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The Death Gate Cycle trudges on and after the last entry I began to wonder if I'd ever make it to the end. Well, Serpent Mage is an improvement on Fire Sea but ultimately an unsatisfying read. Haplo escapes from Abarrach and lies to his master Xar about necromancy because, as is explained in book 3, its a rubbish idea. Xar, for reasons unclear to me refuses to listen to Haplo when he finds out about it, even though the implications are blindingly obvious. I guess this is a metaphor of sorts for world politics. Anyway, despite distrusting Haplo, Xar sends him on another mission, to Cholestra, the planet of water. This world does what it says on the tin and is made up of a few islands and lots of water. Four important things happen. 1) Haplo discovers, for reasons not explained, that the water on Cholestra inhibits his magic. 2) Alfred finds some Sartan who turn out to be the bunch of power hungry idiots they were obviously going to 3) Haplo meets some "dragon snakes" , supremely ruthless and evil chaotic beings who have been trapped on this world but want to get out and cause havoc. 4) Alfred is something called a Serpent Mage. he can turn into dragons. After Fire Sea it s abit of a relief that the plot develops as much as it does in this entry and also that its a shorter, pacier read. there's less dull running around and a lot more significant things happening. yet, its still remarkably slight and lacking the resonance that I'd enjoyed so much in Elven Star even though Weis and Hickman try hard to create more likeable dwarven, human and elven characters. Maybe that line is starting to get stale? This is the first of the cycle that ends on a cliffhanger. oooooh
Weakened when Haplo the Patryn causes chaos so that the lord of Nexus can establish a new order, the people of the water world Chelestra, one of the four worlds, must outwit lethal and magical sea serpents.