Book Review: The War Gate, by Chris Stevenson

There are so many things about this book that I enjoyed and so many things about this book that annoyed. Just to jump to what you want to know: Is the book worth reading? Yes, read it. It definitely held my attention.

That said, there were some things about this book I didn’t enjoy, and I’m going to start with that, so I can leave you with the good stuff.

First, the names bugged me. Labrador? Brings to mind the dog, no matter how much I try for it not to, and it distracted me throughout the novel, and to make it worse, the author used her full name frequently (especially in the beginning), so I was constantly reminded of it.


Janus Geminus was another interesting name convention. I believe that the author intended this to be a take off on a modern interpretation of the Gates of Janus, which is about a Roman mythological god, who closed the gates when Rome was at peace. I would have enjoyed more relating this to that mythological story, to show why and how it mattered that this one woman be saved. Does Janus do this for other reasons, for other people, and if so, why and to what end? I guess I don’t feel this was satisfactorily answered. The concept was appealing to me, but I found I wanted more of the history to it all, rather than just what was happening in the story now.



Probably my biggest complaint about the book is that, to me, it was predictable. I saw what was happening before it happened, so I was surprised and shocked by nothing. When I read mystery or suspense, I don’t want it handed to me. I want to try to figure it out, but like it when the author manages to sneak a surprise in on me, one that works, one that’s not way out there and unbelievable. Everything in this story was plotted too carefully, to perfectly, so that I was able to determine what was going to happen before it did.

The story could use a developmental edit, to help build up some suspense and tension that just wasn’t there. There were also some minor grammatically issues that a good, professional edit might have caught. Nothing so bad it ruined the story, though. But things bugged me, like the tag saying Avalon had to give birth to herself to set things right, but she didn’t give birth to herself–the child, Avy, was part her part Janus–that’s not the same as giving birth to yourself. So little things like that, attention to those minute details that are important to me in a book that has science fiction tendencies (fantasy/sci-fi/time-travel/etc), is so important to the story.


So, okay, the good stuff: The story starts with a bang, definitely grabs you and move you through the pages.

The pacing is fast enough to be interesting but not so fast you’ll feel the story is missing details. I really enjoyed the pacing of the story and how the author kept it moving along, without rushing.

The characters are interesting, and it’s easy enough to care about them or feel things for them.Though I’m not usually a romance reader, I do enjoy romantic elements in a well-written story. The romance in this story was a good compliment to the rest of what was going on.

There were some suspension of disbelief issues, but this is a fantasy. I was mostly able to set them aside for the sake of the story.

All in all, this story has a lot of potential. I’m a die-hard time travel nut, so I had no choice but to read it–time travel stories really captivate me. This is definitely a neat twist on the time travel, and I’m sort of a sucker for mythology too, so this book ties together two things I enjoy, with a solid and decently-written story that has good pacing and plotting.

If the author had toned down the foreshadowing some, made it a little less predictable, I would be highly recommending this book to everyone. As it is, I still think most people who enjoy light fantasy elements and good stories will enjoy The War Gate and it’s well worth adding to your reading list.

Pick up your copy on Kindle today, by clicking here.

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6 comments to Book Review: The War Gate, by Chris Stevenson

  • Farah Evers  says:

    Thank you for this greatly thorough, and honest review! I am truly honored, and consider myself lucky Texas Straight-Talk Reviews is hosting.

  • Chris Stevenson  says:

    Thank you for that virtual edit–you gave me some things to think about in future mysteries. I do have a tendency to over-explain details and leave nothing unsolved. Just goes to show you that you can’t be afraid to lose your reader sometimes and propose some unanswered questions.

  • Moncler J  says:

    Awseome article, I am a big believer in leaving comments on blogs to help the blog writers know that theyve added something useful to the world wide web!

  • Buffy  says:

    I appreciate that this in-depth analytical review gave no plot spoilers. The book sounds quite interesting with a unique take on time-travel. I look forward to reading it.

  • Max Neram  says:

    I’ve actually just brought this book and will be reading it soon. I like time travel, so I’m looking forward to it!

  • Michelle M Ruiz  says:

    Hello, I simply wanted to take time to make a comment and say I have really enjoyed reading your site.

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