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The Gates of Sleep: Elemental Masters #2 Mass Market Paperback – 4 Feb 2008

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Daw Books; Reprint edition (4 Feb. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756401011
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756401016
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 3.1 x 17 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 883,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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BIRDS twittered in the rose bushes outside the old-fashioned diamond-paned windows. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 14 Oct. 2002
Format: Hardcover
An excellent new addition to the world of, 'The Fire Rose' and 'The Serpents Shadow.'
All these stories are extremly loosly based on popular fairy tales, although you do have to look quite hard to find the links.
The Gates of Sleep is set in a somewhat alternative Victorian Time, where some people have a link to a particular element such as Water. This enables them to command mythical creatures linked to that element and to perform magical feats.
Some of the plot features parallel 'Sleeping Beauty,' with a curse being cast on the main character which is eventually triggered. However the inclusion of the Arts and Crafts Movement, Factory conditions and the 'prince' who is in fact a doctor give it a very different slant.
Overall a fantastic book, as are the other two. I eagerly await the next one.
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By gegi on 9 July 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is attempt at reframing 'Sleeping Beauty' within the setting of industrial England and Mercedes Lackey's Elemental Masters series. However, the plot just doesn't work, and is completely absent for large stretches of the book, which are instead busy talking about how wonderful it is to be an Elemental Master and how misguided everyone else is.

The villain is known from the very beginning of the book (no suspense) but WHY she does what she does is completely unknown to the very end. Her schemes simply make no sense. If she has the power to murder powerful magicians at a whim, why does she instead waste power on a complicated curse for a helpless infant, and then seem unable to actually carry out that curse until the writer realised the book was almost over and it had better get on with the plot? What was the point of cursing her anyway? What was she doing with all her supposed power?

No one really carries out any plans - when the final crisis comes, it is quickly solved without us having to wonder about how, and all the actions taken by characters earlier in the story are completely meaningless. And then we're suddenly told two characters who have barely interacted are in love and are going to get married.

About all you can draw from this story is that pottery factories are bad.
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By J. Quah on 28 April 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I agree with the review by gegi on 9 July 2009 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0756401011/ref=cm_cr_ryp_prd_img_sol_10). I don't think there was enough time spent developing the characters in this book.The plot seems to have taken a backseat in favour of long rambling descriptions of scenery and I was left with too many unanswered questions at the end. The turn of events did not make much sense, especially the battle scenes and sudden love interest which felt like a 'quick-fix' to end the story.

