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Review: 9. The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card...

January 17, 2011
I haven't read Orson Scott Card since Ender's Game a loooooooong time ago, and I'm not quite sure why, except maybe my reading tastes got distracted...

the lost gate
Title: The Lost Gate (Mither Mages #1)
Author: Orson Scott Card
ISBN-13: 9780765326577
ARC: 378 pages
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates LLC, 2011
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Media Masters Publicity

drey's thoughts:
Danny North reminds me of my son's favorite character: Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, from Cressida Cowell's How to Train Your Dragon books. Hiccup can't do anything remotely Viking-ish, Danny can't do anything North-ish. Hiccup's dad is the leader of their Viking clan, Danny's parents are the leaders of the North clan. Hiccup overcomes it all by training a dragon and showing his clan how they can live peacefully side-by-side with dragons, Danny runs away. Hmm, I guess they're not quite exactly the same after all...

Orson Scott Card has created a version of our world where the ancient Gods are stuck on Earth with diminishing powers, forever locked away from their home world of Westil, because a gatemage locked all the gates between the two worlds. Keeping to themselves, they live in compounds where each Family stays away from the other clans and from humans (or drowthers, as we're referred to). The Norths have the dubious distinction of having produced the last Gatemage, and are therefore now banned from having another. Too bad for Danny, as that's what it looks like he's going to turn out to be. So, before he can be dragged away to Hammernip Hill, Danny runs away.

Left to fend for himself in the regular world, Danny has to survive on his wits (and his sass). Luckily for him, he finds someone to help him, though that relationship becomes increasingly lopsided as Danny's abilities are discovered. I'm honestly surprised Danny makes it as far as he does, and in one piece. He's not the most surreptitious runaway, but then again I guess that's not a word that describes thirteen-year-olds best.

The other part of The Lost Gate takes place in the world of Westil, where a man-in-a-tree works his way out of said tree, then finds himself embroiled in royal intrigue and politics. Finding out that his actions has very real consequences, he starts setting things right. But some things cannot be undone...

Character: Danny is an amusing boy who's sometimes a bit wiser than his years, and other times acts his age. He doesn't always makes the right decisions, and definitely has his bratty moments. But you know he's got a good heart, and you feel his wistfulness when he's sitting on the hill watching the high-schoolers... The foster parents he finds are just an eensy-weensy bit too perfect, and some of the sub-characters are downright boring--and it seems like they're all are six-degrees-of-separation related, which is a tad too co-incidental to me.

Pace & PlotThe Lost Gate moves along at a clip, and there are hardly any slow spots. Switching back and forth between Danny and Wad (i.e. man-who-used-to-be-in-the-tree) didn't seem to have any point, because they were such disparate stories, except for the magery. Speaking of which, I got really confused with all the different types of magic that the clans have, and how you're described by your abilities.

drey's rating: 3/5 Good: I expected better, but all in all this is a pretty darn good yarn for YA fantasy  fans. I will be reading the next one to see what Danny does next.

Have you read The Lost Gate? What did you think?


bermudaonion said...

My son was a huge Orson Scott Card fan when he was in middle school and high school. I wonder if he'd enjoy this now.

drey said...

He might... I just loaned my copy to a friend who was also a huge OSC fan, I'll let you know what his verdict is. :)

Becky said...

I enjoyed this one. I didn't "love" it like I have some of his other books. But I couldn't put it down either ;) I think some of this might be that it's the first in the series. I do think the second story will prove more relevant as the story is revealed.

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