Today’s fantasy book Indie review is for The Gates of Golorath (Chaos of Souls Book 1) by R.M. Garino.

“You wanted to know why I left the Patresilen? It was a betrayal bade me leave. It started in the autumn of the year, more than three centuries ago.

I began my apprenticeship at the Gates nine days before. She arrived with her squad as the sun was slipping behind the mountains…”

-Angus Tu’renthian
The Gates of Golorath

This is the first Indie book that I’ve thought “why isn’t this traditionally published?” because it IS that good.

I have certain themes I do like to read about in my fantasy – one of them is the military brotherhood storyline. Strangely, enough while I enjoy this in my fantasy books I don’t particularly like it in my Science Fiction (so you don’t catch me reading military space opera generally).

Where Gates really shines is in the description of the every day life and the training of the military brotherhood of the Prides. I’m not sure what Garino’s background is (if, for example, has he served in the military) but there is a realness to the camaraderie he writes about between the members of the units that speaks true to life.

The book brings you into their training scenarios, the rivalries, and the hierarchy. It squeezes your heart and you really care about these people.

And folks that is something that is extremely hard to write! It takes a real talent to get you to care about fictional characters and for a book to become a page-turner.

In several ways this book made me think of Inda by Sherwood Smith and of her rich fantasy world.

There are a lot of characters in this story to juggle. The good news is that means you can find someone you like and root for, and who you’d like to read a lot more about.

The down side is it can be a bit confusing until everyone gets sorted out as to exactly who they are and what House they belong to. A list of characters by Pride and House at the back or front would be really helpful; this is something I’ve seen done in other epic fantasy books and would benefit readers.

I also appreciated the female characters. I rarely read male authors anymore because I am so sick and tired of how they write female characters (unbelievable is the kindness word I can use). Garino though treats his female characters as PEOPLE FIRST and with that he makes them interesting, compelling, and relatable.

There is a lot of worldbuilding to cover in his book and the story sometimes bogs down because of it. Epic fantasy reads usually have very involved and complex worlds that have to be built.

While Garino does handle most of this well, there is some sticky parts that must be waded through.

For example, the prologue is totally unnecessary. If I picked this book up at a bookstore I would have looked at the cover (okay cover, traditional and generic typical of the high fantasy, epic fantasy genre), read the back (hm about angels and religion, not really my thing), and opened the book to read first 3 pages.

At this point, after reading the prologue I would have returned the book to the shelf un-bought. That’s really too bad as I thoroughly enjoyed it!

The long prologue aka Kingkiller (Patrick Rothfuss) introduction just doesn’t work here. It confuses the new reader and delays getting us to the meat of the action when Ariella arrives at the training post.

I was ripping away, staying up past 2 a.m. when THUNK we hit another “back to the present” section. I simply didn’t care – I didn’t care about Angus in the present with his human following.

I put the book back down and went to bed. This is really an issue in what for me is otherwise a fantastically told story.

Overall, this is a book I didn’t know I needed – and I’m glad I picked it up! Just bought the sequel and will get started when I want another all-nighter.

blog post reviews of books, including fantasy, science fiction, paranormal fantasy, mystery, and historical. Wherever my whimsy takes me.

  1. Thank you so much for your review! We valued your insights and finally took that plunge to change the beginning of the book. We’ve been talking about it for too long, procrastination ain’t pretty lol. And thank you for thinking this book is worthy of a traditional publisher, that meant so much. Keep writing these amazing reviews!

    1. You have an amazing book! I’ve set aside time this weekend to dive back in and re-read the first 2 chapters in Gates before I jump to the sequel (which I’ve already bought and is in my queue!)

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