Review: Death Gate Cycle

Courtesy of Amazon

I recently reread the “Death Gate Cycle” by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman and wanted to share my opinion of the series with you.  First off, I passed reading this series initially because I was afraid of the restrictiveness in characterization that books from the Dungeons and Dragons genre usually contain.  While it is possible to write good stories within the bounds of the genre, most authors try too hard to follow the dictates of the gaming world.  There must always be Dwarves, Elves, and Humans; each race has to follow certain characteristics; and the political dynamics of the races must be the same as in the game, which is essentially a Tolkeiness society.  Basically, the writers are so wrapped up in the minutia of the Dungeons and Dragons system that they rarely allow the story to breathe and come to life.

However, I eventually decided to give this series a try because I liked the covers and I am thankful that I did.  This is a thoroughly engaging series that grows wings from the second book onward.  While many people may underrate this series for the reason I have stated above, I would like to encourage them to take a second look like I did. Unfortunately, the first book may grate a little like a Dungeons and Dragons book with all the prerequisite Dwarf, Elf, and Human intrigues but later books will move into a wider realm of creativity.  You will still have to deal with these races throughout the series, but the authors are able to breath some much-needed life, humor, and soul into what would normally be carbon copy throw away beings.

The change in the nature of the series will become apparent after the second book “Elven Star” but it is the third book “Fire Sea” that made me a die-hard fan.  One of the main characters is forced to see a much darker side to his people than history portrays and the truths of his life become suspect to the point that he no longer trusts his own kind.  Most interesting is the costs to all for the greediness of eternal life.  I believe that, if you can make it through the first three books, like me, you will be hooked until the end.  Gods will fall and redeem themselves through sacrifice.  Hearts will change and bitter enemies will find common ground.  What more could you ask for?

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