***This book was reviewed via XPresso Book Tours
Gate of Air follows the Northlander seer Frayka, who has been tasked by the Northland gods to make a peace with the dragon gods of the Far East. Frayka has Far East blood, and sees portents, a fact that makes other Northlanders wary of her. Now she must travel to the Far East and find the Gate of Air in order to meet the dragon gods. Along the way, she learns more about her family’s past, and her gift of portents.
I had high hopes for Gate of Air, given previous books by the author, especially since this is set in the same world. It just didn’t work for me though. Frayka grated on my nerves too much. To have been tasked by the gods to broker a peace or face severe consequences not just for herself, but all of her people, Frayka acts very immature and impetuously. She does not take the time to weigh the effects of her actions and bemoans that everyone wants her to ‘not be true to her nature’. There’s a time to be true to oneself, and a time to reign that in for the greater good. As a main character, I found her rather lacking. It was disconcerting how Frayka didn’t think she needed to adapt her behaviour in the Far East to follow the customs there, or that she considered it was okay to be brusque and impolite to her great grandmother, or others in positions of power and authority. There does not appear to be anything but her own sense of self-righteousness that makes her think she’s better than others. Respect for elders, and authority, tends to be a part of most cultures, and the Northlanders do not seem against that.
I enjoyed the concept of the story, if not the self-centred temperament of the main character, and I found many of the other characters very compelling. TeaTree and GranGran were awesome. Emperor Po, Kikita, and Ti were neat too, though I was surprised by the turn Ti took. While I might not want to live in the Far East, I found the depth and detail of the culture, and its customs fascinating. I’ll give the next book a try, in the hopes that Frayka will mature, and for more of TeaTree and GranGran. And for more of the Far Eastern dragon gods!