Fantasy Book Review – Serpent Mage – The Death Gate Cycle #4

Synopsis (from Goodreads): In the fourth volume of this epic fantasy, Haplo must outwit lethal and magical serpents in the last of the Four Realms.

Well, that’s not much of a synopsis. Thanks Goodreads.

This review may contain spoilers for the previous three books

At the end of Fire Sea, Haplo allowed Alfred to escape before reporting back to his Lord. A fact which the Lord of the Nexus was aware of and couldn’t allow to go unpunished. Haplo is, of course, punished for allowing a Sartan to go free, and the dog disappears.

Alfred and Haplo are now on the 4th world, the world of water, Chelestra. They did not go there together, but separately. Haplo comes upon the “mensch” races, as they are known and Alfred finds his own people, newly awakened from a long sleep.

At first, Serpent Mage doesn’t seem all that different from the first three books of the series. Haplo is continuing his mission for his lord. He ingratiates himself with the Elves, Dwarves and Humans on this world, trying to incite them to war against the Sartans. Haplo knows what he should do, but his adventures across the three other worlds and his interactions with people other than his own have changed him (even if he doesn’t want to admit it).

I generally try not to do this but ***SPOILER ALERT – SPOILERS AHEAD***

Back in my review of Elven Star, you may recall that I noted that a character made several reference to the modern world. Well, much to my annoyance, it is revealed that the world the Sartans sundered was, in fact, Earth. Why? Why? The whole point of fantasy novels is that they are FANTASY! The world and all the things in it are supposed to come from the author’s imagination. Linking it back to the real world is so unnecessary, and frankly, annoying. It just feels like a cop out. Like, oh, by the way, this was actually our world all along. hahaha tricked you! No! It’s stupid and unnecessary. Stop it!


I’m very interested to see where things are going for Haplo and Alfred. Not to mention the mystery of the dog. That is still driving me crazy.

My rating for Serpent Mage is 3 out of 5 stars. The series continues to be good but it’s not like “wow, amazing!”

As always, thanks for reading!

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