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Rifter #1

The Shattered Gates

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When John opens a letter addressed to his missing roommate, Kyle, he expects to find a house key, but instead he is swept into a strange realm of magic, mysticism, revolutionaries and assassins. Though he struggles to escape, John is drawn steadily closer to a fate he shares with Kyle—to wake the destroyer god, the Rifter, and shatter a world.

110 pages, ebook

First published March 1, 2011

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Ginn Hale

53 books1,250 followers

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5 stars
664 (27%)
4 stars
894 (36%)
3 stars
621 (25%)
2 stars
181 (7%)
1 star
72 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 336 reviews
Profile Image for Optimist ♰King's Wench♰.
1,770 reviews3,865 followers
September 15, 2019
9/15/19 reread

Yap I'm rereading it. Go ahead and judge me. I needed a comfort read.


This review is brought to you courtesy of Ginn Hale, who's turned my brain into silly putty.

Here I go directly into the next one. If you don't hear from me for, like, a week or two someone send a carrier pigeon and make sure you send the bill to Ginn Hale. It's the least she could do, ammiright?

And when you think of me, think of me fondly.
Profile Image for Vivian.
2,848 reviews398 followers
February 1, 2016
Talk about a leap into the Void. This is a great start to a multiverse story with a healthy or rather, lethal dose of violence. Glad I got the heads up that this would be a cliffhanger, yes, it is a serial story. Prepare, clear your reading schedule to allow for binge reading. Now, I can go straight onto the next and I've got nine more before I run out, so yay!


Thank you, SS!
Profile Image for Shelley.
395 reviews495 followers
October 4, 2013
If you are contemplating this series you would be best served to read my 5 Star spoiler free review here.

3.5 Stars


This is something different and I think I might have just stumbled onto something quite special, or is it my initial enthusiasm and the enthusiasm of my GR buddies that's influencing me? I'm just not too sure yet. The Shattered Gates is part one of a ten part serialised novel and trying to rate this book is like trying to rate the first ten percentage of a long novel - doesn't seem fair right?

But anyways ...as it stands, this one grabs your attention from the start. The synopsis has this one pretty much covered but doesn't give any real insight into what you are getting into here. So without being spoilery I'll do my best.

There are two worlds and the grey space between. Two pivotal characters from each world bound by fate and world ending prophecy – all wrapped up in mystery, magic and dark arts. So exciting! I love this premise.

Along with captivating new worlds, I’ve been introduced to some sparklingly original characters; although not yet enough of each to form a conclusive deduction on any of them. I’m approaching everyone with open eyes and dubious mistrust right now because I’m afraid to form attachments too early on. Pfft, yeah right … alas I fear I may be lost already *slumps* I am such a sucker for a scarred, tattooed hero and Kahlil (Kyle) is all that plus warrior, plus assassin, plus mysterious, plus gifted, he is just PLUS!! I’m totally mesmerised and infatuated with him.

It’s easier to remain detached from John right now. I find the 23 year old self-centred and self-righteous, a bit of a boring geek and too uptight. John is keeping his secrets close to his chest while exploring and hiding out in a new cruel world. His character intrigues, but doesn’t captivate me … yet. I have hope.

This has HUGE potential. MASSIVE! It’s only the beginning and I’m really excited to see where it all leads. The only irritations here is the new language, although I did find a glossary at the end of the book – would have helped if I’d known before I read the book! And the time lapses in Basawara – I felt I could have benefitted from John’s first impressions of this strange barren land.
Onward to Servants of the Crossed Arrows

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Profile Image for Elena.
848 reviews92 followers
July 4, 2020
You know how sometimes you’ll review a book and say something like, ‘I could see where this was going, but I enjoyed it anyway’?

This is not one of those reviews.

I was completely confused by this book and I loved every minute of it.
Every time I thought I had it kind of figured out, everything was turned upside-down and I had to start to make sense of it all over again. It sounds frustrating when I put it like that, but it was actually pretty awesome. I can’t remember the last time a book kept me so much on my toes.
I’ve got a good feeling about this series and I’m glad I’m getting to experience it as a buddy read because I can feel theories coming. And it’s not as much fun to theorize about fictional characters if you can’t make your friends laugh when you’re completely wrong. Which I will be, if this first book is anything to go by.
Profile Image for Julio Genao.
Author 9 books2,014 followers
July 18, 2014
This begins my favorite book of 2012.

