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The Gates of Sleep (Elemental Masters #2)

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  6,715 Ratings  ·  180 Reviews
In the tradition of her acclaimed fairy-tale-inspired novel, The Serpent's Shadow, best-selling author Mercedes Lackey re-imagines Sleeping Beauty—as a dark and enchanting Edwardian fantasy.


Marina is the cherished daughter of the wealthy Saverson family, practitioners of Elemental Magic. But evil portents have warned her parents that Marina will be killed before her eighte
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Hardcover, 389 pages
Published by Daw Books (first published January 1st 2002)
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devra
Jun 13, 2007 devra rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fairytales
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 ...more
Jeremy Preacher
I am not so much a fan of this one, although it's probably closer to the traditional Sleeping Beauty story than the previous ones have been to their source material. It's not bad, just terribly unfocused.

The whole series seems to have a pacing problem. We're given fully a third of the book of scene-setting that has, ultimately, nothing at all to do with the main conflict, another third of villainous cackling, and then a lightning-fast resolution with a bonus! romance thrown in with very little d
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Grace
Apr 29, 2008 Grace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pretty pleasurable read overall. Mercedes Lackey, when I was 12 or so, was my first "favorite author" of my life, but I haven't read any of her books in years. Due to a passionate interest in the Pre-Raphaelites, (the main character is brought up among Pre-Raphaelite style artists) I had this book recommended to me, and decided to try her work again. Overall, this book is quite enjoyable, don't get me wrong. But there's a reason it's not a 5-star book.

The 'bad guys' are absolutely flat-as-card
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May
Sep 24, 2015 May rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This book is a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale. I've been a fan of the author's earlier works (her Valdemar series--especially the early books--was excellent). I'm a bit ambivalent about this one. The author does a vivid and convincing job of setting up the magical world, which is one of her strengths. And the first half of the book, describing how Marina (the heroine) is cursed and her life with her guardians and how she discovers and controls her magic is well done. It's only after ...more
Makayla
Confession time - that last paragraph of the synopsis is my own. The actual last paragraph on the back of my book is way too spoilery.

I first read this book in my middle school years - and I distinctly remember thinking it wasn't nearly as good as The Serpent's Shadow. Upon rereading it, I was inclined to change my opinion. Until I reached the end of the book.

But, before I talk about the bad, I will talk about the good because I really did enjoy this book, and if it wasn't for that one oh-so-an
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Jill Furedy
Not as good as Fire Rose, better than Serpent's Shadow; this is another one where's she spent too much time building the settings, forgot about creating suspense or romance, and then wrapped everything up in a hasty and ridiculous conclusion. Even through the slow build, I was enjoying the book and for some reason that I can't pinpoint, connected better with Marina than I did with Maya in Serpent's Shadow, even though Maya had more potentially interesting aspects to develop as a character. The l ...more
Mandolin
Jan 09, 2012 Mandolin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-inventory
Cursed by her evil aunt at birth, Marina is bundled up to be hidden in the Devon countryside, where she is raised in the loving, bohemian home of her three godparents. Each a talented artist and Elemental Master, they foster Marina's blossoming talents, both magical and academic, and lavish upon her the love and affection that she sorely misses from her parents. Unaware of the curse that orchestrated her strange upbringing, Marina grows into a beautiful young woman who, nonetheless, senses an ev ...more
Matthew
Oct 29, 2015 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
I do feel like the Elemental Masters books are getting stronger as they go. There are still issues. It feels like the magic system is made up as the story goes. I think it is a bit like that in Valdemar as well. People can and do do what is needed to progress the story and everyone has unheard of nearly unlimited powers. Which is part of what makes it feel like fanfiction.

But Misty does weave an addicting story. And I think the female is better developed here than in previous stories. She perhap
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Andrea
This book was a bit of a change from previous installments of the Elemental Mage series as no one really goes to London. There are some inconsistencies with the magic system Lackey had established in previous works, but I actually sort of like that element as it gives a feeling that magic is still a little unknown and some of the “facts” various characters impart are more like traditions and folk wisdom. In this installment, Marina is cursed in her cradle and hidden with friends of her parents. ...more
Kate
Jun 16, 2008 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, pulp
I liked this one much better than the first book by Lackey that I read. This one is set in Victorian England and revolves around a community of magicians, true magicians, who deal in natural elements. What I liked most about it was the way in which the magic was made to seem like nothing out of the ordinary, and it didn't feel like a 'fantasy' novel at all, just another novel. It was all totally normalized, and the story was more about the characters and their battle with evil than about the fac ...more
Julia
As often happens in a series, after a few books the author starts phoning it in. You need to engage in some serious suspension of disbelief in order to make it through this book. Not with regards to any of the magical stuff, but on a basic plot level. A lot of the plot relies on people not communicating super basic information. I think two letters/telegrams could have chopped this book in half.

