Today, my friends, I have the absolute pleasure of sharing with you an author and series I am SO excited about! Lori M. Lee's debut novel GATES OF THREAD AND STONE came out last year, and I adored it. It's a YA Fantasy with a bit of steampunk mixed in. The magic is awesome, the world is vivid, and I ended up so in love with the characters that my heart broke for them time and time again.
Here's a summary of GATES OF THREAD AND STONE:
In the Labyrinth, we had a saying: keep silent, keep still, keep safe.
In a city of walls and secrets, where only one man is supposed to possess magic, seventeen-year-old Kai struggles to keep hidden her own secret—she can manipulate the threads of time. When Kai was eight, she was found by Reev on the riverbank, and her “brother” has taken care of her ever since. Kai doesn’t know where her ability comes from—or where she came from. All that matters is that she and Reev stay together, and maybe one day move out of the freight container they call home, away from the metal walls of the Labyrinth. Kai’s only friend is Avan, the shopkeeper’s son with the scandalous reputation that both frightens and intrigues her.
Then Reev disappears. When keeping silent and safe means losing him forever, Kai vows to do whatever it takes to find him. She will leave the only home she’s ever known and risk getting caught up in a revolution centuries in the making. But to save Reev, Kai must unravel the threads of her past and face shocking truths about her brother, her friendship with Avan, and her unique power.
The walls of Ninurta keep its citizens safe.
Kai always believed the only danger to the city came from within. Now, with a rebel force threatening the fragile government, the walls have become more of a prison than ever.
To make matters worse, as Avan explores his new identity as an Infinite, Kai struggles to remind him what it means to be human. And she fears her brother, Reev, is involved with the rebels. With the two people she cares about most on opposite sides of a brewing war, Kai will do whatever it takes to bring peace. But she’s lost her power to manipulate the threads of time, and she learns that a civil war might be the beginning of something far worse that will crumble not only Ninurta’s walls but also the entire city.
In this thrilling sequel to Gates of Thread and Stone, Kai must decide how much of her humanity she’s willing to lose to protect the only family she’s ever known.
I loved her answer because it just shows how you can have all the cool ideas in the world, but writing an awesome story takes the right balance. You can't just throw anything together and expect it to be perfect. Sometimes you have to set things aside for a different tale. Anyway, I'll let Lori tell you more. Take it away, Lori!
The world of Gates of Thread and Stone began a bit differently than the one you read about in the book. In the early drafts, the book was a cyberpunk fantasy. There were equal parts scifi and fantasy. In the end, I had to discard a lot of the scifi elements, but you can still see the remnants in the final product.
When I was making changes to the presence of technology in Kai’s world, I had to decide what could stay and what had to go. Considering what a vital landmark the Labyrinth was, I couldn’t just scrap the trains. So I had to come up with a plausible explanation for why they’d be there, which also helped to solidify the history of Kai’s world and the war that took place prior to the beginning of the book.
Here are a couple examples straight from an early draft of Gates of Thread and Stone.
The characters had I-chips embedded into their forearms:
I crossed into the North District, and the spot beneath the crease of my elbow twinged as the scanpoint read my Identification-chip.
Rather than runners, citizens used conpoints to contact the Watchmen:
The nearest conpoint was around the corner. Unless you had a WINEM—Wireless Interactive Neural Messaging—implant, a conpoint was the only way to get a hold of the Watchmen short of walking into their local unit, which I sure as drek wasn't doing. But if I used it to call for help, it would scan my Identification-chip. Using a conpoint came with a ridiculous tax, credits Reev and I couldn't spare, and my I-chip would tell the machine exactly where to charge it.
There was a subway system:
A steady stream of human traffic flowed to and from the entrance to the subtrains just outside the building. I waded through the pushing bodies to reach the other side of the street. Reev had forbidden me from using the subs—too many incidents happened down there.
There were holoscreens and vadverts (virtual advertisements):
The Raging Bull was the fifth building down the long strip of businesses along the riverfront. Above the name, a large holoscreen announced 'Half off all Cyber Rooms during Week of Sun.'
There were no Grays. Instead, they had hovercycles (and biker gangs!):
Avan pressed a combination of buttons, and the control panel lit up. The headlights flashed on, and the secondary propulsion system fired up with a low hum, slowly lifting the bike off the ground. A series of whirrs and clicks sounded as the large gray wheels tilted from vertical to horizontal beneath us and the primary hover propulsion took over, blurring the dirt beneath us with a shimmering heat visible even in the dark.
Although I was sad to see so many scifi elements go, I certainly plan to use them again in a future book :)
Those just sound SO cool. You can bet I'll be reading all of her future books and looking for some of those elements! (Side note, isn't it amazing how many ideas there are? SO MANY. Enough for everyone!)
If YOU want a copy of Gates of Thread and Stone or The Infinite then head out to your local bookstore and buy it! Or if it's not there, order it! If you live in a place with no local bookstore, then I feel bad for you. But just for you, here are the buy links for both books! (Available in hardcover, OR ebook, OR audiobook!)
Gates of Thread and Stone
And make sure to follow the amazing Lori Lee on every platform you possibly can, (Website, Tumblr, Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram) because she's awesome and fun and brilliant!
*Whew* I really hope I copied all those links right. Thanks for reading, guys. Now go out and get these awesome books!