...and all i can tell you is:

heezus chrahai, what a ride.
Profile Image for Laura.
1,405 reviews210 followers
June 10, 2013

I feel like yahoo-ing to the heavens! Look! Look what I found! A kickass fantasy with gorgeous writing, adventure, strong characters and mystery. Shattered Gates by Ginn Hale had me pretty much at first click with a mysterious key and a one word letter. BOOM! I was in. But throw in talking bones, witch’s blood, and gateways to other worlds…well….I’m yours forever!

“It was more like they just were there. Kind of like they could have always been here, and somehow we just never saw them before.”

I fell in love with this world and characters--John, Kyle (Kahlil), Laurie, and Bill. Four unique voices that cut their own paths across the page with humor, magic, and style. For such a short read, Ms. Hale does a fantastic job of introducing these characters with a sense of history and friendship. John’s need for control and answers played against Bill and Laurie’s laid-back mystical vibe perfectly. The trio’s chemistry was comfortable and downright hilarious at times. An odd pairing of friends at first glance, but very fun to see in action. I can’t wait for more. More details, more Kyle, more, more, more! My needy, greedy heart wants more of Kyle’s story right now. A mysterious world hopping, milkman/assassin! Haha… Needless to say, he captured my attention and sparked my imagination in a blink of an eye. Will Kyle’s past and true path ever come to light though?

"He had lied about his name, his occupation, where he had been, what he had done, how he came in, how he went out. He had lied in two languages and to every person he met. What he liked, what he hated, what he believed, what he desired, every detail had been a fabrication. He had lied enough to create an entire other man. And that man told lies as well.”

Magic, danger, secrets, and I have a feeling so much more propel this story along. This leg of the journey alone takes us from diners brimming with heavy foods in comfort to fighting to survive with weasel-broth breakfasts in a harsh snow covered landscape. And this is just the beginning! Ms. Hale already has me muttering under my breath , hunkering down in my seat, and smiling ear to ear. Her words have me swooning. Beautiful, rich, layered language and descriptions that pulled me right in. I could feel the pull of the Gray Space, smell the foods, and hear the labored breathing. No *feel* the breathing! Feel the growing fragility in my own bones. Feel the cold and fear. Every single word here ran through my head and body with joy and shivers.

I will shut up for now because I see a lot of Ginn Hale love and gushing in my future. :D I’ll pace myself. Just know she made one hell of a first impression on me.

This series is not to be missed. Don’t miss it!

I’m off to book two….

Christina—Thanks again for throwing this series in my path. I would not have tripped over it without you! 
Profile Image for XiaXia.
Author 6 books175 followers
July 5, 2020
No rating yet, because I'm too confused right now to understand what the hell is going on.
Profile Image for Martin.
754 reviews435 followers
September 15, 2018
A promising start to a gay themed fantasy series. I'm really excited.
The story left me with more question marks than answers, but I guess that's to be expected.

I'm dying to learn more about Kyle (who - you gotta excuse me - reminds me a lot of Link from the Legend of Zelda game franchise) and John.

Both guys are room mates. John is a biology student, while Kyle is... a milkman.

You can't really say more about these guys. But if there's one thing we all shall learn from this first instalment:

Do NOT open other people's mail! It might lead to the end of the world...


4 stars!

Profile Image for Meags.
2,180 reviews417 followers
July 21, 2020
3.5 Stars

A compelling start to what I’m hoping will become quite the epic high-fantasy M/M series.

This series-starter left me a bit confused at times, with more questions than answers, but I actually feel like I may have cracked one of the bigger twists already, and now I’m very intrigued for what’s to come (regardless of whether I’m on point or not)!
Profile Image for Karen.
1,859 reviews85 followers
March 14, 2016
'The Shattered Gates' is book one in Ginn Hales series 'The Rifters' and it's the beginning of a 10 book (actually it's more of a 10 novella) buddy read with the lovely M'rella. So I'm probably not going to do a review for each one more of a brief comment and then I'll attempt an overall review after the last book...or at least that's my plan.

So book one is mostly an introduction to the main characters and world building. There's no hot smexy times, but for me there was definitely some confusion at the beginning, however, the author also lays down enough groundwork to grab my interest and make me want more and to feel like this has the potential to be a really interesting if not epic tale.

It's on to book #2 'Servants of the Crossed Arrows' once I've finished my current read 'In the Middle of Somewhere' which should happen today. I've heard a lot of good things about this series so I'm definitely looking forward to reading more.
Profile Image for Linda ~ they got the mustard out! ~.
1,634 reviews112 followers
July 4, 2020
Well, I thought I knew where this was going. Then it took a sharp right turn, a series of somersaults, a corkscrew spiral and a couple of light speed jumps and now I have no idea where we are or if we're even on the same plane of existence. Which is awesome! I couldn't tell you the last time a book kept me this delightfully confused. (Though I can tell you the last time a book confused me this much in an annoying way. Looking at you, Game of Kings.)