I had hoped that this book would follow in the footsteps of The Serpents Shadow (which I really enjoyed!), but was slightly disappointed when I finally closed the book. All the 'good' characters seem too good to be true (to the point where Marina is slightly annoying) and the 'bad' characters are too predictable. I hope the rest of the Elemental series are better books than this one!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
She can do no wrong in my eyes. As an aspiring writer myself she is a brilliant role model. Once again she has produced a book I was loth to put down till I'd read it from cover to cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 80 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
A Little Jewel 3 May 2002
By Walt Boyes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You must realize that a 4 star Lackey book is better than 90% of the rest of what's out there. And this book is only a 4 star book in comparison with the previous one in this loose series, "The Serpent's Shadow."
While that book is a genuine 5 star masterpiece, "The Gates of Sleep" is a little jewel. Don't let this confuse you. It is quietly full of marvelous things, like the description of the faun at the shrine of Pan in the garden, or the description of Marina's bedroom frescoes.
This loose series of books is based on fairy tales...this one is Sleeping Beauty, the last one was Snow White, and the previous one to that was Beauty and the Beast. But Lackey hasn't done a "retelling" rather she has written a terrific story using the plot of the fairy story.
The "environmentalism" in the story feels just a tad too "modern" to be Victorian England, and the character of Marina becomes a little too grown up a little too fast without fully developing her, and the ending is a bit abrupt, even though the fairy story is, too.
But these are minor quibbles, small kvetches.
The characters are drawn well, three-dimensional, and realistic, even the villains.
This book keeps Mercedes Lackey on my must-buy list.
Bananaslug. at Baen's Bar
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
a rehash of certain plot ideas but still enjoyable 9 April 2002
By tregatt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
"Gates of Sleep" had more of a fairy-tale feel to it than "Serpent's Shadow;" and while I did like this novel quite a bit (and really enjoyed the charming twist that Mercedes Lackey put on the Sleeping Beauty motif, esp since in Lackey's version it is Sleeping Beauty/Marina who has the final showdown with the Wicked Fairy Godmother/Arachane), I did not find this book to be quite as compelling as "Serpent's Shadow." Part of the reason was that while Marina is intelligent and canny and likable, she seemed incredibly bland in comparison to Maya (the heroine of "Serpent's Shadow). Another problem I had with "Gates of Sleep" was that the character of Arachne was just not 'fleshed' out enough -- why did she hate her family so much? Was it because she was born without any powers? Had her family treated her differently? Why did she marry so unsuitably? (and why was her husband considered unsuitable?) And how did she come by her dark powers? I wanted proper answers, and didn't find any. Afterall in "Serpent's Shadow" we know why the aunt carries out a virtual vendetta against her brother-in-law and her niece. And I was quite disappointed that Mercedes Lackey did not fill in the blanks (as it were) with "Gates of Sleep." Another thing I couldn't figure out was why, given that Marina had been filled in the fact that there was a curse placed on her, no one saw fit to tell her that it was Arachne who cursed her? The omission seemed a little foolish to me.
Except for that, this book is a rather enjoyable read. Most of the characters (except for Arachne) were well 'fleshed' out, esp that of Marina's. And while (as another reviewer pointed out) there is really not that much variation in theme or plot-ideas between "Serpent's Shadow" and "Gates of Sleep," this was still a rather fun read. The call for female suffrage is again visited (as it was in "Serpent's Shadow) and I esp liked the socio-historical bits that dealt with plight of factory workers and the effects of lead poisoning. Will I read another elemental magic novel by Mercedes Lackey? Definitely. But I do hope that there is more of a variation in plotting next time.
32 of 40 people found the following review helpful
A "lacking" tale from Lackey 12 Jun. 2002
By M. Allegra - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Let's keep this simple: Ms. Lackey is one of my favorite writers - this is NOT one of my favorite books. The FireLord and Serpent's Shadow were well-crafted novels with compelling characters. Their basis in well-known fairy tales was more implied than plotted point by point. The GATES OF SLEEP has neither of these strengths. The story follows the fairy tale slavishly through most of the book, along with all of a folk tale's plot weaknesses. The character of Marina (I'm amazed she wasn't call Rose or Aurora.)is too air-headed and passive through most of the book to be appealing to me. The relationship with her 'prince' is thin, very thin, almost non-existant thin. This is fine for a fairy tale but not a fantasy novel. Admiration turns to love for the hero all too quickly and I can't recall when or why Marina loves him. The fact that he is an elemental master is so serendipitous as to be a very silly plot device. Are Elemental Masters behind every bush and shrub in England? The "evil fairy" was the greatest disappointment because the character showed the most promise. A female 19th century industrialist destroying her work force for the power they can provide her?!? What an opportunity for a new kind of evil! But Lackey fails to capitalize on a great concept and we never really understand why or entirely how "Madame" commits her crimes. Marina's parents and the "good fairies" are amiable non-entities, for all their supposed powers. Instead of confronting "Madame" with her curse and enlisting the other Masters in the effort, their only response is to hide the poor child away. Okay for a fairy tale but this is unlikely in the Elemental Master universe that Lackey has created up to this book. Wait for the paperback or buy this used from other disgruntled readers if you must have it.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The Gates of Sleep 13 April 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
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!
I give it 2 stars simply because I am a long-time fan. Loyalty has to count for something.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Undines and Sylphs and Fauns--Oh My! 18 July 2002
By Virginia Lore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Mercedes Lackey uses the tale of Sleeping Beauty as a jumping-off point for The Gates of Sleep, the story of Marina, an elemental mage of water and her coming-of-age in Edwardian Cornwall and Devon. As in The Fire Rose (set in turn-of-the-century San Francisco) and The Serpent's Shadow (Victorian London), mages and Masters of Earth, Fire, Water, and Air battle against ceremonial magicians of the Left-Hand path, with fairy-tale-esque results. It's no surprise to anyone that Evil is conquered by Good in a Lackey novel--the author's artistry is in the drawing of identifiable characters in very realistic settings. Historical details provide such down-to-earth context for the appearance of undines, sylphs, fauns and the like that the whole story becomes believable.
One of Lackey's best--an absorbing read.
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