Traitors Gate – Crossroads # 3 by Kate Elliott – Fantasy Book Review

Synopsis: In Spirit Gate and Shadow Gate, Kate Elliott took readers to the fascinating world of the Hundred, a land teeming with an array of cultures, gods, and conflicts blighted by the shadow of chaos and destruction. Now, with the same intensity and dramatic sweep that has brought this epic to life, Elliott returns to the exquisitely crafted cities and landscapes of the Hundred, in a thunderous conclusion to the saga.

In the darkness of war and destruction, forces gather to reclaim the peace: Those immortal Guardians who still serve justice seek a means to end the devastating reign of one of their own; a hired outlander army struggles to halt the advance of the horde that has despoiled vast lands and slaughtered countless people in its murderous wake, while still guarding against a burgeoning threat from an aggressively expansionist empire; and the eagle reeves who have long been the only law enforcers of the Hundred struggle to reorganize after a devastating massacre has decimated their numbers. But even as these forces give hope to those who would live in peace, a terrible danger looms: a traitor with Imperial ambitions, the most dreaded, least anticipated threat of all…

In the unfolding drama of political upheaval and violent change, nothing is certain, as alliances dissolve and power shifts with the unpredictability of a desert sandstorm. A riotous epic with the vast breadth and excitement only masterful storyteller Kate Elliott can summon, Traitors’ Gate will leave her many readers begging for more. 


From the very beginning of Traitors Gate, this did not feel like the conclusion to a trilogy. To me, it felt more like the third book in an ongoing series. There was just so much that was happening, new characters being introduced and conflicts that needed to be resolved. Despite this novel being close to 900 pages, I kept wondering through out how the author was going to resolve everything. Well, I wouldn’t really say that she did. This trilogy could easily become longer series. In fact, I would love to read another book in this world continuing from Traitors Gate.

As for the book itself, I think this has to be the best of the three. There was a lot more action, sense of danger and tension between characters. Shai in particular really comes into his own. In the beginning of Spirit Gate, he was a quiet recluse. By the end of Traitors Gate he’s become strong and confident. Putting himself in danger time after time to protect innocent lives. His adventure alone would be a worthy tale.

Unfortunately, I feel like this book (and the whole trilogy really) suffered from having too many characters. There were certain characters that I was far more interested in than others and I felt like the ones I actually cared about didn’t get very much page time. Marit and Kirit, for example, I didn’t get nearly enough of. I really wanted more about the Guardians in general. They were far more interesting than some of the other characters, but perhaps the author meant to keep an air of mystery around them.

One thing that really bothered me, not just about this book but the whole trilogy, was the prevalent misogyny. Men can basically do whatever they want in some cultures in this world. A man can literally go to a woman’s father and just buy her as a wife and there’s nothing she can do about it. She can’t say no. In one culture, the women aren’t even allowed to show there faces outside and their names can’t be spoken to outsiders. If her face is seen by a man not her kin, she’ll basically be disowned. It irritated me throughout that men, especially those in positions of power could just buy or take a woman if they wanted.

And the slavery! I’m sure the author was trying to show how horrible slaves are treated and that it is wrong and bad, but the things that happened to some of them was stomach turning. Did she have to go so far as to include pedophilia?

Kate Elliott knows how to keep readers on the edge of their seats, ending chapters in such a way that you have to keep going. So many times, I was like “omg, I can’t believe that just happened!” There were so many unexpected things here.

Overall, I think Crossroads is a great fantasy trilogy that any fan of the genre would enjoy. My rating for Traitors Gate is 4 out of 5 stars and I would recommend it to fans of fantasy who also enjoy political intrigue and multiple points of view.

Have you read this trilogy? What did you think?

Thanks for reading!

Book Talk – Fantasy Books with Companion Animals

Companion animals in fantasy books is a fairly common trope I’d say. Animals, that are magical in some, that bond with a human (or other race of) character. Animals choose people for a purpose. So what are some books that feature companion animals?

