in reading and just because of that. The plot seems interesting, some things were appealing but the path taken by the author doesn't feel happy nor addictive enough to make me read the second story. I keep looking at some details and imagining a whole new scenario so this tells me I wouldn't find much joy in reading more of the same ideas.
Grade: 5/10

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