By: Mercedes Lackey
389 pages (Hard Cover)
In this story based loosely on Sleeping Beauty, Marina Rosewood grows up in a free and idyllic setting, under the protection of close friends of her parents, who shelter her from a dangerous curse until her evil aunt intervenes and steals her away for her own nefarious ends.
The Elemental Masters series has been, to me, a set of cozy fairy tales. Most of them are loosely based on popular fairy tales and have a comforting “happily ever after” feeling to them. When I want something to read that is simple, free of unnecessary violence and gore, and doesn’t require me to decipher fanciful prose, these are the books I turn to. They are my break from all the other things I like to read.
That being said, they aren’t the most exciting books, not boring, but not fast-paced. This one in particular was slower than the previous two. There was a surprising lack of danger here. Sure the danger was lurking in the shadows, but it was never much of a threat except at the very beginning and at the very end. I suppose Sleeping Beauty had a similar pace, but in a nearly 400 page novel it can make things drag on just a bit.
Things came too easily for Marina. She had too much help, and her gilded cage was even enjoyable to a large extent. Her aunt was far too easily fooled, and it seemed like she would have been watching her more closely. As a matter of fact, Marina was quite comfortable aside from a tight corset and dealing with her cocky cousin Reggie. Where was the conflict? The true peril didn’t kick in until about the last 50 pages. It was just too easy. There were so many wonderfully spooky things I would have done with a premise like Sleeping Beauty, things like sleepwalking and all manner of nightmares and visions, playing off a feeling of not being in control. That and I would have had a wonderful opportunity to use the word somnambulist…because it’s fun to say. 😉
The ending was lovely, if a little convenient. So far I would have to say The Fire Rose is my favorite, and The Gates of Sleep my least favorite. It was just a bit too sleepy, but I have every intention of continuing with the series, largely because The Wizard of London caught my eye long ago. Slow or not, the book served its purpose. I wanted something cozy and comforting and that’s what I got. Until next time…