The Morgaine Trilogy (tetralogy now, I suppose), was one of the most innovative, refreshing and immersive works when first published. Aside from the universe itself, with its mysterious (even mythic) Qual, Gates, and isolated worlds, the development of the relationship between Vanye and Morgaine kept me reading each new book in the series.
However, just as some movies or books released with a "director's cut" or "original, unedited" text are actually worse than the edited original published version, so "Exile's Gate" is more of the same, but without significantly new material to make it stand out on its own.
As a longtime fan (since 1979, "Hestia") of Cherry, I tend to buy many of her books just because her name is on the cover, but I must admit I feel that there is one fundamental flaw to her writing, in that she seems to find it difficult to portray strong male characters. Her female leads are all one could hope for, and more (Morgaine, Chanur) I would argue that it is common for writers to portray characters of their own gender better than those of the other sex, but I must say that as a multiple Hugo winner, I expect her to do better at this.
I felt that in Exile's Gate, Cherry develops the relationship between Morgaine and Vanye, and strengthens Vanye's character, at the cost of weakening the character of Morgaine. I believe one reason why so many readers are attracted to her character is that she's a Maid of Steel, who realizes that no matter how great the price she and others must pay, the Gates must be closed, and therefore lets nothing stand in her way of that objective; she's the strong female lead that seems all but absent from so many books written by men. It therefore is disappointing that Morgaine should start to display the weakness that would prevent her from pursuing her mission at all costs--unless she expects Vanye to take over from her (though, I thought that would only occur if she were to die prematurely, not because she surrendered in the face of a never-ending ride). I'm sorry, but the Morgaine _I_ know would fight to the end, no matter the length of the journey. Perhaps this is unrealistic, but I don't believe so--and I don't think it says much for Vanye's character, if he can only increase his character at the cost of the stature of his partner.
In conclusion, I very much enjoy the series, and enjoyed this book as well (being more of the same is not necessarily a bad thing), but I hope Cherry does more to make her characters not only flesh and blood (she certainly has that down pat) but strong in their own way--both women AND men.