The Gate of Gods (The Fall of Ile-Rien, Book 3)
Martha Wells, 2005
Premise: Sequel to The Wizard Hunters and The Ships of Air. Definitely start with book one. Some small spoilers for those books follow. The war moves into a new phase as the refugees on the Queen Ravenna finally come to Capidara, a country ostensibly allied with Ile-Rien. There are new dangers in a new city, though, and time is running out for Loudon, the only city on Ile-Rien not yet overrun. Will a new variation on the gate spell allow them to rescue the people of Loudon, lead Tremaine and the others to an ancient city that might reveal the final secrets of the Gardier, or just lead them into a trap?
I like Tremaine so much. She might not be a hero to everyone's taste, but I love her cold anger, her practicality, the way those close to her can read her even as she hides everything but efficiency behind a wall. I even like the way she's occasionally ambushed by her feelings, but doesn't allow them to affect her purpose. She skirts the edge of self-pity, but is just too realistic and grounded to really indulge in it. She's one of my favorite characters I've discovered in some time.
The characters spent quite a bit of time figuring out tactics and being on the run before the final plan is put into place, so then there was a bit of a rush to get to the final confrontation. The last sequence seemed a bit more like luck than like anything planned, but it didn't really bother me. The final reveals worked with everything that had come before and still managed to be surprising and exciting.
We don't end up learning everything that happened to bring the three worlds to this point, but that keeps it from feeling too pat.
I continued to enjoy all the characters, but I liked that for the final sections the group had dropped back down to just Tremaine, Florian, Gerard, Ilias and Giliead; the same group that initially came together in Book One. The denouement centers on wrapping up the emotional plotlines, and I found it to be a very fulfilling and sweet ending.
I highly recommend this series. It is a wonderfully done fantasy adventure with complex characters and a plot that is nicely complicated without being confusing.
4 Stars – A Very Good Book
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