We received a review request for The Gates of Golorath in exchange of an honest review. Thank you R. M. Garino for the e-copy, and your patience in the very long wait for this review.
|Series: Chaos of Souls #1||Genre: fantasy|
|Date of Publishing: February 2019||Publisher: self-published|
At the edge of the world stands a gate to another realm. The fallen angels, the Lethen’al, sealed it when they fled the Apostate. It has lain dormant, forgotten for seven thousand years. But the Lethen’al have not been idle in their absence. They have mastered the arts of magic and of war, in preparation for their enemy’s return.
Arielle is descended from the founder of the Areth’kon, the martial school. She dreams of becoming a Mala’kar, a Bladeless Master, like her parents before her. But she lived in the shadow of other’s expectations for so long, followed the path they set for her without question, and forgotten her own desires. To reclaim who she is, she leaves her former life and lover behind to start anew at the Gates. But her past claims a stake in her future, and refuses to let her go.
Angus is driven by a secret; a failure he is ashamed of. To rectify his disgrace, he is determined to learn the ways of the sword. Forsaking the teachings of the Magi, he arrived at the Gates to train with his father’s people. Raised on the heroic tales of the Blademasters, he strives to live by their example. But the Blademasters here are nothing like the stories.
When their squads arrive at the Gates for their final year of military training, Angus and Arielle are drawn together. The truth of who they are has the power to reshape the history and purpose of their people, but it is guarded by royal decree.
Will they be able to handle the truth of who they are? Can the world? Can they contain the magnificent powers they wield or will they destroy everyone in their way?
All the while, a new enemy stirs in the shadows.
“Terror is our armament, but it is only one in our arsenal. And our armory is vast.”
Arielle swayed on her feet, fighting to keep herself steady. Standing had become a chore, breathing an effort.
“With a thought we can maim,” Trenton said, circling her again. “With but a word we can kill. We are the weapon, wielded by our will, tempered by our conscience.”
Arielle dropped to her knees, her palms slapping against the stone floor to keep herself from falling. What was happening to her? She felt herself dwindling, her vision fading. It was as if sleep was washing over her, taking her ability to move, but leaving her awareness intact.
Imagine Dragons – Warriors
I have to admit I kind of felt like I was tossed into the deep end of the pool at the start of The Gates of Golorath. It’s thick with complicated names and terms, and there is no easing you into it. It’s a very sink or swim style. There is a glossary though which does help a lot. Once I found my feet, the story settles in quickly and the pages blew by at a rate that was unexpected from an almost 700-page book.
The story, a new take on the whole angel/demon lore, focuses on two separate squads (or Prides) led by Arielle and Angus. The two leaders are in their last year of training, in what is the equivalent of a military boot camp (which was totally my jam) before they are sent out to defend their realm, among others, from the demons. (I got a bit of Stargate vibe here with the Gates being doorways to each realm.)
Arielle is training to be a Blademaster – she knows what she wants and works hard to achieve her goals. She has a lot of clout behind her with her family, who are practically royalty. A Rhen’val, her “house” is very distinguished and her Grandmother is the Commandant, making a lot of people believe that her family’s prestige, is what got her and her Pride so high in the standings. She is there to prove that she deserves to be there on her own merit.
Angus is training to be a Magi – isn’t so well-liked, his squad-mates are looked down upon because of him. He has some baggage and a bit of an attitude that gets him into a fair amount of trouble. He’s kind of the bad boy, but smart, and protective of those he cares about.
Arielle and Angus, to say it simply, are soulmates. Their Sins (which is kind of like an aura) have an instant connection, that is so strong, when they first came in the vicinity of each other they sent ‘lights’ from across the compound on a spiritual level, causing a lot of trouble, gossip, and ridicule.
Because of this connection between them, Angus and Ariel’s squads have become friends – which I loved. I enjoyed the interplay within their own Prides and each others’ – they felt like they had been training together for years, and there was a relaxed feel to all of their interactions. They, of course, had strife inside the group, as well as outside too, rounding out these relationships and making them tangible and solid feeling.
So, the culmination of this story and their years of training, ends here at the Gates of Golorath – with running the gauntlet, a big battle that is put on to prove the top squad. This put a lot of pressure on the relationships, and newfound friendships between our two leaders and their Prides and it was a lot of fun to see how they overcame their differences, and who was going to come out on top.
The magic is what I’d call spiritual? The over-simplified explanation is that their auras or Sins, can be manipulated to do things. Harden to become a defensive shield or attack another by draining that person’s aura. They can also speak to one another telepathically among other things.
I did really enjoy the story once we got to the boot camp. The beginning was a bit dense and almost felt unconnected to the rest of the story (other than the history) though at the end it does become clearer. I just wasn’t sold on it, as much as the rest of the book.
I loved the training exercises and mock battles some of which kind of reminded me of a Holodeck type of idea because the soldiers can be injured or even killed but then they just transport out and get healed. It was a lot of fun.
I loved the united front of the two prides when they began to be friends, and was excited to see them work out their differences along the way. It was especially fun when it came down to the running the gauntlet.
This book has a definite first book feel, as everything builds-up, we are beginning to see the tip of the iceberg as it comes to a close.
If you like strong characters and team stories with some political maneuverings, you’ll probably love The Gates of Golorath. Also, the running the gauntlet was the icing on the cake and just a huge amount of fun.