I have plenty of theories though. Let's see if any of them pan out. 😂
Profile Image for Xing.
364 reviews238 followers
September 9, 2013
This is a reread for me, and that makes it even more difficult to review. How can I pass judgement on The Shattered Gates (TSG), when it is but one small piece of a bigger puzzle?

I will just say this: TSG contains a lot of information that foreshadows what is to come. It sets the mood for a very dark and dangerous world that is parallel, yet different from our own. A lot will happen: good things and bad things. Yet despite whatever may happen, there is much to appreciate in the complexity of such a vivid world. My advice: pay attention to details throughout the series, and pay special attention to what Kyle says/thinks in TSG. There is a lot of foreshadowing that occurs, or details that makes more sense later in the series.

I think I will keep this review short. I get emotional with this series - I remember my first time through, I had continuous heart palpitations! But this series is one I do highly recommend, but not to the weak hearted!
Profile Image for Kaje Harper.
Author 76 books2,539 followers
December 25, 2013
This is a fantasy series, one long story told in ten parts. The main characters are gay, but it is only tangentially and eventually a romance of any kind. If you need that spark in your fantasy to enjoy it, this won't be for you. If you love long, well-written fantasy that puts the adventure plot first, then consider reading this.

John is an interesting, stoic and logical man, a loner but with a core of compassion toward others. He caught my interest right away. Kyle is more of an enigma, a man from another world who is driven by a purpose that seems murky, even to him. These two will spend a lot of time apart as the series goes on, so don't expect romance to blossom here. The secondary characters are fleshed out and add a lot to the story. The world-building is detailed and complex, the writing is first-rate.

I won't review each section, since this really is one book. But when I reach the end I will put the review into the first and last volumes. As I finish each section, I find myself going to buy the next one. I am captured by this saga now.
Profile Image for Alexis Hall.
Author 51 books11.7k followers
April 27, 2016
Buddy reading with Kat.

I don't really have much to say about this one because it's obviously the first in a series. Although, weirdly, I'm not sure the serial format is entirely working for it. I mean, if this was the first 1/10 of a Very Long Fantasy novel I'd have probably felt fine about the fact it's basically asking me to be patient while we to get to the good stuff.

Whereas to me, it isn't simply enough that a serial end on a cliff-hanger. Every instalment has to be a satisfying experience on its own terms (though not necessarily a self-contained one). Basically we're talking jewels on a necklace metaphor here: you won't have a necklace without one of the stones, but every stone is really bloody shiny.

But then I also know that fantasy requires world building and that Ginn Hale is awesome.

So I'm in for the long haul.

Even though starting this series is kind of like watching the first season of Babylon 5.
Profile Image for Em.
648 reviews132 followers
May 16, 2016
I'm so excited to finally start this epic series, it seems to have taken me forever to get here. After reading Ginn's Lord of the White Hell books, I knew I was going to enjoy the Rifter saga and its off to a very impressive start. I'm moving straight onto Servants of the Crossed Arrows!

Profile Image for Niinii.
287 reviews
April 11, 2019
The time line has me guessing and is totally frustrating. I hope it'll get sorted out soon enough. 😤
Profile Image for Sheri.
1,373 reviews154 followers
November 18, 2017
Magnetic mystery. Considerable confusion. Freaky fantasy.

Let me attempt to clear the mud in my head and tell you what I think has occurred in this opening peek into the Rifter.
A pair of roommates barely cross paths and virtually know nothing about the other. John is scrimping to get by and panics when his roommate, Kyle, disappears after an awkward chance encounter. Assuming Kyle has skipped town, he snoops into his mail and stumbles across a mysterious key. This key is significant as well as the sole command attached to it.

What do I know about John?
Not much. He’s a young college student that I think is out of the closet. He has a couple of close quirky friends that seem to be important somehow. He is at ease smack dab in the middle of nowhere with no one.

What do I know about Kyle (Kahlil)?
Even less. An allusive, chilling warrior weaving a web of lies. Thrown between two worlds, he hoards secrets among secrets.

What you should know before you begin…
First of all, this is just an intro. A gorgeous world-building woven complexity of an intro to a lengthy series.
Second, you will not understand some of the dialogue. Unless your native tongue is Basawar that is.
Third, you will wrap up this installment with questions, lots and lots of questions.
If you can live with any or all of those, I highly recommend taking the plunge.
I have strong feeling it’s going to be one hell of a ride.

