Review: River Gate by Kay L. Moody

Title: River Gate

Author: Kay L. Moody

Series: The Elements of Kamdaria (#5)

Page Length: 200

Publication Date: March 10, 2020

Publisher: Marten Press

Synopsis: The people of Kamdaria are angry.

The empire is full of unrest. The aristocratic citizens of the Crown are angry at the emperor for lying about their enemy. The middle-class citizens of the Gate are angry at the state of their once great empire. And the poor, desperate citizens of the Storm are beginning to awake after years of oppression.

If Talise doesn’t gain back their loyalty soon, it might be lost forever.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, including Amazon, and I may earn a small commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through my links.

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon

This is Book 5 in The Elements of Kamdaria series. Check out my review for the first four books here!

My Review:

This is the fifth book in The Elements of Kamdaria Series, and I enjoyed it as much as the first four. The story focused on Talise and her relationships with her friends and the citizens of Kamdaria. It also delved more into her complicated relationship with the Emperor and explored her working toward making Kamdaria a better society for all citizens, despite the Emperor’s beliefs.

One aspect of the story that I really liked was how much growth Talise shows. Her maturation stems from her experiences in battle and captivity. She witnessed the assassination of most of her family when she was a child, and she was raised to lie and keep her identity a secret. She lived impoverished, went to school with few friends and one focus, and never had any money. She never left the confines of her school, and she fought for everything she had. Talise has lived a difficult life and survived in spite of it.

The one part of the story that I didn’t love was the absence of Aaden. At the end of the last book, Aaden left on a mission. This story doesn’t focus on Aaden at all – not his mission, not his return, nothing.

Not fair, Kay L. Moody! I need to know more! 🙂

Throughout the story, while trying to help those in need, Talise mourns the loss of Aaden and feels a supreme sense of betrayal. This was the one part of Talise that frustrated me. She does not have enough faith in Aaden and his love for her. After all they went through in the previous books, I find it hard to believe that he would just leave her and never return. I don’t understand her thinking, especially considering where he is and how it relates to his past (I don’t want to give too much away here).

That being said, I understand why Moody chose this plot path. Aaden’s absence evokes feelings of hurt, grief, and loss in Talise. It reminds her of her family and the many other losses she’s had to face. I love the way Moody describes Talise’s grief for Aaden and her family:

“So much nothing. But if it was nothing, then why did it hurt so much…It was an interesting thing living with such deep pain. It never went away or felt less painful. The ache always hid right there under the surface of her skin. But she’d been living with it for years now and had learned to make it a part of her.”

This is such a powerful, insightful, and truthful perspective on grief. She goes on to say more about the pain of loss, and the enormity of grief. Her feelings are raw and real, which connected me even more to her character. Theses relatable feelings also added an authenticity to the thoughts and feelings of the characters.

“And there it was again, just as fresh as the day they died. It came at her from all sides, crashing down in waves. Suffocating the tiny light that dared to glow inside of her…It still shredded her and tore her apart from the inside out.”

This week marks the tenth anniversary of my beloved mother’s death, and I understand Talise’s feelings completely in this scene. They are raw and true and difficult, and it added such dimension to her character. She is strong and powerful, but she is also vulnerable and sensitive.

This is a powerful and poignant addition to The Elements of Kamdaria Series. I love how Talise is witnessing and trying to help her people, and I love that she is starting to see people for who they really are.


Favorite Parts:

  • Talise’s maturation. She has grown so much from the start of the series, and this book really highlights this.
  • The powers. Many people use their powers for the betterment of others. It was nice to see these awesome powers being used for selfless and helpful purposes and not just for the whims of the emperor.


If you haven’t read the other books in the series, I recommend reading them first. This is not a standalone story. However, if you are looking for a fresh, immersive, and fascinating fantasy story, this is the book for you!

17 thoughts on “Review: River Gate by Kay L. Moody

  1. This is a wonderful review! I especially enjoyed reading about how you could relate to some of Talise’s feelings and experiences – I love it when books do that, it’s so comforting and reassuring X x x

Leave a Reply