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The Gates of Sleep (Elemental Masters, #2)
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The Gates of Sleep

(Elemental Masters #2)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  8,213 ratings  ·  250 reviews
For seventeen years, Marina Roeswood had lived in an old, rambling farmhouse in rural Cornwall in the care of close friends of her wealthy, aristocratic parents. As the ward of bohemian artists in Victorian England, she had grown to be a free thinker in an environment of fertile creativity and cultural sophistication. But the real core of her education was far outside soci ...more
Paperback, 446 pages
Published March 4th 2003 by DAW (first published January 1st 2002)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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 ·  8,213 ratings  ·  250 reviews

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Jeremy Preacher
Dec 26, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, historical
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
Jess Hale
Jun 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
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
May 05, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. The Gates of Sleep dragged a bit towards the middle, but in general it was still an appealing book. I loved the double twist on the fairytale and the villains were, if still somewhat eyeroll-worthy, then at least less so than in The Serpent’s Shadow.

Seeing the Water magic performed was interesting, and the love story was less in focus this time around. Everything was much subtler. I like Maya better than Marina, purely in terms of ‘colour’ - she has a stronger force of personality an
Katie Whitt
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm so happy I found this series! Full disclosure I started reading it because we got the latest in at work and it features Sherlock Holmes (!) and I am the biggest sucker for anything Holmes related, but I can't start a series towards the end, so I decided I needed to go back and start at the beginning. One of life's great joys is finding a long running series that you had no idea existed but now you get to catch up on. I liked the this one was easier to guess which fairy tale it was based on, ...more
Jill Furedy
Jul 09, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Sep 24, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Apr 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 26, 2007 rated it liked it
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
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
Oct 06, 2016 rated it liked it
idk not for me i guess. i know certain people really like mercedes lackey and i can understand that but not for me. it was insanely slow. not much happened. even to the end i thought something exciting might happen. it was set up to be more than it ended up being, if that makes sense. there was so much magic introduced and never mentioned again. good not great. would read more lackey if i happen upon it.
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. ...more
May 12, 2009 rated it it was ok
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. ...more
Jannah Cloud Child

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
Aug 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
I love Mercedes Lackey's Elemental series, the Victorian setting for fairy tales respun with magic from the four elements. But this one... was full of holes, and dragging on and on.
Marina Roeswood's life is cursed by her evil aunt Arachne on her christening day. Her other godfathers and -mothers can not give her more magical gifts to protect herself (why?)... but they do whisk her away for her never to see her parents again. Huh? That's protection? Anyone could trace the packages Marina's paren
Hannah Givens
Jun 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 25, 2015 rated it it was ok
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
M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews
Don't get me wrong, Lackey is a good author. All the other books I have read - Serpent's Shadow, Phoenix and Ashes, and Black Swan are all engaging reads.

But this story disappointed me. It had a good start, but it ended in a boring and bad way. In Serpent's Shadow, the protagonist is a Earth Master who is rescued by a Water Master. In this book, it's the other way around, which disappointed me. I'd have liked to see Marina paired up with a Air Master or some such, so as to not repeat Earth x Wat
Oct 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Lita Acevedo
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
This was rather difficult for me to finish because it seemed to just drag on and on for so much of the book. Perhaps I am so used to the style of today's authors that I can no longer appreciate Mercedes Lackey's workmanship. I used to love her books when I was in my 20s and 30s and maybe even in my early 40s. But now I'm in my early 60s and jus don't find them as entertaining. Then again, it may just be this series. I have read 2 books and couldn't finish one. Out of the 3 I only really liked 1. ...more
Jan 19, 2012 rated it liked it
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. ...more
Anya Zub
May 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Love this book - probably my favourite from this series. It has so much more connection to the fairy tale it is based on and the country setting really lends itself to the type of magic described.
Gene Parish
Mar 26, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actually #2 in Mercedes Lackey's Elemental Masters series and a re-telling of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale.

The heroine - after a brief appearance as a newborn where her disenfranchised aunt provides the underlying curse that forces her parents to place her in the care of a trio of artists - has spent the past 17 years in rural Cornwall. She has been raised by three loving godparents who are artists of various flavors as well as Elemental masters who seem to let her do as she wishes once she's
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was such a wonderful world to get caught up in. Imagine if Sleeping Beauty not only had three magical guardians but also had magic of her own and was taught from a young age how to use it?

Marina has always known that she's a Water Mage though doesn't know just how powerful she is becoming and often wonders why she was sent away from her parents whom she hasn't seen since she was a baby and has only communicated through letters. She loves her Aunt and Uncles (who aren't related but are
The incredibly prolific Lackey writes a series of fairy tale retellings set in an alternate late Victorian world where elemental (earth, water, air, fire) magic exists. This is her take on Sleeping Beauty. As with the other books in the series, it's a pretty loose retelling, and Lackey uses the fairy tale as a jumping off point, rather than trying to keep strictly to a story line.

Objectively speaking, this book has some problems. The pacing is pretty wonky, and nothing much happens until the las
Christine Verstraete
Jan 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-paranormal
Now that I'm hooked on this series, I'm trying to read from the beginning though I also wanted to get back to the later books with Holmes/Watson. The Elemental Masters series centers on classic fairy tales with a fantasy/paranormal/magical twist. This one made me think of Sleeping Beauty, but has more of a wicked stepmother theme. I can't think of the tale about the baby poisoned by a cradle.

Marina is taken from her loving "adoptive" parents after the mysterious death of her parents into the ho
Another faithful fairy-tale re-telling, this time Sleeping Beauty. Sleeping Beauty does not sleep for 100 years nor is her castle lost behind built-up thorns/bushes/greenery. But this world does have magic for it is the world of the Elemental Masters, some of them good, others evil.

All the same, this story has the magical curse laid upon the infant by the unexpected guest at the baby's christening with the final blessing able to change the death sentence to something less, such as a deep sleep.
Silvio Curtis
May 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first part of the book describes the Marina Roeswood's idyllic life in the country with friends of the family who her parents sent her to in order to save her from a curse. Everyone in the family including her is a magician. Then she is reclaimed by an unpleasant aunt. As the reader you know that the aunt set the curse. At first Marina thinks she's just disagreeably obsessed with teaching her to be a proper lady, but gradually she discovers the more sinister truth. The book is notable for sh ...more
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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 & M ...more

Other books in the series

Elemental Masters (1 - 10 of 16 books)
  • 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)
  • A Study in Sable (Elemental Masters #11)

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