The Spirit Gate is a novel by Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff.
[I got this book from a LibraryThing Early Reviewer Give-Away. I am not early with my review, but honest.]
Finished on: 15.9.2018
Kassia is a shai, a woman born with the mark of the goddess. And she is the first woman to be allowed to study magic under Master Lukusha. In fact, she is the first woman in ages to be allowed to study and practice magic at all, which means that most of the shai magic has been forgotten. Despite the people like Lukusha’s assistant Zakarij doubting her, Kassia throws herself into her studies – as much as being a single mother allows her to.
The Spirit Gate was an enjoyable read with a good protagonist that wasn’t absolutely great, but it definitely wasn’t bad at all.
The Spirit Gate is set in a mix of fantasy land and historical Poland. On the one hand I liked that mix, on the other hand I had to do a bit of googling to pinpoint the historical parts to Poland – I’m just not that good with history. But it was a nice approach to the world-building in any case, especially because Poland isn’t usually the setting for such a fantasy.
Bohnhoff’s writing is nice and easy. The plotting isn’t really surprising, but there’s nothing to be said against good, consistent development, so that was pretty enjoyable as well.
But most of all, I liked Kassia. I liked that she had both feet well-planted on the ground, she was a little older than your usual fantasy protagonist (who more often than not is a teenager) and I loved that she already had a child and still got to have a romance. Both Lukusha and Zakarij (especially the latter) remain a little colorless compared to her, but in the end that was pretty okay for me.
Just as the book was pretty okay, but just didn’t blow me away. It’s a nice enough read, but I just didn’t fall in love with it.
Summarizing: Good, not great.