I'm trying to remember the title of a series of books that I read in High School (in English) in the early 1990's. They were in my school library, so they were likely young adult, although I don't specifically remember them being YA, I also don't think that the books had much or any explicit swearing or sex in them.
This was a short series of four books, I think (although it might have been five).
The title of the series might have been something like “The Masters of the Seven Keys”, although I don’t think that’s quite right. In it, the main character has some reason to go on a quest to find seven wizards and persuade or steal from them their keys, literally the keys to their immortality. One of the wizards had long ago destroyed by traps in an ancient ruined city, and his bodiless spirit haunted the city. Another wizard is a woman who rules a country where gender roles are reversed.
Generally the kid had to perform some sort of task to get the key from a wizard.
There’s also a scene in a swamp or something where they are stealing flowers (or drugs? Maybe honey?) and the ship is swaddled in thick nets – there are giant poisonous deadly hornets flying around that you have to hurry to avoid. I think their name might have been something like “The Zzzumm”, because of the sound that they made once you awoke their nests.
I also vaguely feel that the ending was bittersweet, although that's more of a general feeling rather than any specific memory of the plot.
That's about all that I remember, I don't recall why the young male hero was questing for the keys, or why it took four books to collect the seven keys, but something about the series has stuck with me and I'd really like to rediscover it.