Possibly the best part of the book is a throw away line that a character is a priggish, smug, self righ
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Amanda
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ariel
Just a fun re-read of a childhood favorite so I can continue further in the series. I love fairy-tale retellings and while this isn't the best 'literature', I do enjoy the mythos and magic the Mercedes Lackey employs.

I've been struggling lately to tackle all the TBR on my bookshelves and stacking up on my Kindle, so to avoid a slump and to keep my momentum, I'm picking and choosing light, fluffy, enjoyable things that will have me turning the pages swiftly to keep moving and grooving and wanting
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Jess Hale
I nearly didn't re-read this, remembering being bored with it and, yeah. I was mostly bored with it - I stopped at about 1/3 of the way through for a few days before powering through.

Like a couple of other stories in this series, I think my main issue is the pacing - there are so many pages devoted to set-up with an abrupt unsatisfying climax, not to mention the chapters devoted to the gloating, eeeeeeevil antagonists' point of view.

For this particular book, I found myself frustrated with elemen
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Kate
Aug 08, 2015 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, 2015
I may have read this quite a while ago. The first bit seemed familiar, but not the rest of the book.

I enjoyed it, although not nearly as much as Phoenix and Ashes (my favorite Lackey to date). It is a lovely twist on Sleeping Beauty, and the wicked fairy (who in this case in an aunt who uses black magic) is truly frightening, although her motivations are still rather unclear.

In fact, I enjoyed most of the book, from the description of Marina's childhood and development of her Elemental powers t
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Hannah Givens
Sleeping Beauty! Perhaps the one fairy tale in which the heroine does the absolute LEAST! Surely that'll make a great heroine-centered book, right? Well, no, not really.

The first 120 pages of the book could have been cut and it wouldn't have mattered, because NOTHING happens. The whole thing is a long, boring ramble on the social conditions of the time and how terrible it would have been to be poor back then. Another situation which I am powerless to rectify, and also, not a first act of a story
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Julie Decker
Marina is a Water Master--an elementally magical person who can commune with and control elements and connect with elemental spirits in those elements. With her connection to water and its naiads and undines, as well as her secondary Air ability that connects her to sylphs and zephyrs, Marina has many friends, but also depends on and loves her guardians and teachers Sebastian, Margherita, and Thomas, all of whom have elemental abilities themselves. But Marina is curious about her real parents; t ...more
Derek Chamberlain
The Gates of Sleep is a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, setting it in a Victorian England in which magic, of various forms, exists. The main character is 17 year old Marina Roeswood, an Elemental Mage of Water, who was cursed by her Aunt Arachne while a baby to die before her 18th birthday. The Gates of Sleep tells the tale of how Marina discovers and then deals with that curse, and finds true love along the way.

This is a good story. I enjoyed reading it despite the sometimes predic
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The Bookwyrm's Hoard
May 16, 2016 The Bookwyrm's Hoard rated it really liked it
I reviewed this in 2012 on a different edition of the book. (Click link for review)

On this, probably my 4th reading of the book, I picked up some minor problems that should have been caught by a copy editor, fact-checker, or proof-reader: dangling participles and other grammar faux pas, and a reference to Victoria's father's reign that made me wonder how well Lackey researched her history (Queen Victoria's father was never king; he was a fourth son who died just before his father, George III.)

M
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Denise
Jul 08, 2015 Denise rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I liked the basic thrust of the story: it's a version of Sleeping Beauty, set in the Victorian era that also acknowledges magic. Marina, the main character, has been hidden with friends of the family since she was a baby to help her avoid a spell put on her by an evil aunt. She never sees her parents, though they write and send presents now and again. Her adopted family sees to her education as a Water Master, but before her 18th birthday, she learns her parents have been killed in an accident a ...more
Jackie
“The Gates of Sleep by Mercedes Lackey is an interesting twist of the Sleeping Beauty fairytale set in the world of Lackey’s Elemental Mage series. Marina is cursed by her aunt on the day of her Christening. Luckily, one family friend who was the only Water Mage present was able to adjust the curse slightly. Since no one could identify the source of the aunt’s power, having shown no gifts in her youth; Marina is sent to live with friends until her 18th birthday. The plan almost succeeds but the ...more
Polly
Jul 08, 2016 Polly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Fantasy Literature
The Gates of Sleep by Mercedes Lackey, part of her ELEMENTAL MASTERS series, is a fun, harmless read based loosely on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale.

