Thirty-odd years ago Feist wrote a book called Magician, about the rise to power of a pair of young boys, Pug and Tomas. There was then a few more volumes to create an excellent trilogy, and then a whole lot more storytelling. Perhaps part of the problem Feist created for himself is that at the end of that trilogy both Pug and Tomas are powerful, well-nigh unbeatable heroes. How do you maintain the challenge across another 25 novels?
Sometimes its easy to lose track of the scope of what Feist has written here: he has covered 100+ years, multiple generations, various physical locales, and yet still keeps going, at least for another few novels yet. What he has done is in one sense unparalled.
At the Gates of Darkness is best viewed as part of a greater whole. Yes, you can argue that Feist has one trick for a villlain, and that is reveal that they are a puppet for something even bigger and darker, but on the other hand he is pretty brutal with his characters too, not afraid to kill them off, either in battle or of old age, so for all that there is a view Feist writes "soft" stories, I have to disagree. With all that given though, this entry in the saga is somewhere between pedestrian and segway: it's a light read, able to be knocked over in a few hours, and enjoyable enough, but not earthshattering, for all its teases us with a new view of demons.
The star elf brothers Gulamendis and Loramendis get a lot of screen time, as does Amirantha and warrior-priest Sabreena. All characters have interesting quirks, but are not quite as fully rounded as (say) Arutha, Jimmy the Hand, or even Erik von Darkmoor. Still there is enough here to keep you reading. In a few years time perhaps this book will seem better with some necessary set up for later volumes, or perhaps it will be revealed as a pointless digression from the main plot. If you've read Feist before, get this: its not Feist's best work, but its still OK. If you haven't read Feist, don't start here: go get Magician, read that, and keep going from there as it pleases you.