After reading the previous two volumes of The Tears of Artamon trilogy, I was curious to see how it would all end. Although the series suffers from a number of shortcomings, there were enough positive aspects to maintain my interest.
Unfortunately, Children of the Serpent Gate is not the sort of climax I was eager for. Far from it, actually. . .
The worldbuilding remains what I consider the best facet of this tale. The Eastern European environment continues to be a welcome change from what is the norm in the current fantasy market.
Once more, Ash writes a smooth narrative. But the pace is a factor in this book. Some portions of the story are extremely sluggish, making it a chore to go through a number of chapters. And then, paradoxically, some scenes are incredibly rushed, especially toward the end.
As was the case with both Lord of Snow and Shadow and Prisoner of the Ironsea Tower, the characterizations are again what kills it for me. Juvenile for the most part, they make me feel like this trilogy should be aimed at a younger crowd. And the same can be said concerning the dialogues.
I was very much looking forward to certain storylines, especially the ones pertaining to the Darkhaouls and the children who are linked to them. For some reson, those plotlines fell well short of my expectations. Everything that had to do with Francia and the Commanderie showed a lot of potential, but in the end did not show as much depth as I expected.
The politicking has been a bit clumsy so far throughout the series, and that remains a bit of a problem in this book as well. Realism is an issue in several instances.
And I felt that the "all is well that ends well" sort of ending was lackluster. The fact that the scenes leading to the finale are rushed and lack substance doesn't help matters. Sadly, it doesn't bring the series to what I feel like is a satisfying close.
The Tears of Artamon showed some promise. Yet it doesn't live up to that promise, at least not in every facet of the story. Still, it is good and interesting enough to please young fantasy fans, especially those readers relatively new to the genre.
The final verdict: 6.5/10