Growing up, I had always been drawn to Mercedes Lackey books, mostly because of the lush cover art, usually drawn by Jody Lee. But then, unfailingly, I’d read the blurb and decide not to read it; they usually sounded too involved, too conspicuously “high fantasy,” or otherwise cheesy and formulaic. (I love high fantasy, but I must have been a hipste
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Mav
Spent way too much time describing the foster parents' home when we never saw it again. Marina began as an almost sue-ish character. I had trouble believing she adjested so easily, or was that outspoken. I liked the scheme that the Aunt and her son had going, but there should have been more development from the aunt, the cousin, and the maid.
Tiff
Okay, I love Sleeping Beauty stories, but this one was just awful. The character seemed a bit dim and the romantic hero wasn't even introduced until closer to the end. I was not feeling this one.
Alyssia
Sep 22, 2015 Alyssia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
If this were not Lackey, it'd be a three. Like her other fairy tale stories, it has a lot of logistics issues and inconsistencies. She seems to have foregone editing too.
Tara
Jun 26, 2016 Tara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This series is... popcorn. They're easy to read, they flow, they all revolve around a romance, and they all have a happy ending. When you're stressed and just want something light to enjoy, this is your series.

The gist of it is that some people can see elementals, and these people are aligned to one element: Water, Earth, Air, or Fire. This book played a bit on the Sleeping Beauty mythos. Baby cursed by woman to die, godmother steps in and says, "No, actually, she'll just sleep"... it was well
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Quadragon27
I liked this book pretty well overall, but it did have some problems. For one, and I've noticed this with some of her other Elemental Masters books, the ending felt a bit rushed. I mean, it was a 389 page book, and we only really got down to the confrontation with the evildoer in the last 50. Secondly, in this one the romance between the main character and her Prince Charming was very obscure. Sort of like nothing, nothing, nothing....oh, I love you and can't do without you! Not the best develop ...more
Jaz
4/5

A very enjoyable read, and though it followed the constraints of the fairy tale "Sleeping Beauty", it was a small feature to the historical detail and elemental magic decorating the main plot. I read mixed reviews in between beginning this story which made a tad apprehensive, but I'm glad I stuck on. It seems slow moving stories when dressed up with historical tidbits are my cuppa tea. In some reviews it was described as aimless, and I do agree that the story meandered, however this was somet
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Fawkes Phoenix
Jan 03, 2016 Fawkes Phoenix rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great adaptation to one of my favorite fairy tales, Sleeping Beauty.

I always do get frustrated as a reader when I know something, like the enemies plot, lies, plans, etc, and the protagonist doesn't. For example, when marina believes her evil aunt that her parents were looney. I just want to shake marina, slap her and say "open your eyes! She's the evil one!!" Lol. like a kid yelling at a movie screen! No don't go in the basement, don't open that door, Michael Meyers is behind that shed, don'
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Mercedes entered this world on June 24, 1950, in Chicago, had a normal childhood and graduated from Purdue University in 1972. During the late 70's she worked as an artist's model and then went into the computer programming field, ending up with American Airlines in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In addition to her fantasy writing, she has written lyrics for and recorded nearly fifty songs for Firebird Arts &am ...more
More about Mercedes Lackey...

Other Books in the Series

Elemental Masters (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • The Fire Rose (Elemental Masters, #0)
  • The Serpent's Shadow (Elemental Masters, #1)
  • Phoenix and Ashes (Elemental Masters, #3)
  • The Wizard of London (Elemental Masters, #4)
  • Reserved for the Cat (Elemental Masters, #5)
  • Unnatural Issue (Elemental Masters, #6)
  • Home from the Sea (Elemental Masters, #7)
  • Steadfast (Elemental Masters #8)
  • Blood Red (Elemental Masters, #9)
  • From a High Tower (Elemental Masters, #10)

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