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5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!
Misty did it yet again with this book. I'm a huge fan of hers, and I have a shelf in my room that can easily be considered a shrine to her. She takes a classic story and creates something that I would not have expected. It is definitely worth anyone's time to read, I only wish there was more!
Published on Nov. 12 2002 by Jen Durelin

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3.0 out of 5 stars Plot Devices
Overall the novel was an adequate addition to the many Sleeping Beauty retellings available today. The majority of the pages were devoted to her life before the curse took affect, giving her a little more depth, however the end was a hastily crafted and dissapointing plot device. To 'spoil' the already well known tale, Sleeping Beauty falls in love with her Prince in...
Published on June 25 2003 by Elizabeth Norris


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1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible book!, April 20 2004
By 
This review is from: Elemental Masters #2 Gates Of Sleep (Mass Market Paperback)
The Gates of Sleep by Mercedes Lackey is a fantasy re-telling of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale. It takes place, not in a fairy land or an alternate universe, but in England during the mid-1800's.
The premise was that Elemental Magic was practiced secretly by those with the gift--seeing Undines and Fauns and the like--while living alongside non-magical folk, impervious to it. (Yes, I felt there was a blatant borrowing of Harry Potter-isms in the 2002 novel.)
Marina, our Sleeping Beauty, has a curse cast on her at her christening and is shuffled off to other Elemental Magicians to protect her until her 18th birthday. If she lives that long, the curse would return to it's castor, her aunt, who (unbeknownst to Marina) practices the evil opposite of Elemental Magic.
The first hundred pages were truly dull, detailing her every day life and trying, unsuccessfully, to make the Elemental Magic believable. It picked up a bit with the death of Marina's parents, her introduction to her aunt and the inclusion of pottery factories.
I was quite unimpressed with this novel on the whole, and wouldn't have finished it had it not been recommended by a librarian whose tastes I trust. Other reviews I have seen mention that this is NOT Lackey's finest work, so I may try the other one that was also recommended. Regardless, this one should not be on anyone's "to be read" list.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Certainly not the best version of Sleeping Beauty, Feb. 23 2004
By 
This review is from: Elemental Masters #2 Gates Of Sleep (Mass Market Paperback)
(Well, I did read this one after I'd already read Robin McKinley's version, and there isn't really any comparison.)
The background story was good, and all the sylphs and undines were fascinating. The portrayal of Victorian life was very well done.
However, most of the characters, (excluding Sebastian and Elizabeth) were terribly shallow. Marina herself was rather insipid, and the bad guys were pitiful. The first third of the novel was good, but then after she was kidnapped by Arachne hardly anything of any importance happened until the ending. There was no love story between Andrew and Marina until right at the end, where they up and decided, "Oh, I love you, let's get married!"
This was the first Mercedes Lackey book I ever read, so I gave her another chance and bought The Fairy Godmother.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The best Elemental Masters book so far (out of 3), Oct. 14 2003
By 
This review is from: Elemental Masters #2 Gates Of Sleep (Mass Market Paperback)
I found this the best-written of all the Elemental Masters books, somehow. The ending didn't seem as rushed and as un-satisfying as the others, and there was a feeling of more meat to it.
I didn't mind the excessive descriptions of clothing so much as it's typical of historical romances, but it did seem rather untypical of Marina as painted in the first half of the book.
Marina didn't appear one-dimensional to me, though it seemed weird that someone supposedly intelligent couldn't have found out about her curse earlier. How come she didn't ask her parents?
How come she didn't bother to find out more about the enemies her guardians had? And even if her guardians didn't want to mention Arachne, they could have asked her to beware of evil relatives.
The book did fall apart for me towards the end: it would have been nice to flesh out the romance; it wasn't really clear why Arachne and Reggie needed Marina at all - it wasn't as if, Sleeping Beauty style, Arachne wanted revenge for the way she'd been treated by her family; and it didn't make any sense for Marina's parents to appear and tell her all. For that matter, why couldn't Marina's guardians have made more of an effort to get in touch with her, especially since they thought Arachne didn't have any magic?
It'd be nice if, romance-style, Thomas and Eleanor could have their own story told. Many of the Sensitives mentioned at the sanitarium could have their own stories too.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Superficial!, Sept. 14 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Elemental Masters #2 Gates Of Sleep (Mass Market Paperback)
I have read many of Mercedes Lackey's books, and all of the previous fairy tale rewrites that she has done. This is not a very good book, compared to her others. There is an obligatory romance at the end, but it is forced, it FEELS obligatory, all developed within a few pages. The villains are badly written, in the ideas behind their crimes and even, a bit, in their own personalities. The heroine described in the early part of the book (age, upbringing, etc.) does not fit at all with the facets of the personality of that character as actually described in the writing, growing more and more so as the book goes on. Moreover, almost all of the characters are superficial in this way, or not developed at all. Things like the reason why a specific character does something or something happens do not satisfy the logic of anyone beyond an eight-year-old.
