Saturday 15 April 2023

Gates of Hope by J.E. Hannaford

Book Title: Gates of Hope
Author: J.E. Hannaford
Genre: (Coming of Age) Fantasy
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Full disclosure: I read an early version of this book and I'm friends with the author, but my review is fair and all thoughts are my own. I will be buying this upon release for my collection.

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Plot: The Watcher shattered the Gates.
Now hope must arise from the shards.
Darin and Suriin enter the Black Palace of the So’Dal, at a time when monstrous Edgelands creatures return to the skies over Caldera.
After exhibiting magical traits thought lost, Darin is drawn into a secret society charged with keeping the Watcher’s secrets. Now he must balance learning to control his magic, caring for Star, his new companion, and finding a way to sustain the Howlers’ power for long enough to protect Caldera from the predatory creatures of the Edgelands.
Before she arrived at the Black Palace Suriin broke the ancient rules of the So’Dal to save the life of the person she loves the most. As her search for a cure delves deeper under the mountain, is there any price she won't pay?
On the outer moon of Tebein, Elissa’s newly awakened magic will endanger her home and family. Now she must race to find help for those she leaves behind as she escapes those who want her, and all those like her, dead.
One wrong decision by any of them could return legends to life and end five hundred cycles of peace. Will they find the solutions they need in time?
What did I think?

Gates of Hope is the first book in a new trilogy by J.E. Hannaford, Aulirean Gates. 

I'm simple. I hear the word "gates" and I see a hint of a good boy, and perhaps some dragons in space, and I'm there. I'm a fan of works that blur the line between genres.

Looking at the cover, you'll spot Star, the Moonhound, and you'll be pleased to hear that he is indeed a very good boy. I feel like when it comes to the magic, you mostly need to know one thing: it's possible, at least for some, to telepathically connect with the Moonhounds.

Surely, that alone makes this a must-buy?

While the worldbuilding is fascinating, and I do so love the concept of gates connecting worlds, Hannaford's newest effort is primarily character-driven.

There are three main characters, Darin, Suriin, and Elissa. Two of them are quite young, only just embarking on their journey, and as a result I'd call Gates of Hope a coming of age fantasy. And because I'm rather old and grumpy, my favourite character turned out to be Elissa.

Elissa is strong, stubborn, grew up in captivity, but never let it break her spirit. My kind of character.

This isn't a dark book, that's not to say bad things don't happen, but overall the tone remains hopeful and it reminds me of the adventure stories I used to devour as a child.

I can't wait to see what's in store for these character and am eagerly awaiting the sequel.

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