Heralds of Valdemar series by Mercedes Lackey

The Heralds of Valdemar series by Mercedes Lackey (and other authors) is probably one of the best examples I can think of of companion animals in fantasy books. The Companions themselves are beautiful white horses with blue eyes that choose people to be Heralds. The Heralds then travel the land acting as judges and settling disputes. They also fight in wars when required.

Companions and Heralds also share a telepathic link, so they are in contact with one another even when not physically together.

In the vast world that is the Valdemar series, there are others types of companion animals as well, including birds and cats. These animals don’t “choose” their people to be anything more than just people. They simply exist together as companions.

This is a very long series, with well over 20 books published and more continuing to be released. If you have a hankering for companion animals in fantasy books, the Valdemar books are a great place to start!

Crossroads Trilogy by Kate Elliot

Another great example of companion animals in fantasy is the Crossroads Trilogy by Kate Elliott. In this trilogy, giant eagles choose people to become Reeves. The Reeves, much like the Heralds of Valdemar mentioned above, travel the land acting as judges and settling disputes as needed.


Unlike the Valdemar series, the eagles and Reeves don’t share a telepathic connection. They are bonded though, because if an eagle dies it’s Reeve dies too. Though if a Reeve dies, the Eagle can survive and choose another Reeve.


If you’re looking for Urban Fantasy, I would highly recommend checking out The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne. The main character, Atticus, has an Irish wolfhound that he has bonded to telepathically. As the books are told mostly from Atticus’s perspective, we are often treated to his conversations with Oberon, his dog, to much delight. Oberon is actually the best character in this series. He’s smart, funny, and sarcastic. What more could you want in your companion animal?


I’m going to include the Realm of the Elderlings by Robin Hobb here, though these books may not quite fit with what some might think of as companion animals. The Realm of the Elderlings is made of a few separate trilogies that extend off one another. In the first trilogy, the Farseer Trilogy, the main character, Fitz, has the ability to bond with animals and share a telepathic connection with them. This power isn’t common in this world and is actually considered to be taboo by most. People discovered to have this ability would be persecuted. Fitz is able to hide his ability while still having canine companions, most notably the wolf Nighteyes.

The Rain Wild Chronicles is a bit different. This part of the series is all about dragons coming back to the world. A group of people are recruited to help the dragons find a more suitable place to live as where they hatched can’t sustain them. Though the people do bond with the dragons, there is no telepathic connection and the dragons see the humans as servants more than actual friends.


I’m sure there are many more examples out there of fantasy books featuring companion animals that I have yet to read. Dragon Riders of Perne for instance or the Inheritance series ( I only read Eragon).

What are some fantasy series you’ve read with companion animals? Have you read any of the ones I’ve listed here? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

Thank for reading!

Book Talk – How Many Characters is Too Many?

I have been reading fantasy novels basically as long as I could read. For the sake of argument, I’ll say I’ve been reading adult fantasy novels for over 25 years. In that time, I’ve read several hundred books and I’d like to share something that has really come to bother me in the last little while.

How many characters is too many characters? 10? 20?

Fantasy is often made up of sweeping epics that can get quite long. It’s fairly normal for a fantasy novel to have 500 – 1000 pages. In a lot of these novels, there are a lot of characters. Though some may die throughout the series, there’s always more being introduced. As I’ve been reading my current book and going through these different characters points of view, I’m wondering, was that really necessary? Is this character actually adding anything to the overall story here? Would it have made a difference if this character never existed?

Epics like A Song of Ice and Fire, The Wheel of Time, Dragonlance, etc, have so many characters that it becomes difficult to keep track of them all. And when you go to a new chapter and suddenly you’re following a new character (and a character you don’t even like) it can be somewhat jarring. It can take you out of the story as you now have to adjust what this person is doing instead of the person before.

Honestly, this is one of the biggest reasons why I only read two books of the Song of Ice and Fire series. I didn’t like most of the characters, which means I didn’t care about them, so I didn’t care about the story. I only actually liked two or three characters and naturally one of them dies by the end of the first book. I couldn’t keep going.

