Sci-fi, action, fantasy, bromance, family, Elves, a book Sci-Fi readers are sure to love!
I had the pleasure of receiving Antiquity’s Gate from the wonderful R.F. Hurteau to review before it came out. While I’m excited to get my first pre-release book, keep in mind this doesn’t affect my review in any way. I have always prided myself on being an honest reader and not holding back my opinions. Now, without further ado, let’s dive it!
First, can we just talk about this gorgeous cover! It caught my attention right away and I was just about ready to plop it on my bookshelf, but thankfully, I got an e-book version so I could dive right in.
Okay, but to the substance. Basically, Antiquity’s Gate, three days till dawn, is a character-driven sci-fi novel that takes place in a future Antarctica because the human’s exisiting on earth has become impossible. The characters live in the Sanctuary, comforted and safe, yet confined within the bounds of their world. They’ve never quite stepped outside because it’s simply too dangerous to do so, but when threats are struck and Felix’s family in danger due to unjust racial laws, the Sanctuary isn’t…well a sanctuary anymore.
This book surprised me from the get go. With the blazing synopsis and amazing cover, I was ready to dive into some insane drama, and the prologue knocked it out of the park. Then, the first chapter felt slightly short to me, only because plot wise, it was slow. Felix and Ripely are being normal, doing their job and living their boring lives.
This slow down in pace gave the readers a nice second to get to know these two main characters. As a reader who values plot AND character equally, I appreciate the action-packed prologue and mellow first chapter. That being said, it wasn’t all that simple. Details about something odd surfaced as they worked…and well, you have to read it to find out more. Then, it picked up once again. Once certain events went down, it became apprarent that things were going haywire, and the pace immediatly picked up.
I’m a sucker for good characters and character relationships. Each protaginist was extremly likeable with their own set of flaws. Loyal, kind, and family-orineted, these characters reminded me that goodness did exist in this world. Another detail I really appreciated was the amount of effort and intricacy put into making an amazing bromance between Felix and Ripley. They’re funny, clever, smart, and fiercely loyal to each other and who they love.
Another thing I really want to mention is how linguistically amazing this novel is. A refreshing read, for sure, and it pulled me out of my reading slump. The way Hurteua It’s very polished and refined, perfect sentence structure, word choice, dialogue, and descriptions. I can tell Hurteau put a ton of work into the novel and it really shines through.
Worldbuilding wise, the book was impressive. It served us intricate details in a smart fashion. It never seemed forced on the reader. I enjoyed that, because in a world this intricate, info-dumping is a dangerous thing many authors cave into. R. F. Hurteau escaped this trap and delivered us an interesting world. What I found really interesting was the inclusion of a fantastical element: Elves. Though in this world, the Elves are considered Therans, they were a really nice twist that made it stand out from other books I’ve read. We’ve seen an overwhelming surge of fairies in recent YA Fantasy novels, but I’ve never seen Elves before. This immediatly made the book stand out to me, and in an otherwise pretty standard Sci-Fi story, the inclusion of Elves made it something to remember.
If any of you could tell, I’m a sucker for worldbuilding, like come on, all my blog posts are about it. It’s one of my favorite things to write and favorite things to read…when done well. Admittedly, in the first couple of chapters I was puzzled by all the words and definitions, but as I plowed through the book like an eager dog searching for her treat, the world began to fall in place. Hurteau creates a strong social strata that leaves the reader sympathetic for the characters, one of which is a full-blown Human, and the other a Half-Elf, which they refer to as Halfsies. Their identities don’t make life in the Sanctuary easy, and both our characters have internal conflict with their needs and desires, wanting to break the social ceiling around them, but it’s hard when you’re stuck in a safety bubble in Antarctica.
That’s it for the nonspoiler section! If you are interested, go check out the book at this link:
This book, was in my opinion, engaging, interesting, and well-written. If you’ve read it, you can probably agree with me. Starting with the whole class drama, I just love how it hits you from the start. Ripley wants to be something more than an Operator, but since he’s human, he can’t. Then, we’re introduced to Felix, who is a Halfsie and proabably has it worse because he belongs to neither side. As we plow through the story, we just get more building through the actions of others, and we grow to be really sympethetic to both the characters.
A character I was iffy about was Sylvia. Other than being Ben’s brother, I didn’t see her chapters bringing anything new to the story. I found myself grueling though her chapters cause I just didn’t see their overall purpsoe. She never became a main character and we didn’t hear of her after Ben’s dissaperence. Also, what happened to Ben? Will we cover that in the sequel or did I miss something? The readers never really got a conclusion in that aspect, and seeing that the characters flew out of Antartica, I don’t know if we’ll ever figure out what happened to that cute little snowball.
Now, the book really picked up in the middle with the discovery of the breech. I started really paying attention when the detail about Willow’s preganancy came out. Also, how cute is it that she went to Ripley for advice? Really cute…and thinking of it makes me sad.
The end was a great cliffhanger for the reason that we don’t know what happened to Ripley. My heart really frikin hurt when they allowed him to sacrefice himself for the rest of the team, but I understood what he was doing, and man, he really loves them.
But the excerpt to the next part keeps me hopefull. Is Ripley not really dead? Is that body him? Is he alive? Will they go back to the sancuary and save the remaining humans? I really hope so.
I like the flaws that Hurteua added to the characters. Is it just me or is Willow a tad bit selfish…like the normal kind that most humans have. We’d save our families before we save our friend because they’re our family’s. That contrast with Felix wanting to go back for Ripley makes they’re dynamic interesting and very realisitc.
The twist that the Therans were planning to destory the Sanctuary wasn’t suprising, persay, but satisfying. We knew they had something up their sleeve this whole time, so figuring it out was nice as the reader. I do wish it was dragged on longer, though. I understand that book is on the short line and that the three day time frame is important to preserve, but I would’ve really enjoyed seeing more clues dropped around so readers could guess it before the reveal, but maybe it wasn’t programmed to be that way.
I do wish there was more diversity in this novel, but with it being so short, it’s a forgivable critique, so take it with a grain of salt. I would just think they’d be more of a variety of people within the sanctuary.
Now, the breech storyline, that was quite exciting, and I LOVED meeting Tobias again. I love when Prologues tie back into the story and you did it marvoulsly. I was waiting for a mention of him/an apperence, and I was excited when it happened. Him and his kettle almost killing Ripley was a golden moment that really broke a laugh in the midst of tension. Tobias is a refreshing cahracter, and so is Ambrose. Ambrose is very much like a mentor, father-figure that is a STEEP contrast from Nero.
But back to the ending. While is made me sad, it gave me hope cause there’s a sequel coming! I hope to review that too.
It’s a good book, great even. It was well-written, developed, fun, sad, and sent us readers through a rollercoaster of emotions. It carried important themes like family, loyalty, racisim, and morality. I really enjoyed reading this book.
Looking at the price on Amazon, it’s a bit steep. Considering it’s a pretty short book, I don’t know if it need to be $14 for a paperback and $25 for a hardcover, but it is free on Kindle Unlimited to I guess it cancels it out. Typically, books like it price a little lower, but since its Indie Published, I don’t know how much costs were to produce it.
If you like books that are easy to blow through, engaging, and well-written, check out Antiquity’s Gate by R. F. Hurteau! If you’ve read it, drop a review!