Marc reviews ‘The Shattered Gates’ (Rifter 1) by Ginn Hale. This book was published by Blind Eye Books on May 1st, 2011 and is about 110 pages long. The print version of ‘The Shattered Gates’ includes Rifter books 1-3 and is 368 pages long.
RGR received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I absolutely LOVE great fantasy books and I have found several great ones in the LGBT Fiction genre. This book and author has often been recommended to me and I was eager to give this book a try.
When John opens a letter addressed to his missing roommate, Kyle, he expects to find a house key, but instead he is swept into a strange realm of magic, mysticism, revolutionaries and assassins. Though he struggles to escape, John is drawn steadily closer to a fate he shares with Kyle—to wake the destroyer god, the Rifter, and shatter a world.
The cover of this book shows an intricate and mysterious key to a new world. Likewise, I am certain ‘The Shattered Gates’ is a gateway drug to a new addiction. I don’t think I can stop reading these books, until I have finished the entire series and then I will move on to other books by the author. The world she has introduced me to in just over 100 pages is THAT amazing.
This is the first of a ten-part fantasy series. John, like the reader, does not know anything about a different world. Unlike his two best friends, he does not believe in anything without scientific proof. He is a realist (and sometimes pessimist in my opinion) and loves silence, nature, the quiet moments in live. He may be a bit of a loner, but he has two great and loyal friends, Bill and Laurie.
Bill used to be his roommate, but that didn’t work out really well. He was always late with his payments. Now he and his girl friend Laurie live together (I presume) and John has a new and very mysteries roommate. Kyle.
Kyle is quiet, seems to always be hurt in some way and has a weird collection of weapons. He keeps everything of his under lock, but he always pays on time, is never unpleasant, looks hot and considering that John saw him at a gay bath house, does not seem to be completely straight either.
After they first check each other out hungrily in the bath house and then recognize each other, Kyle has not returned home and a package with a key is sent to his home, addressed to Kyle. John believes it might be Kyle’s house key and he might have to find a way to pay the rent all on his own, even though he really doesn’t have the money.
John has no idea who Kyle really is and that the key in the package will change his life forever.
I still can’t decide whether John and Kyle will end up as fated lovers or mortal enemies in the end, but their mutual attraction is clear and they really like each other. They would make a nice couple, but there are a lot of twists and turns even in this first part of the story that would make their possible relationship very complicated. There is another possible romance for John, but any romance has to take the back seat for now, as John is fighting for his very survival.
I love that readers can so easily identify with John. He is a nice guy, with a big heart. He is openly gay, but hasn’t found the right guy yet. He is struggling with money and living in the world we know. Kyle is more of an enigma. He is a much darker character, but not necessarily bad. Not necessarily good, either.
He introduces us to a different world and a strange and dark kind of magic. There is danger, blood and death. The other world is much more desolate and deathly than ours. He has strong and unique abilities, but they come at a steep price. The more I found out about him, the more questions I had. However, the author reveals some shocking and major twists through him and while it is not completely clear how this information will play out in the future books, it is clear how important it is.
Bill and Laurie are much lighter characters. They are open-minded and accept John as he is and are even open to things that defy easy explanations. They are in love and still have a lot of love and happiness to share. They were the heart of the story for me and made me smile.
What impressed me the most about this book was how much Ginn Hale was able to say with even a few words. Her writing is beautiful, almost poetic and strikingly vivid. It was easy for me to visualize every word, as she breathed life into her characters, built her unique fantasy world and drew incredible images into my mind. I must admit, I have fallen in love with her writing and I hope you will, too.
10/10 SOLID Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars
Ginn Hale resides in the Pacific Northwest with her wife and two cats. She spends many of the rainy days tinkering with devices and words and can often be sighted herding other people’s dogs, bees and goats. Her novel Wicked Gentlemen won the Spectrum Award for Best Novel and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award.