*3.5 magical-mystifying-muddled stars*

Profile Image for M.
963 reviews112 followers
April 21, 2012
The word "epic" has been bandied about a lot lately. It's become a pop culture joke, lost its actual meaning in the overuse. I don't really like to use it. So, it has been ages since I felt the need to describe a thing as "epic". But by the gods of good books, this story was EPIC. Really, truly, out-of-the-Oxford-dictionary epic. I read the blurb and I kind of thought it might be a bit of a fantasy/comedy thing. Like, "haha, his roommate is a weirdo from another world". Oh boy, was I wrong. This series is seriously dark and horrifying. And it's so good I could weep. It has this amazing, surprising, sweeping quality that just sort of sucks you in and doesn't let up until the very end. I feel like I've run a marathon. I paid 30 US dollars for the entire series at Weightlessbooks.com (and read it all in 2 weeks), and because of the awful exchange rate in my country, it ended up being a shitload of money, and I would gladly pay it a 100 times over.
Profile Image for Mel.
648 reviews78 followers
June 12, 2016
OMG, I fucking love this book and this series. What I read, is just mind-blowingly good. Such a great fantasy world building, a plot that is so complicated and intriguing, you simply can't stop reading. Such wonderful characters.

I'm dying to know more, to read on.

But I won't.

In book 3, I ran into one of my hard limits: oppressive religion/cults/whatever. For personal reasons, I can't deal with that.

I asked a friend and now I know that this isn't a one-time thing in this series. I can't put myself through that, and while I'm sad I won't get to the end, I'm feeling relief and peace about my decision.

This book is absolutely fantastic, and you really should give it a go—as long as you're unlike me ;-)
863 reviews231 followers
December 30, 2015

I've been told that it takes a few books to get into this series.

But, nope...it took but a few chapters for me to get hooked. Kyle/Kahlil/whoever else you are...is my jam.


Anyone who's put off reading this for a rainy day...STOP F'ING WAITING! Do not delay. I didn't think it would be for me. I don't even like anything magic'y/fantasy'y...and I'm obsessed already. The world building is CRAZY and the hints to what's to come too tempting.

And whatever is gonna happen between John and Kyle in the future...I just sense I am gonna be RUINED by it by the end. Delicious anticipation.

I can't wait. On to book 2...
Profile Image for ⚣Michaelle⚣.
3,672 reviews205 followers
December 12, 2017
4.5 Stars

First off, I have no idea why this book isn't rated higher. No, scratch that, I think it's because this first installment only sets up the story. But what a story it is!

The world-building & characterization are amazing and I say this having only the most tenuous grasp of what might be going on. Definitely gotta find a way to work the next one into a challenge because I'm dying to figure it out for sure.

I've read other stories by Ginn Hale but honestly? This one blows those out of the water...and I'm only 1/10th of the way in. According to most reviews it only gets better. How in the hell is that even possible?
Profile Image for Christina.
754 reviews123 followers
May 16, 2013
Terrific start! This book really packs a punch for being so short. It has great world-building and sucked me in right away. I enjoyed the first half a bit more than the second. My only complaint is that I wanted to see what happened when John and friends first got to Basawar. A lot of time elapses at this point and we don't get to see firsthand how they adapted.
Profile Image for Eugenia.
1,675 reviews256 followers
June 2, 2022
I really enjoyed this novella! 3.5 Stars!

A great start to a fantasy series!
Two worlds
One human, one not
Magic lives in both
Our hero finds himself trapped in a foreign land
How will he get home?

I have to keep reading to find out!
Profile Image for Dreamer.
1,802 reviews129 followers
November 12, 2014
Excellent beginning to this epic fantasy. Always been a sucker for characters passing through gateways to other worlds!

Graduate student John has a mysterious room-mate Kyle who is actually from the world of Basawar. John opens a letter for Kyle (Kahlil) and comes into possession of a key to this other world.

'(Kahlil) had lied about his name, his occupation, where he had been, what he had done, how he came in, how he went out. He had lied in two languages and to every person he met. What he liked, what he hated, what he believed, what he desired, every detail had been a fabrication. He had lied enough to create an entire other man. And that man told lies as well.'
Profile Image for Daniel.
38 reviews11 followers
November 30, 2016
*reading the users' reviews*
the plot's not focused on the romance
there's no penis
there's no sex


*me reading the thing*
the plot is mindblowing
the characters are smart, psychologically interesting, fascinating, sexy
not missing the sex
maybe the penis but that's my hormones' fault


[stay tuned for the casting]
Displaying 1 - 30 of 336 reviews

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