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The Gates Of Sleep (2003)

The Gates of Sleep (2003)

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3.81 of 5 Votes: 3
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0756401011 (ISBN13: 9780756401016)

About book The Gates Of Sleep (2003)

This is the third book in Ms. Lackey's series of retelling fairy tales with sensible, modern women who happen to be Elemental Magicians. In this "Sleeping Beauty" adaptation, Marina Roeswood has a curse put on her in infancy and is sent away to live with three Elemental Masters, the closest friends of her parents. She grows up, as all of Ms. Lackey's female heroes do, a liberated, educated woman of the early 1900's, this time in the English countryside. Unfortunately, tragedy strikes and Marina is taken away to live with that same aunt who put the curse on her in the first place.The Fire Rose had too much plot and not enough story--The Serpent's Shadow had too much story and not enough plot. The Gates of Sleep finally strikes a balance between the two and the result is horrible. The writing is repetitive, the sentences never end. There's none of the fun love story that we got in Serpent's Shadow or even in Fire Rose--instead, Marina realizes about five pages from the end that "she must have fallen in love with him without realizing it." The plot itself is predictable and populated with shallow characters. Marina herself, supposedly the embodiment of a well-educated and liberal woman, goes contrary to many things that Ms. Lackey has spent several books establishing.And speaking of contradictions, the errors here are blinding. It's as though Ms. Lackey, as she has gotten more and more involved in her "real-world" doings with Magic (formerly spelled Magick, a contrivance now abandoned), has made up new rules that fly in the face of the old ones. It's as though Ms. Lackey made no effort to keep track of things she wrote in earlier novels before writing this one. For example, in Fire Rose Jason Cameron makes a big deal about the fact that Masters of the same Element have difficultly living together. Rose wonders, at the end, if, now that she is an Air Master she will have problems with the local Earth Master because their Elements are opposites. In Gates of Sleep, all four Elements live in harmony. The only difficulty one has with "antagonistic" Elements seems to be in sending messages.Another example--in Serpent's Shaodw, Peter's first lesson to Maya is instruction in layering sheilds, each using their respective element. In Gates of Sleep, we are told that Masters of one Element cannot instruct mages of another Element in the construction and layering of shields.Ms. Lackey, I am a long time fan of your work, but I really wish that you would pay attention to these things! It steals a lot of my enjoyment from what should be pure, unvarnished fantasy. If one insists on placing all the characters in the same world, all the characters should adhere to the rules of that world and not make them up as they go along. Have a little more fun with the characters--I loved the references to previous books, such as the presence of the Circle of Masters in London and Lady Almsley's helping Andrew Pike with his sanitorium. The only thing more fun would have been for Dr. Maya and Peter Scott to show up while Marina was in London!

This book is a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale. I've been a fan of the author's earlier works (her Valdemar series--especially the early books--was excellent). I'm a bit ambivalent about this one. The author does a vivid and convincing job of setting up the magical world, which is one of her strengths. And the first half of the book, describing how Marina (the heroine) is cursed and her life with her guardians and how she discovers and controls her magic is well done. It's only after Marina goes to live with the Maleficent equivalent that the book deteriorates. You never get a good explanation as to why Maleficent is so bitter and hateful, and the love story with Marina is completely unconvincing. (In essence, there are several interactions where the hero behaves like a boor, and then Marina suddenly realizes she's in love with him. Whatevs.) It's almost as if the author realized she hit her page limit but couldn't bear to cut any of the earlier story (understandably) and just rushed headlong into the climax and ending. I do like the Elemental world that the author has created with this retelling of fairy tales and am likely to give the series one more try, but this book, while I liked it well enough, was far from the authors' best work.

Do You like book The Gates Of Sleep (2003)?

This entry in Lackey’s Elemental Masters series is a reworking of Sleeping Beauty. Lower class artist friends of the family take the place of Sleeping Beauty’s fairy god mothers, and the wicked fairy’s place is taken by a wicked aunt who is more than she appears. Our Heroine Marina Roeswood is raised in complete ignorance of the curse that was cast upon her when she was an infant, but not of her abilities as an Elemental Master of Water. Her only contact with her parents is via letters, and as far as Marina is concerned, her “real family” is the artists who raised her.When Marina’s parents die in a tragic accident, her Aunt has her removed from the custody of her foster parents and taken to live on the family’s estate. Read this review on A Wicked Convergence of Circumstance on Blogger.Read this review on Rena's Hub of Random on WordPress.
—Rena McGee

Cursed by her evil aunt at birth, Marina is bundled up to be hidden in the Devon countryside, where she is raised in the loving, bohemian home of her three godparents. Each a talented artist and Elemental Master, they foster Marina's blossoming talents, both magical and academic, and lavish upon her the love and affection that she sorely misses from her parents. Unaware of the curse that orchestrated her strange upbringing, Marina grows into a beautiful young woman who, nonetheless, senses an evil menace hovering on the edges of her life. Her fears come suddenly to light when the premature deaths of her parents forces her out of her childhood home and away from the substitute parents she loves so much and into the dark, cold home of her new guardian, the aunt she's never met. Determined to once and for all uncover the secrets of her birth, Marina begins to probe the past and search for clues to explain the frightening sense of foreboding and threat that she feels closing in around her. Will she succeed before the dark curse that still looms over her comes to fruition? As a story in its own right and as a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty fairytale, this novel is an absorbing and entertaining read, full of very likable (and detestable!) characters. The prose flows like poetry and it's quite easy to become absorbed in Marina's story. Although there are very dark aspects of the novel, it's overall feel is one of light and magic, just what a book about a Water Mage should be! I think it is my favorite Elemental Masters book so far and is yet another wonderful example of Mercedes' Lackey's talent!

I liked the basic thrust of the story: it's a version of Sleeping Beauty, set in the Victorian era that also acknowledges magic. Marina, the main character, has been hidden with friends of the family since she was a baby to help her avoid a spell put on her by an evil aunt. She never sees her parents, though they write and send presents now and again. Her adopted family sees to her education as a Water Master, but before her 18th birthday, she learns her parents have been killed in an accident and now she is in the legal custody of her aunt. She is abruptly ripped from a family she never knew into the evil Arachnae's, where she not only fights for her life but the life of the young women who work in her aunt's pottery (a mass production facility that is poisoning the girls and the land).The biggest problem with the book is the lack of the hand of a good editor. The plot gets bogged down in a lot of details about the various Elemental forces and the mundane aspects of life in the household. This happens in a lot of the early books, but this one suffers the most from it. I'm glad I started with another book in the series. Reading this one first would likely have discouraged me from the others.

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