• House of Blades

  • The Traveler's Gate Trilogy, Volume 1
  • By: Will Wight
  • Narrated by: Travis Baldree
  • Length: 11 hrs and 30 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (3,534 ratings)

Publisher's Summary

Simon can only watch, helpless, as his family is killed and his friends captured by enemy Travelers—men and women who can summon mystical powers from otherworldly Territories. To top it off, another young man from Simon's village discovers that he's a savior prophesied to destroy evil and save the realm.

Prophecy has nothing to say about Simon. He has no special powers, no magical weapons, and no guarantee that he'll survive. But he sets off anyway, alone, to gain the power he needs to oppose the Travelers and topple their ruthless Overlord. It may not be his destiny, but Simon's determined to rescue his fellow villagers from certain death.

Because who cares about prophecy, really?

©2013 Hidden Gnome Publishing (P)2022 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about House of Blades

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Even better now!

I first read House of Blades in 2013 when it was released. Then when it became an audiobook a few years later read by the author, Will Wight, I immediately listened. And I’ve done that several times since. But this version by Travis Baldree is just WAY BETTER! I’ve always loved the story and now Travis brings the characters to an entirely new level. Highly recommend!

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

The main character is boring and pathetic but wait

There's more.

this is all spoilers. tldr is that the main character is pathetic, the story is a little slow at the beginning and a lot, I'd say most of the other characters are flat and boring.


I came to this series after cradle, seeing that the narration had just been redone. the Cradle books aren't the best books in the world but I'd honestly be lying if I said I didn't love listening to them. On one hand I don't want to just compare this to Cradle and on the other hand, how can you not? Simon is like the hater version of his Cradle self. He's weak and ignorant and nothing special and there's nothing wrong with those things in a vacuum. He's also a resentful coward who maligns anyone who has the traits he wants. He's always asking himself what he's supposed to do or say. Then he gets mad and critical of other people for stepping up and doing or saying something since he won't. The things they aren't perfect but if everyone was like Simon we'd all just be frozen and staring at each other every time anything happened It seems like he is just jealous of Allen because people like Allen? Al doesn't come off as the coolest guy in the world early on but he definitely doesn't seem to be as bad as Simon makes him out to be. Allen just manifested magic powers for the first time and shortly after tried to save Simons mom and Simons response was basically "what makes him think he's so cool". I don't know, magic powers and courage, the traits you want the most? I'd be fine with this if it just seemed like Simon just a whiney crybaby but it honestly just feels like we're supposed to like and agree with him. early on he asks himself "who put her in charge?" uuuuh I don't know man but you sure as heck aren't doing anything. I also hate the family. I think this is supposed to be like a moral dilemma but it just seems pretty cut and dry that while they didn't necessarily deserve to die, but they weren't interesting or likeable enough that I'd want to keep them around. They talk to Simon like he's the bad guy or the picture is painted as both sides doing the same thing. But no, the police beating and starving and abducting people is actually not like what Simon did. Simon actually just saved his people. It wasn't his job and he was massively outnumbered. They never acknowledge that doing those things to his people were wrong, but they do acknowledge the families stuff being stolen? There's just so much stuff that happens that the character should care about and speak up about but he doesn't even acknowledge a lot of it. So yeah the family and their old soldier are actually much worse than Simon and I hate the book pretend it's a conversation. I'm glad I didn't find these before Cradle because I probably wouldn't have even tried them. Maybe in the follow ups the main character will stick up for the very justifiable decisions he made but the feeble attempts in the first book just led to frustration. Frustration was the general vibe of my experience. I didn't want Unsouled 2.0 but even more than that I didn't want Unsouled 0.5. All of these things made it hard to enjoy anything else. Simon is an unlikable hater who needs to learn to appreciate other people (other than the virtual slavers he made his roommates) and it sucked joy out of the book

I liked a lot of the fight scenes. I enjoyed a lot about Malachi. I didn't like Allen very much because he was boring but his dog and powers are cool.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting concepts but poor execution

I waited until I finished all 3 books of the trilogy before writing this review but don't worry, I will not be spoiling any of the story. This review will mostly cover the narrator's performance, character development, and story pacing.

