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Fantasy Review – The Limbreth Gate

The Limbreth Gate by Megan Lindholm

Review by Cyndi J. (cyndij)



This is the third book in the “Ki and Vandien Quartet”; the series is also known as “The Windsingers”. I reviewed the first and second books previously (HARPY’S FLIGHT and THE WINDSINGERS).  It is necessary to read them first for this one to make any sense.

In the last book, Ki made an enemy of one of the Windsingers, but she also gained the protection – though not friendship – of another.   Rebeke, the protector, has made it clear to the others that Ki is not to be interfered with, but Yoleth has already set a plan in motion.  She has made a bargain with the Limbreth, a bored god of another world, to lure Ki through a  gate that can be opened between the worlds.  The Windsingers have done this before with inconvenient people. Because the worlds must be “balanced”, one person must leave as another one enters, and the Limbreth is only too willing to sacrifice some of its own people in order to get new faces.  It’s a one-way trip.

Once in the Limbreth’s world, as they drink the water, a strange compulsion overtakes humans. They are compelled to travel on and find the Limbreth. They are repelled by the idea of eating meat or causing harm to any living thing.  They find peace and enlightenment but unfortunately they’re also starving to death – the locals do not provide any help. The Limbreth is already sucking up their life experiences and doesn’t really care if they die later.  Ki comes across another stranded traveler, Hollyika the Brurjan, a cat-like humanoid.

Lindholm is a very good prose stylist. Lots of imagery and atmosphere. But there’s so little action going on – there’s a lot of philosophical musings from Ki  after she’s been affected by the Limbreth about the meaning of her life and all.  And more of the same from the woman Jace who came out of that world, and more from Vandien, and more from…it goes on.  It’s good prose, but I grew impatient for something to happen. It’s very much in line with the other books, more introspection than action.

I found Vandien’s hesitation in freeing Ki very irritating. She’s obviously been mind-altered, she’s starving to death, and he’s moaning to himself “But she’s happy, should I do anything?” I identified a lot more with Hollyika, who takes a brute force approach to the problem.  In fact, I liked Hollyika more than either Ki or Vandien this time around, which was amusing.  Lindholm was trying to convey a message there, but it didn’t resonate at all  with me.

There is a huge discovery made about Ki which is just brushed on and then dropped. I assume it’s picked up in the next and last book, because it’s a major change and I’d love to know what she’s going to do with it.  There’s another huge discovery about how their world came to be, and it would be nice to see that explored too, but I’m doubtful Hobb can fit all that in.

As with the first two, it’s an interesting world, but unsurprising that the series is no longer in print. I have a copy of the last, and I’ll be picking it up before too long.




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