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Book Review: The Crossing Gate (A Waltz of Sin and Fire #1) (ARC)

Expected publication: January 4th 2022 

Author: Asiel R. Lavie

She can’t grow up. Literally.

In the kingdom of Elpax, juveniles must walk through the mysterious Crossing Gate to become adults—and seventeen-year-old Lenora is determined that her third attempt at crossing to adulthood will be successful. Even though adulthood means facing horrible realities, such as sin-spots appearing on her body whenever she commits a sin, it also means being able to have a job. And Lenora needs to work to support her struggling family.

But Lenora’s Crossing Day goes horribly wrong.

Accused of trying to start a revolution, Lenora must obey the kingdom’s laws to the letter if she wants to take suspicion off herself. But following the rules isn’t as easy as it sounds. Especially when she meets a mysterious and handsome stranger who makes her feel emotions she’s never experienced before—even though juveniles in Elpax aren’t supposed to be capable of falling in love.

With the long arm of the law looming over her and her family, Lenora must walk a tightrope between following the rules and investigating why she’s unable to cross. Not to mention discovering where her new adult emotions are coming from. But as Lenora uncovers more of Elpax’s terrible secrets, she realizes that fighting the system might be the only way to save her family, her country, and her first love.

The first in an epic series perfect for fans of Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen and Lauren Oliver’s Delirium, The Crossing Gate combines the tropes of classic YA dystopia with a Greek-inspired setting and fantasy elements that will whisk readers away on a journey like no other.

The Crossing Gate is the first installment in the A Waltz of Sin and Fire series. I originally requested to read this story solely based on the cover, but the synopsis made me even more intrigued to begin reading it. The story itself ended up being very unique and captivating. This novel was an excellent introduction to the series and made me, as a reader, very intrigued to read the rest of the series when it becomes available. There are some vibes of the dystopian world as the Hunger Games or Divergent, while still being a very unique story that keeps you captivated from start to finish.

Lenora (Leen), a 17-years-old girl is on the verge of adulthood. She wants to grow up and get a job to help her family, but she is not sure if she is ready to cross the gate to make the transition. In her kingdom of Elpax, juveniles must cross an actual gate in order to become adults. As Lenora has failed this crossing twice, she is nervous about her third attempt. This eventually leads to an accident and an unintended revolution where Lenora must navigate the various secrets and obstacles that are thrown her way.

As a character, Lenora was likable overall, but she had some moments where she was frustrating to follow. While she was initially on the fence for me, I enjoyed her small moments of growth and I cannot wait to see how she continues to develop over the course of the series. Along the way, the reader explores Jason, her friend who has crossed into being an adult, and Erick, a lawyer, who were each great characters. Similar to other novels in the genre, there is a love triangle. While there seemed to be a clear endgame, this could potentially change as the series moves forward. I enjoy romance in stories, but I also would have liked a little more connection develop as friends.

The writing itself stood out to me as it seemed to have been written with purpose. Each twist and turn made sense in the story with some details hidden from the reader until the right moment. I will have to fully reserve judgement on this until I read more from the series, but it seems that the big picture outline is there and elements do not seem thrown together for the sake of making an event more exciting for the sake of being that way. There are some moments in this installment where the pacing and story jumps around a bit, yet it still read with purpose. It did initially feel frustrating in the moment, but it seemed to come together in the end. Again, it is difficult to fully judge this as it will depend on the rest of the series and how everything comes together. Overall, this was a great start to a series and I cannot wait to see what the next installment brings!

**I give a special thank you to Book Sirens and the author for the opportunity to read this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**

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