Hi all, how is your fall going? Have you broken out the boots yet, or are you stuck with 90 degree heat like I am? To make myself feel better about this icky heat, I'm gonna ramble about a book 'cause who doesn't love a good rambling. The book is The Gates of Sleep by Mercedes Lackey and is part of the Elemental Masters series. As always SPOILERS AHEAD!
Sleeping Beauty. Of all the books I've read in this series so far this is the most straight forward retelling, with the story following very closely to the original tale. That made it...I don't want to say boring...but maybe a tad to predictable for my taste as I could pretty much figure out exactly what was going to happen every step of the way. This was also one of those books that uses a lack of information to further the story. The whole thing pretty much hinged on Marina not knowing of the curse and ways to counter it. I would think with all the other things the godparents taught to her, and the way they treated her as an adult most of the time, that they would have pretty much trained her since birth to protect herself. The love story was also a wee bit forced, but it could have been worse. What I did like about this particular installment of the series is the almost minimizing of the Elemental Powers in certain characters. The godparents were essentially artists who used their powers in small, domestic ways...almost as an after thought. They are more focused on perfecting their art, no their powers and are therefore weaker then a practitioner who spends all their time practicing with their Elements. I loved that this book showed that there were other less epic ways to wield the elements and still have a great life. I liked the portrayal of both the vicar and Dr. Pike as men of gentleness, open mindedness and sensibleness. Many times, especially in Victorian era books, the church men are portrayed as either lecherous power hungry dictators, or bumbling simple comic relief. The vicar in this book was none of this AND helpful as well. Dr. Pike along with the sanitarium he ran was also awesome as the evil torturous crazy house is a trope seen way to often in Victorian era books. Learning about how a person could steal magic using the dark arts was interesting and the two different beliefs of mother and son when it came to the same rituals was cool as well. I did like that Marina could appreciate both the simple artists colony, but still want to have the modern pretty clothes and some part in society. I think this shows how most people feel, enjoying more than one type of lifestyle and liking pretty things, or wanting to be a part of something different does not make you a bad person, or even lessen your love for another way of life. Overall it was an ok book, it fits in with the series very well, but is not my favorite one. I would recommend it to anybody who likes a fairy tale retelling, the Elemental Masters series, or certain tropes turned on their head. I give this book 7 out of 10 carved cradles. Happy Reading Everybody!