I can only think of one series (that I’ve read) that has a first person point of view that stays with the same character. Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Legacy series sticks with the same character from beginning to end for each of the 3 trilogies that make up the series. You never see what other characters are doing except from the main character’s perspective. This may be one of the reasons I love this series so much. Do you know of any others? I’d really love to know!

This turned into more of a rant than I had intended. I would like to know what other people’s opinions on the subject are. Do you prefer to read from the first person point of view of only one character, or do you enjoy getting into the minds of various different people? Let me know in the comments.

2022 – A Year of Reading (and not)

2022 has officially come to an end and I wish I could say that it was an amazing year for reading and that I got through more books than I ever have before, but that would be an absolute lie.

I had set a goal of 52 books ( 1 book a week) for 2022 and sadly only made it to 31. I fell into a pretty significant reading slump around September. I just couldn’t get myself into reading. Instead, I wanted to make something. So, first I decided to try cross stitch. That was something I thought I would never have the patience for but in the end, I really enjoyed it. It can take quite awhile to finish a project, if it isn’t something small. Plus, I’ve found it difficult to find patterns I like and actually want to do. Funnily, while looking for something else, I found a small bag packed full of embroidery floss. I don’t think I will ever need to buy more in my life lol.

Not long after that, I also got back into crotchet. This was something I hadn’t done in well over a decade, but suddenly I just really wanted to. I decided to make scarves and stuff for my friends for Christmas, which then took up most of my free time. I’m still working on a few projects but I’m not quite as gung ho about it as I was a month or so ago.

Throughout this time I kept thinking about reading. I had a book I had started that was good but I just couldn’t get myself to sit down and read it. I’ve learned over the years that I can’t force myself out of a reading slump. I will always get tired of reading at some point and become really focused on a different hobby. So, I just go with the flow and do whatever it is that I feel like doing at the time.

I’m feeling more like reading now and I have set a goal of 50 books for this year. I’m also hoping to spend more time on this blog in 2023. I’m sure I’ve said that before and I think the new year always makes me feel optimistic about things and I make plans that don’t always work out.

What are your reading goals for 2023? How was 2022 for you? I’ve love to hear about what your goals are and what books you have planned on your TBR.

Thanks for reading!

Book Review – Shadow Gate – Crossroads #2 by Kate Elliott

Synopsis (from Goodreads): The captivating, bestselling Spirit Gate swept readers into the turbulent world of the Hundred, where the peace and order of life under the protection of the immortal Guardians has given way to chaos and violence. In the face of a vast horde of marauders led by a rogue Guardian, the bravery and resourcefulness of a lone eagle-reeve and others who risk their lives for the common good have prevented death and destruction from overwhelming the Hundred.


This review will contain spoilers if you have not read book 1, Spirit Gate

The first novel of this trilogy started by introducing the character of Marit. She was a very likable character and I thought she would be at least one of the main characters of the book. Unfortunately, Marit dies early in the book and the focus shifts to her lover, Joss, and introduces other characters soon after.

While there is nothing wrong with this, it wasn’t what I was hoping for and I found it somewhat disappointing. So, when Shadow Gate opens once again with Marit, I was pleasantly surprised and realized that she was a lot of what I found lacking in the first book.

While reading Spirit Gate, I didn’t feel a strong connection to the main story and the characters. With Shadow Gate, I started to feel that connection more as back stories about what were initially side characters were slowly revealed. Turns out, I really like the secondary characters better.

The characters begin to feel more developed in this book as well. Characters i didn’t particularly care for in the first book were suddenly more interesting. Shai, in particular, gets more character development as he starts to come out of his shell and really come into his own. New characters are introduced and old ones return.

I have to say that I enjoyed this book much more than the first one. Though to be fair, I was entering a reading slump as I was reading the first one and my brain just wasn’t into reading at that time. I think I have finally come out of that slump and will be back to regular reading this year.

My rating for Shadow Gate is 4 out of 5 stars. I would recommend it to anyone who loves fantasy novels, though you should read book 1 first.

Thanks for reading!