First, let's get the easy part out of the way. Travis Baldree did a wonderful performance. Travis didn't just read the words. He was the characters. You can tell when the characters were angry, sad, happy, or exasperated based on the tones he used. It really enables the listeners to be engross in the story. But it's a shame the story itself was somewhat lacking and didn't give Travis the chance to display his full range. For that, see the Cradle series written by the same author and also narrated by Travis.

I became a Will Wight fan because of his Cradle series. I will die on any hill defending its honor as one of the best fantasy/progression series out there. But from my understanding, Traveler's Gate was Will Wight's first published work and it shows... painfully. His trademark fast-paced actions are there but I would argue, the events in Traveler's Gate are happening TOO fast.

It felt like character development and world building were sacrificed to keep up with the relentless pacing of the main story. I wished Will had slow down the story a bit and flesh out his characters or settings a bit more. Then I might have felt a bit more invested in his characters/world. Their trials and tribulations, success and failures, survival and death would have made a deeper impact on me. And it wasn't just the connection between reader and characters that suffered. The relationship between the characters themselves just felt so... superficial.

But it wasn't all bad. As a first effort, I thought Will created a world filled with enough history and lore to make it interesting. While reading the books, I kept switching side on who the good and bad guys actually were. Will did a great job throwing enough doubts into each camp to make you wonder.

All in all, Will crafted an appealing story in spite of his one-dimensional characters. He definitely improved as a writer in latter series while still keeping the fast-paced that he loves so much.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Whatever

Its overall good some moments and decisions are annoying but its whatever though. .

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

nothing is earned, and MC is too moralistic

To be brief, the main charcter(mc) never earns anything at all. He continues to either lose dramatically and then immediately get a huge reward, or he ends up doing almost nothing and gets a small reward. I don't think there is really one time where he actually earns something through his own power or effort.

furthermore, he tends to be way too stingy about morals. Its always "no! not the children!" or "I can't kill them, i just can't!". its all rather melodramatic and annoying.


I believe this is one of wills earlier books but idk. He's a great auther most of the time. This one just didn't do it for me.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Anime derived - badly edited

There's a lot to like here. The author has some good ideas and the twists and turns are enjoyable, however... The story seems very anime-derived and cliched. Giant swords, talking dolls and magical animals that appear from nowhere are part-and-parcel of anime stories and they're here in abundance, along with beheadings and face-meltings. There's a coming to age story here (multiple ones), but it seemingly takes place over weeks. This requires suspension of disbelief which is acceptable in a visual medium, but less so in a written/read story.
Also problematic are issues where we're told a character is in one position but then in the very next sentence is doing something else. It's quite jarring, for instance, when a character has been said to have fallen down, or sat down, to have them running in the very next sentence. I found myself exasperated several times listening to the story asking "how?!" This book would have been better with additional editing.
This said, there's a nugget of good here. As the book goes on, the writing seems to get better. Events logically follow one-another where they didn't in the early chapters. Toward the end I was very interested in the story and looking for answers. The narration is top notch with the different genders being well performed. I'll probably listen to other books narrated by Mr. Baldree because of that.
I'm not sure I'll listen to the next book, I listened to this one because it was available through Audible originals.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

irritating characters

Simon is incompetent and annoying for no reason, seems to not have any realistic emotional burden from the deaths of his parents for some reason and is hesitant and uncertain for 90% of the book.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Love this duo

Way better after the narration change. I love Will Wight but he definitely sped through his book and I felt like I had to rewind a lot. Now the characters feel separate and have personality’s more than just names from the narration alone, not including the story. If you enjoy this first book it only gets more action packed and the characters develop more .If you’re worried about that for some reason. Will Wight is definitely one if not not my favorite author.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Interesting ideas and a great narrator.