Some of the things in this book are good, I will give you that. The setting is well researched, to my mind. The story does hang together, if somewhat loosely, it is only if you start to question the story or think about it a bit that it falls apart. If you're looking for a quick read for the plane, this book is fine, although you could definitely make better choices. All in all, if you feel that you want to read this book, I would suggest that you get it from a library, because it doesn't really have that much to offer that you would want to own and re-read it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars What happened?, Aug. 22 2003
By 
This review is from: Gates Of Sleep (Hardcover)
I have to give this 4 stars (3.5 would have been perfect) just because I enjoyed the first two thirds of the book so much. A lot of time is devoted to setting up the story and fleshing out the characters, AND THEN...? What? The last third or so felt hastily tacked on; the romance very contrived and not believable at all. The characters in the last chapters were very flat. I was left feeling like this is a story that should have gone on for maybe another book. The ending needed time to develop properly. Perhaps sticking to the fairy tale formula was too confining, though it's been done before with much success and I certainly disagree that the whole Sleeping Beauty tale has been overdone. Let's just say that this one must have been rushed to publication before it was ready and it's too bad, because it was a good, strong story. I still enjoyed it and recommend it to fans of this author, though perhaps not to others. Don't start reading Lackey with this book; it's not her best.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another new take on an old fairy tale, Aug. 8 2003
This review is from: Gates Of Sleep (Hardcover)
I enjoy reading new takes on fairy tales. Lackey has done a wonderful job on Swan Lake (The Black Swan), and Beauty and the Beast (Fire Rose). The Gates of Sleep however is not as well done, but a good read nonetheless.
The main problem I have with this book is the pace of the love story. Dr. Andrew falls for Marina far too quickly. I would also have liked to see more about her Guardians. Lackey creates such wonderful personalities for them and then just cuts them off.
The environmentalist thread thrown in the soup was an interesting take but not particularly neccessary.
All in all, it's not a bad read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Plot Devices, June 25 2003
By 
Elizabeth Norris (Roswell, GA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Elemental Masters #2 Gates Of Sleep (Mass Market Paperback)
Overall the novel was an adequate addition to the many Sleeping Beauty retellings available today. The majority of the pages were devoted to her life before the curse took affect, giving her a little more depth, however the end was a hastily crafted and dissapointing plot device. To 'spoil' the already well known tale, Sleeping Beauty falls in love with her Prince in the last twenty pages of the book, and they live happily ever after. I can only wonder if Lackey had a page limit with her publishers.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not terrible, but not good either, June 9 2003
By 
Barb Caffrey "writer-for-hire" (In a Midwest State (of mind), USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Elemental Masters #2 Gates Of Sleep (Mass Market Paperback)
"The Gates of Sleep" was a highly disappointing novel.
I've read almost everything else Ms. Lackey, with and without her husband Larry Dixon, has put out. The novels are almost always fresh, involving, funny, incisive, and interesting.
This tried to be those, but fell flat.
Perhaps it's due to the subject matter. "Sleeping Beauty" is tough to retell; setting it in late 19th Century England might be involving and interesting in and of itself, but the romance must be believable. And yet, this one wasn't; Marina should have fallen in love with the Vicar, not the Doctor, if she had to fall in love with anyone at all.
Some other reviewers have pointed out the plot holes and consistency errors from other Elemental Masters novels. I don't see the need to go into them again.
I will say that the only reason this book even gets two stars is because of how well Ms. Lackey drew Margherita, her husband Sebastian, and her brother Thomas. Those three carried the first half of the book, and I really liked it while they were involved.
Then, after they left, I was left with Marina -- someone who supposedly loves fashion but hates corsets, and dwells on every single dress she owns or sees. And I'm supposed to like her? She seemed rather shallow at best; not stupid, precisely, but shallow. Well-meaning but ignorant, perhaps.
Then, the scene that sets up her "romance" with Dr. Andrew was very contrived, too. A girl, suffering from lead poisoning, gets away from Dr. Andrew's sanitarium/hospital, and Marina soothes the girl until Andrew takes her off her hands. And although Marina does many unselfish things in the book, this does not really add to her likeability in any way, because there isn't enough oomph to her personality, somehow.
I liked Andrew, even though I thought Marina was the wrong woman for him. (His nerves as seen by Marina at the end of the book were plausible; her not being concerned about marriage was plausible only because she's already been shown to be rather shallowly drawn.)
Only guess I have is that Ms. Lackey's turnaround time for this book was too short for her to give Marina a more well-rounded personality. That, or I just disliked Marina, and she couldn't hold my interest after her guardians were taken out of the picture.
Oh, Arachne and Reggie did make terrible villains, too. Boring; very, very boring. A cardinal sin in villainy.
Too bad this book couldn't have been written through Sebastian and Margherita's eyes; also, it's a shame that Thomas' romance with Dr. Andrew's nurse wasn't given more time as well. I'd rather have seen that than most of the last half of the book.
Btw, if you're looking for a good book, and you like urban fantasy, go read "Spirits White as Lightning." That one is by Ms. Lackey and another of my favorite authors, Rosemary Edghill, and is everything this book isn't.
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2.0 out of 5 stars So sad., June 4 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Elemental Masters #2 Gates Of Sleep (Mass Market Paperback)
I usually love these books . . . this one just couldn'y hold my interest. The story went nowhere, the characters were flat, the love story pointless, and the environmentalism/social commentary was tedious. "The Serpent's Shadow" and "The Fire Rose" were much better books, and I almost wish I hadn't read this one because it makes me leery of reading anything newer by Lackey.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not so great, but not utterly awful either, May 17 2003
By 
Anne B. "anneb" (Tarrytown, NY United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Elemental Masters #2 Gates Of Sleep (Mass Market Paperback)
I usually love those fantasy novels that start in a beautiful, pastoral setting in rural Britain. For instance, I love "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" and Harry Potter... so, I was very hopeful for this one.
Unfortunately, I found the writing clunky. It just didn't have the charming, lyrical style that I would hope for in this genre.
The contrived romance that popped out of nowhere at the very end was disappointing. It seemed to have been added just for the heck of it, I guess because the original fairy tale had one.
Still, the book was tolerable and had some good plot elements. I am hoping that I will find another book in this series that will use the elemental master concept and the undines &c. in the context of some better writing.
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Elemental Masters #2 Gates Of Sleep
Elemental Masters #2 Gates Of Sleep by Mercedes Lackey (Mass Market Paperback - March 4 2003)
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