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Posted December 9, 2008
The kingdom of Thebin was a prosperous place under the rule of a benevolent king until the hordes of Horn invaded. They killed the king and queen and sold the seven princes into slavery. An army of occupation now rules Thebin. <P>Several years later through the help of an earth god, Llesho is freed and determined to find his brothers and liberate his homeland. He discovers two of his brothers almost right away and finds allies to help him throw out the invaders. When he finds his next sibling he is joyous but he realizes the next prince found is mad and not to be counted on to fulfill the quest. By this time, Prince Llesho knows that his goal is bigger than his family regaining their kingdom. Heaven is being besieged by an evil being let loose by Master Marrko, a powerful mage and Llesho¿s sworn enemy. Only when all the princes are united and the kingdom is free will Llesho find the entrance that will take him to Heaven so he can defeat the evil creature. If he fails, all of Earth and Heaven will be destroyed. <P>Prince Llesho is a determined, head strong and vulnerable young man who attracts allies to his quest because they believe in him. The prince learns early on that being favored by the gods is no easy thing because he is at their whims and mercy. What sets out as a boy¿s dream to find his remaining family turns into a man¿s quest to free his homeland and destroy the indestructible if he wants to see this world and heaven safe in a world filled with many kingdoms and empires gods walking alongside man. <P>Harriet Klausner
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Posted August 4, 2006
Better than the others in the series, but still lacking
It became clear to me early on in this book what one of Benjamin's central flaws has been in this series. In a dream sequence, the main character relives a previous discussion. The converation made a lot more sense this time. I reread the previous version and sure enough, the new version added lines of dialouge absent in the first conversation. This tendency to omit relevent details has made Benjamin's character interactions and motivation confused and inscrutable through most of the series. In the third book he improves in this area, making the book slightly better than its predecessors, but still not very good. Benjamin's lack of attention to detail often resulted in inconsistencies in the narrative. The action in this volume also has a more episodic feel. In sequences like the pirate voyage, it seemed as if Benjamin really wanted to include pirates in the novel, and stretched all credulity to make it happen. The ease with which Llesho finds his brothers robs the story of much of its potential drama. Benjamin also makes much of the hardship Llesho goes through in his quest, but somehow mamages to make these hardships seem transient and repetetive at the same time, no mean feat. While the ending wasn't horrible, Benjamin made two pretty substantial blunders. He relied on a deus ex machina to resolve the first part of the conflict, using a device he had been setting up as fraught with peril but which ended up being used in an almost off handed fashion. I almost never appreciate this strategy. The second error was that the 'gotcha' moment of realization in the climax had been pretty much telegraphed by foreshadowing through most of the last book. The only person who could possibly have been suprised was the main character. As the reader I kept wondering how long Llesho's denisty would prevent his realization of this element. All in all, The Gates of Heaven was an improvemnet over the other books in the series, but still fell far short of being something I would recommend. The mere fact that I had a bit of a drought of available reading materials at hand is the main reason I got through this series at all.
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Posted December 26, 2009
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