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The Seventh Gate by Margaret Weis

The Seventh Gate (The Death Gate Cycle, #7)
by Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman

So I’m going to rate the whole series. I’ve been reading these books for some time now, between other books. There are seven in total, quite a long series. It has an interesting premise. There are five races: humans, elves, dwarfs, sartan, and patryn. The first three are roughly the same strength, while the latter two are supposed to be much more powerful and consider themselves demigods, if not gods outright, but they are bitter foes, the sartan supposedly good and the patryn supposedly bad. A long time ago, the sartan, fearing the patryn, used their magic to lock them up in a labyrinth, their prison, and to divide the world into four elements, earth, water, fire, air. Each world would emphasize one of these elements, so in the air world, there are floating continents, but little water. Supposedly, the resources would be shared between the worlds and everyone would be happy and in paradise, the sartan watching over the lower races. But then they disappeared and left the humans, elves, and dwarfs by themselves, having to duke it out for their resources. The books begin with one patryn, Haplo, who had broken free from the terrible labyrinth, being sent out to explore these worlds and find out what happened to the sartan. At first, the books explore the cultures and how each race adapted to their environments, which is a bit interesting, there are some unique ideas, but later on it gets a little complicated, with evil incarnate trying to disrupt everything. Early on, Haplo find Alfred, a bumbling sartan, and even though they are enemies, are forced to work together. For most of the series, Haplo is an antihero, the villain who is going to conquer everything, but then he slowly is converted to good, and builds a relationship with Alfred. Unfortunately, I felt that relationship was altogether too abrupt, with them becoming pals in the sixth book. It was more interesting with the tension between them. The last three books felt like they lost their way, once they stopped describing the worlds. And while the worlds and cultures were interesting, they felt underpopulated. I didn’t feel there were great cultures to be explored, just a few squabbling nobles to try to represent them. The elves, humans, and dwarfs were all so similar, it didn’t feel necessary to have them. I don’t mind these races, but only when there is a reason to have them, something unique about them. The characters were mostly filler, and I didn’t really care about the lower race characters. Even Haplo and Alfred didn’t feel well rounded. And every leader of the people was stupid, something I would call lazy writing if I couldn’t compare them to the leaders in the government today (just kidding). The ending wasn’t great. The wizard Zafnib just called attention to the fact that these were books and dated them, using cultural references from the 80’s and 90’s, although some of the jokes were funny…at first. Anyway, they had an interesting premise but weren’t executed perfectly. Reminiscent of the Dragonlance books, but in a less predictable setting.

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