Must Read

Lichgates (Book Review)

Posted on Updated on

Lichgates Cover
The cover for S.M. Boyce’s first book, Lichgates.

Lichgates by S.M. Boyce

“The Grimoire turns its own pages and can answer any question asked of it…and a Magari is its next target.

Kara has no idea what she’s getting herself into when she stumbles across the old book while hiking along a hidden trail. Once she opens it, she’s thrown into Ourea: a beautiful world full of terrifying beings that all want the Grimoire’s secrets. Everyone in this new world is trying to find her, but most just want to control the new-found power the Grimoire bestows upon her. 

Braeden Drakonin grew up in Ourea, and all he’s ever known in life is lying. The Grimoire is his one chance at redemption, and it lands in his lap when Kara Magari comes into his life. He has one question to ask the book—one question that can fix everything in his broken world—and he’s not letting Kara out of his sight until he gets an answer.

There’s no escaping Ourea.”

When Kara stumbles through a Lichgate, (which, I may add, should have been better marked) she is thrown into a world unlike that which she has known her entire life, she is hunted by creatures she barely understands, and has, understandably, a hard time knowing who to trust. Braeden is the first remotely friendly face she meets in Ourea, and even he may lead her to ruin, or worse, her death. However, he has been trustworthy thus far and she is loathe to give up her constant companion as she slowly redraws her definition of normal.

S.M. Boyce has created a vibrant world full of memorable characters. The writing is simple and easy, making for a quick read. The plot is easy to follow, with few subplots to detract from it over all. Written in a limited omniscient style, we as readers are given a glimpse into the minds of Kara and Braeden, immersing us into the story that much deeper. There are a few spelling errors and the like that were sadly missed during the editing process, but only one or two are so egregious that they pull the reader out of the story.
The beginning is artfully done, showing a view into Kara’s “normal” life, just before she is thrown for a loop and pulled into Ourea. The first few chapters bounce between Kara and Braeden’s view points until the two finally meet, each chapter ending with a well done cliff-hanger. I quickly came to empathize and fall in love with the characters. Also well done was the introduction of the antagonist. Carden is a well-created character, and S.M. Boyce has no hesitation in painting him in the worst light possible. It was hard for me to find a redeeming quality in him, though I do admire the reasons for doing what he does, most would agree his means are evil by definition.
The meat of the book shows us Ourea in all its glory. Boyce paints the landscape fully in the mind of the reader, with minimal, succinct descriptions, letting us fill in the blanks. It is done tastefully and with a light hand. In the middle of the book, we are introduced to, I think, all the characters that will play a role in the later novels. The middle moves quickly from place to place, staying just long enough for Kara to grow to love, or hate, it before moving on.
The end of the book is quite sudden. The forward movement of the rest of the book seems to be picking up speed, and it’s just go, go, go, and then when it comes to the end, it’s jarring. It ends on a large cliffhanger, which is nonetheless well done. In the epilogue we are introduced to a character who has, until this point, only been spoken of in absentia. This reader was left wondering just what his role in the grand scheme of things would be.
Things I liked: Characters, Description, Easy-to-read, Pacing
Things I disliked: Too Fast, Some errors, Ending too sudden
Overall, I absolutely loved the book and can’t wait for Treason which comes out this month (the 27th to be exact). Four and a half out of five stars.
You can visit S.M. Boyce here, and I highly recommend you buy the book here, or the paper back here.
[EDIT: The minor errors I mentioned have sense been fixed in later rounds of editing.]