Saturday, June 4, 2011

At The Gates of Darkness

By Raymond E. Feist
Published by Harper Voyager; First Edition edition (April 6, 2010)

Here’s how to get a reader’s attention at the beginning of your latest novel: put in a scene in which devotees of a demon lord willingly sacrifice their lives by hanging themselves and getting thrown into a fire. That sure worked to get me sucked into this book, and it was somewhat of a letdown when I found out that the book’s biggest punch appeared on page two. At The Gates Of Darkness is book two of the Demonwar Saga, and thankfully it’s readable as a standalone story, even though it never really adds up to as much excitement as the first scene might make the reader come to expect.

In typical fantasy novel fashion, there is a group of disparate adventurers on a mission to stop the Big Bad Evil. Evil in this book takes the names of Belasco and Dahun, and there can be no doubt that these threats mean awful things for everyone else if their plans for infiltrating the world with demons go through. The previously mentioned adventurers include the usual assortment of rogues, wizards, knights, and elves and came across as a little flat personality-wise. Probably some familiarity with Feist’s previous novels would have come in handy here, so if you haven’t read anything else by him, this might not be the easiest way to get into the characters of Pug, Amirantha, Gulamendis and company.

It’s exciting how the heroes don’t really know a whole lot about their enemy and try to piece things together as they get closer to the confrontation near the novel’s end. An ancient tome of demonic knowledge is eagerly sought, but it can only help the adventurers so much. Belasco and Dahun prove to be an unexpected kind of danger that nearly costs everyone their lives. Overall, At The Gates Of Darkness is a commendable example of what might be expected from a fantasy release, but someone who is looking for a little more is likely to leave disappointed.

Buy it here.

Reviewed by Christopher Larochelle

Christopher Larochelle is a University of New Hampshire student coming close to being launched into the professional world in which he hopes to become a distinguished Writer of Stuff. He is an intern with New Hampshire Magazine, where some of his Stuff has begun to fill pages. He’s the guy with the comic book in front of his face, or the bass guitar or camera strapped around his neck, or maybe he’s at the computer typing something up for his shiny new blog at

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