I received this book via Author. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.Smoke Gate by Kay L. Moody
Series: The Elements of Kamdaria #6
Published by Marten Press on 2020-04-07
Length: 101 pages
Reviewing eARC from Author
Reading Challenges: 2020 New Release Challenge, COYER All Year 2020
A mentor she never expected. A piece of herself she can't leave behind. This journey will teach her more than she wants to know.
Talise knows little of what the future will hold. When a mysterious guardian insists on teaching her the history of her empire, everything will change. Matters become worse when the problems in her personal life escalate.
With a relentless enemy hot on her heels, failure is not an option. Can she prove her honor? Will it be in time?
Smoke Gate by Kay L. Moody is the sixth installment of the novella series The Elements of Kamdaria. After finishing the previous novella, I knew that this installment would be action packed and break my heart. Y’all Kay L. Moody delivered! The book opens with a chapter from Aaden’s point of view. We haven’t heard from him since Flame Crown, and it was a relief to know he wasn’t dead. But I may have chose death over his betrayal 😭
Talise is still adjusting to her new normal as princess. She isn’t used to making decisions for other people. She sees her soldiers, the ones that have willingly followed her, as something else for her to protect. It isn’t easy for her to relinquish that and allow them to do their job of protecting her. But this isn’t the only new normal for her, Talise is also dealing with Aaden’s disappearance. He didn’t return when he promised, and now she questions if she can trust him and mourns that betrayal.
At her side and having never left it are Wendy and Claye. During River Gate, Talise and her friends realize that there is a spy among them, feeding information about their location and Talise’s security to Kessouku. The question is who. Talise doesn’t want to suspect her friends, but all fingers point to it being Wendy or Claye. Wanting and needing to believe in them, Talise pushes aside her doubt and doesn’t trust her gut. Bad move in my opinion! Wendy works with the head general of Talise’s soldiers and knows everything. Claye is there as her friend and support, but in truth I can’t help but question his motives. During River Gate, he made it quite clear he has feelings that go beyond friendship for Talise, feelings she doesn’t return. These feelings feel forced and unnatural to the character that was portrayed in the first part of the series. While Talise is questioning Wendy, I question Claye’s true intentions.
Smoke Gate delves deeper into the world of Kamdaria than the previous books. As Talise has been touring the kingdom as the long lost princess, she learns some interesting things about Kamdaria’s history, things that contradict what she was taught. Not only that but we get to meet the mysterious cloaked stranger from the last book who offered Talise knowledge about Kamdar’s amulet, the powerful artifact the Kessouku are searching for. I love the world-building here, but I love Talise’s reaction to it even more. It’s raw, heart-breaking and real. As she’s already begun to question her father’s motives, the things she learns from the protector of the amulet break her heart. What will she do going forward? This question plagues Talise.
Overall, I really enjoyed Smoke Gate. I think this is my favorite installment of the series to date. If you enjoy YA fantasy, political intrigue, and rebellions, I highly recommend it!