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The Gate of Bones
by Emily Drake
The fourth novel in the series that began with The Magickers brings the battle between the young Magickers and the villains of the Dark Hand to a climactic conclusion.
Its hard to say for sure, but it looks as if the American answer to Harry Potter is complete in four books. But, as I have noted before, Emily Drakes writing style is not as transparently clear as J. K. Rowlings, and the structure of her books isnt as sturdy. At times in this fourth book, particularly at the climax, I felt that events were rushing along too fast, and the imagery of the story sometimes refused to picture itself in my mind. But while it is easy to find fault with the book, it is also easy to find things to enjoy about it. Exciting things happen: magical battles, vendettas, romance, horror, journeys through space and time, and an amazing transformation are here to thrill you, and the young Magickers continue to grow up in very satisfying and entertaining ways. And even though it looks like the Dark Hand is done for, there are still loose threads that could suggest another book at least.
What happens in The Gate of Bones? You probably thought I had forgotten to say. But theres a lot to mention. The Magickers have moved to a completely different world but one that already has people in it. The Dark Hand have come too, and are steadily working to corrupt the quaint society of the people of Haven. Some of the nastier people of Haven are openly or secretly in league with the Dark Hand, but the Magickers have their own allies too including a clever trader named Renart and the beautiful warrior princess he loves. There are also outcast wanderers, who help the Magickers when they can.
Haven is a strange and wonderful place, visited by dragons, guarded by an invisible spirit that mysteriously drains the magic out of people and crystals. It becomes a dreadful place, too, when the Dark Hand unleashes hordes of bandits, ghouls, and fiends, and opens an evil gate that can only be closed by a human sacrifice. Who are the Dark Hand? They are, primarily, teen villain Jonnard and his power-hungry mother Isabella. And when they arent plotting against each other, they are trying to bring down the Magickers and their new academy in the mountains Trent, who cant do Magick but can see it; Ting, who finally solves the mystery of the Chinese dragon that guards her ancestral home; Henry, who still has trouble controlling his powers; Stefan, who in times of danger walks a thin line between becoming a bear and a berserker; and Rich hypochondriac, healer, and now victim of a poison that will require him to take a nasty-tasting medicine for the rest of his life. There are adult Magickers, too (read the book yourself to learn more about them), but above all Jonnard is after two: beautiful, blooming Bailey, and the most dangerous of the young Magickers, Jason Adrian.
Jason is the Gatekeeper. He is the Harry Potter figure in this story, complete with two (2) dead parents and a scar. Jason opened the gate between the worlds, the gate that brought the Magickers to Havenand the Dark Hand too. So he knows it is his responsibility to take the Dark Hand out of Haven. How far will he have to go, how much will he have to risk, to make the magical world safe again? While you wonder about the same thing in regard to Harry Potter, it may be handy to consider the conclusion of this book. You may also be interested to see the very beginnings of a school of magic (or Magick).
Will there be more books about the Magickers? In spite of my quibbles about the authors flawed writing style, I am interested to know!