Off the Shelf

“The Gate of Gods”

By Marcus Pan

Gate of GodsMartha Wells’ science fiction trilogy, The Fall of Ile-Rien, ends here with The Gate of Gods. In this epic she’s crafted three well-detailed worlds – Ile Rein which has an interesting combination of steampunk technology and magic, Sypria with its bright colors, superstitions and less civilized nature and Gardier (though that’s the name of the people in this case) where sorcery has become prevalent in creating a race to power.

I can’t fill you in on details since I’ve picked up at The Gate of Gods only and have not read the previous two parts of the trilogy – The Wizard Hunters and The Ships of Air respectively. Nuances about Syprian and Reinish culture are beyond my grasp for this reason. I picked up in the tale as a group of ragtag adventurers are chased from world to world, bouncing through “curse circles” or magic gates.

I dig the different ways the cultures treat the power of magic here. The Gardier use it as a be-all, end-all to their society, going so far as implanting magic crystals in their bodies to be better attuned with the powers. The Syprians have a large amount of respect for the powers of magic, and choose one or a couple to be the “chosen vessels” that commune with gods who protect the citizens from rampant wizards. And the Reinish, meanwhile, use it as a tool, but not one on which they rely so steadfastly that they become near-retarded in everyday life or capabilities like the Gardier.

The chase of our ragtag heroes leads us deep into a secret of the Gardier – the earliest roots of where their culture and powers grew from. The chase bounces through gates like a connect the dot puzzle until the band find themselves high above a Gardier stronghold, hidden in a floating chunk of a millennia plus old mountain where the secret of the Gardier lives.

Wells is a good storyteller, and though I shouldn’t complain about it being a bit tough to start here with The Gate of Gods because you’re not really supposed to start a trilogy on the third installment, but some writers are a bit better at welcoming a new reader in the center of the story than Martha is. It dragged a bit between action scenes sometimes, but the ending was brilliant.

"The Gate of Gods" by Martha Wells
Copyright © 2005 by Martha Wells
ISBN: 0-380-97790-7
Published by EOS – an Imprint of Harper Collins Publishers

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