Book review: The Gates of Sleep by Mercedes Lackey

The Gates of Sleep (Elemental Masters, #3)The Gates of Sleep by Mercedes Lackey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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.

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