I loved this book and it’s sequels with their original narration by the author. The story has an interesting magic system and I like the way the characters are written. The addition of Travis as the narrator makes it even better, he’s one of the best I’ve encountered.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Entertaining Author-- VERY Light Reading

These books are basically like a written video game, complete with monster-filled dungeons that end in a prize/reward/treasure. I listen to them while jogging, doing chores, etc, when I just want entertainment to pass the time. This is definitely not good literature and the character development is awful, but the books are fun and the plot moves right along. Listen to them if you like all the "NPC" books, if you are a gamer, or if you just need something fun/stupid to pass the time. Definitely don't listen if you dislike fighting, battles, and basically leveling up. All the Will Wight books are like this, so listen to his books if you like the genera.

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  • AllOneWord
  • 06-04-22

Really good!

I like the spin on classic fantasy- feels like it has something new and interesting to it so it’s well worth a read for long time fantasy fans who’ve seen it all. I especially like the idea of territories as a source of power and the doll advisors are probably the best bit. Basically it’s got loads of good ideas.

It’s also a story where your kinda on the side of the bad guys (I know I am) but the main character isn’t too annoying.

Bit of a problem with the audio but you get used to it.

Hey it’s free check it out!

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Fabio
  • 08-04-22

Very good and with good potential

The power progression is very nice, I also like the MC and how he is developed, there are a few but big plot holes here and there like SPOILER...

How he forgot to ask XXX why the F. XXX helped Kill 8 people of his village or why did not try to help, I would accept an excuse if the topic was presented but they convinetly never talk about it.

Still a good story.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Samwel
  • 07-29-22

slow start but good fantasy all rounder!

Great listen! The concept of magic is a nice twist which makes the fighting a bit more dynamic, but a little over done with stating the MC is powered up every time he is.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-14-22

Love it

Great entertainment throughout, main reason I got this was cos I read cradle series by Will Wight & it was amazing plus the fact Travis Baldree was on narration, he is a genius at voicing the various characters..will defo complete this series

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Martin D.
  • 07-14-22

Could not finish this

Tried to get into this. Strange story, little backstory and quite confusing.
The performance was OK, the story hard to follow.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • ciara donovan
  • 07-08-22

Really enjoyed this. Very unexpected!

Had low expectations but this was great. Really easy listening and very original story, great characters and looking forward to the next book in the series

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sergey Kofman
  • 07-04-22

A hidden gem

A really well fleshed out world and gripping story. Did not expect it from a free series and definitely worth checking out

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Paul
  • 07-02-22

Fantasy - with large gaps but entertaining

Alan - where is his story and training!
Simon - couldn’t wield a sword and then became invincible!
Kai - need more info
Leah - need book 2!

You could do a lot worse than this book. The narration is at first, painful… but hang it there, it becomes bearable and almost enjoyable!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Saul Somerville
  • 06-28-22

Brilliant!

What a cracking listen. Absolutely action packed start to end! I cannot wait to listen to book two.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-23-22

Subverting tropes into brilliance.

When starting this book I had my doubts, however, these were unfounded. The narration by Baldree is excellent on all counts and the narrative itself is amazing.

As stated in the blurb this triolgy doesn't follow the chosen one, it follows Simon (a random bloke with a tragic backstory). Though out this book Simon grows as a character, not only in strength like so many other series but in compassion and wit - if even only a little.

The supporting cast is great and are explored as well growing (though not always positively) throughout the series.

Very recommended but readers should be fore warned that they will likely want to hit Alan (the chosen one) in more than a few choice scenes...

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-19-22

amazing

the best audio book I have listened to for free on this app. I would happily pay for it. I have now listened to all 3 books and I am just so impressed it's not funny. give it a go you won't regret it

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Toast
  • 07-09-22

Enjoyable high fantasy

Interesting concept, good story and I liked that it followed the story of the secondary character. The high fantasy elements worked well and the consequences of powers worked well in the story.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-04-22

Fun, different

Great fantasy read swords and magic. Bit of coming of age but doesn't over do it.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Peita Ball
  • 06-05-22

A decent story and compelling

Compelling enough to pick up the second title in the series.
Good narration is helping the story along...