Martha Well’s The Gate of the Gods is the third and final book of the trilogy that began with The Wizard Hunters and continued with the disturbingly un-booklogged The Ships of Air. I enjoyed both of those two books enormously, so I’m sad to report that the third book is a bit of a let-down.

It’s not bad, mind. It’s still a pretty good book, and I wouldn’t not read the trilogy in fear of it or anything — but it’s not what I expect from the concluding volume of a tale filled with a huge magical war between worlds. I want action, and lots of it; I want stuff to happen, happen, happen. Instead, what I get is something that’s probably more accurately reflective of how real major wars work: The characters spend a lot of time waiting around for everything to get coordinated and ready so they can go on to do whatever it is they do next. I kept feeling that at any moment, the waiting would be over and the ass-kicking would begin, but after each spurt of activity, it was back to waiting around again.

Despite that, I did read through it quickly; and I still think that the trilogy taken as a whole is well above average. The automobile-and-lightbulb setting is great, the characters are interesting, the plot is generally good, and the pacing is excellent right up until the point where it falls into molasses.


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