Title: Smoke Gate
Author: Kay L. Moody
Series: The Elements of Kamdaria (#6)
Page Length: 180
Publication Date: April 7, 2020
Publisher: Marten Press
Synopsis: 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?
This is another excellent addition to The Elements of Kamdaria series. Talise’s story continues as she travels closer to obtaining the elusive and mysterious amulet and tries to evade the Kessoku while journeying to and helping different parts of the kingdom.
I like that the character development and world-building grow with each book. In Smoke Gate, for example, we are introduced to Wendy’s family. Her parents, grandmother, aunt, and uncle are extended versions of Wendy, and it’s clear where she gets her charm, beliefs, and morals. We also read and learn more about Claye and his devotion to Talise (though I still question his motives and sincerity).
Talise’s journey takes a more emotional/spiritual turn in this story. Though there is still a significant amount of action, the story focuses equally on Talise’s inner conflicts. Talise struggles with trusting people, letting people in, knowing what kind of ruler she wants to be, learning how to balance, and more. She suffered and continues to suffer from loss and rejection. Eben, a new mentor-like character and guardian of the amulet, teaches Talise about the amulet and the untold history of Kamdaria which, in turn, helps Talise on her journey toward ruling Kamdaria.
Then there’s Aaden’s reappearance!!! As Aaden was absent in the previous book, I was impatiently curious to find out what happened to him. Smoke Gate fills in the gaps (a little), and we get a small glimpse of what he’s been up to. Without giving too much away, it was interesting to see him try to balance his orders from the Kessoku and his obvious protective feelings toward Talise and her friends. Hopefully, in the next book, Moody will explore Aaden’s story further.
This is a quick and well-paced story that I enjoyed as much as the others in the series. I’m excited for the next book, Vine Gate, which comes out on May 12th!
- Aaden’s return. His character is dynamic and interesting and being torn in many different directions. I’m interested in reading how he navigates the treacherous road he is headed down.
- Talise’s emotional growth. She had a crisis of conscience in this story and needed to figure out who she was, who she could trust, and what kind of leader she wanted to be.
- Eben. He’s like Yoda without the light saber.
- The ending! A great twist that I did not expect!!
If you haven’t read the first five books in the series, I suggest you read them first. They are all awesome!