A Waltz of Sin and Fire series, Book One

The Crossing Gate

Young Adult - Sci-Fi
416 Pages
Reviewed on 07/23/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Asiel R. Lavie holds a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy, but writing stories was her passion since childhood. She’s a book reviewer, a World Story Book contributor, co-admin, and an official Arabic translator for The World Story Book Young Adult Edition; a project was created by the Canadian author Edge O. Erne.

Aside from The Crossing Gate, Lavie is working hard to sign with an agent and bring her work to a larger audience and readers.

When she’s not reading or writing, you might find her either in the garden playing with her kid or watching movies.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite

The Crossing Gate by Asiel R. Lavie is the first book in The Waltz of Sin and Fire series. Lenora is anxiously waiting for her third attempt going through the Crossing Gate which will allow her to enter adulthood. Her family is relying on her to succeed this time even if becoming an adult comes with various hardships but a job will give them everything they need. But Lenora never thought to be involved in a revolution that brings her up against society's control. She never could have predicted the stirring of emotions when she forms a connection with a stranger who will make her want to break the law. A grander conspiracy lies behind why she can't make it through the Crossing Gate. This allows her to explore her newfound emotions, to delve into the secrets that lurk within the kingdom, and the courage it takes to find her voice against the kingdom's control.

Asiel R. Lavie delivers a must-read that hits all the right notes with elements of the dystopian genre to find one's voice under the rule of an oppressive kingdom. The story features vivid themes and a rich voice that creates a gritty setting, a strong female lead, and sheds an important light on society. The themes explored include the transition into adulthood, the journey of adolescence, trust, betrayal, relationships, family, oppression, emotions, and the revolution against society. Each theme is important as Lenora's journey into adulthood comes with challenges, hardships, and a fight. Lavie captures the reality of a teenager coping with adulthood through the lens of a dystopian society. The kingdom is a rich setting for this story to unfold as it is rooted in a coming-of-age journey that focuses on sin, emotions, adulthood, and trust.

The story has an urgent poignancy that is reminiscent of today's society. The story has a warning of sexual assault, violence, and suicidal thoughts that may be triggering for some readers. The story also features themes of oppression, government control, starvation, death, and sacrifice. Relationships are a key element in Lenora's life as she's coming of age and discovering herself because this teaches her who to trust, how to trust her own feelings, and provides her with allies that are necessary for a revolution. Sins and emotions are portrayed in a unique way in that even your sins and feelings are under the kingdom's control. The Crossing Gate is about finding your voice in an oppressive society told through a story with strong dystopian themes that explore emotions, sacrifice, oppression, and empowerment.

K.C. Finn

A Waltz of Sin and Fire: The Crossing Gate is a work of fiction in the romance, science fiction, and interpersonal drama sub-genres, and was penned by author Asiel R. Lavie. The work is intended for the mature young adult reading audience and upward, and contains references to violence, sexual assault, and suicidal thoughts. Our protagonist is Lenora, a seventeen-year-old growing up in the tightly controlled kingdom of Elpax, who finds herself questioning the system she lives under when an attractive stranger stirs feelings in her that she’s been told she shouldn’t be able to feel. What results is a very engrossing tale of romance and societal rebellion that is sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats throughout.

Author Asiel R. Lavie has crafted a gorgeously penned and emotive work of fiction with plenty of suspense, intrigue, and depth to offer its readers. One of the features which I found particularly impressive about this piece was its attention to detail in character development, and how this bonded perfectly with the worldbuilding of Elpax and its iron-fist-velvet-glove style of control. Lenora is a relatable young woman who finds herself facing ‘the forbidden’ and trying to ‘do what’s right’ for her family despite her true feelings, which will certainly strike a chord with YA audiences everywhere. Her story of personal growth, first love, and identity is told in compassionate prose and inventive dialogue from start to finish. Overall, I would highly recommend A Waltz of Sin and Fire: The Crossing Gate to fans of dystopian sci-fi romances, and I look forward to seeing what more the series can offer in the future.

Ruffina Oserio

The Crossing Gate by Asiel R. Lavie is the first book in the Waltz of Sin and Fire series, and a great mix of coming-of-age, young romance, and young adult fantasy. Set in the imaginary island of Elpax—the Ionic Sea’s only Greek kingdom, the story follows Lenora, a seventeen-year-old girl about to go through the process of initiation into adulthood. She is determined to succeed at her third attempt at crossing, but everything goes wrong for her and she finds herself accused of trying to ignite a revolution. She must find out why she is unable to cross, even after Queen Mother Arianna herself has approved her petition. She and her family are in a tight spot now, and compelled to follow the stringent rules of her state, it becomes even more complicated for her to investigate why she is being accused and why she can’t cross. But a mysterious stranger is about to stir in her emotions she has never felt before, sending her on the path to first love. Lenora must uncover the dirty secrets of the system and fight them if she wants to see her family and her first-love safe. But does she have what it takes to beat the monsters?

The Crossing Gate by Asiel R. Lavie is a beautifully written story that features excellent prose filled with interesting dialogues and descriptions that are detailed and vivid. The atmospheric style of writing pulled me in and had me turning the pages. The characters are well-developed and readers will immediately warm to Lenora when they meet her in the story. She is worried about sin-spots appearing on her body when she crosses successfully. The internal conflict is skillfully written and I enjoyed the way the author writes about the traditions of Elpax, their idea of sin and how they communicate it to the young. But while everyone says “Glory to Elpax,” this island has its dirty secrets. There is so much at stake for Lenora, from the moment she fails to cross to falling in love. Themes of love, family, and freedom are intelligently written and the story has strong doses of adventure. The Crossing Gate features irresistible characters, an enchanting setting, an intricate plot and exceptional writing. A perfect fit for fans of YA coming-of-age and sci-fi novels.