Friday, February 4, 2011

The Lost Gate

The Lost Gate (Mither Mages)THE LOST GATE

by: Orson Scott Card
378 pages
published in 2010
Genre: Fantasy

The trickster god Loki has imprisoned several warring clans of gods on Earth for centuries, where they have forged a fragile truce. Without access to their homeland, their magic has become diluted. Everyone in the North family knows that Danny is a drekka--a god stuck on Earth without any magic at all. But then Danny realizes he is a gatemage, with the power, but not the skill necessary to reopen the gate to their homeland of Westil. As he flees for his life from those who would either kill him or force him to work for them, he discovers that the clans were not the only people stranded on Westil when the gates closed.

This novel is really two stories, set on alternate worlds. Danny's story takes up the majority of the novel, but meanwhile, the story of a boy called Wad is unfolding on Westil. To the average observer, Wad seems like the least important person in the kitchens at the castle, yet his power and influence will determine the destiny of the whole country.

First of all, Orson Scott Card is such a hero of mine that I nearly find myself tongue-tied at my own audacity. How can I review one of his books when his characters have been the inspiration for so much of my own life? I see other reviewers calling him "Card" and it makes me wince at the disrespect. Crazy, I know. So here goes...

Orson Scott Card's characters are usually super intelligent, but they still make lots of mistakes. They usually learn to screw up more thoughtfully the next time and they never give up. As their ability to achieve their objectives evolves, their ability to empathize with the people around them grows as well, and that is the charm of his books. I love, love, love falling into one of OSC's worlds, and this was no exception.

At first, I was hopeful that OSC had finally created another Ender (Ender's Game (Ender, Book 1)just for me. And then Danny seemed more like Bean (Ender's Shadow (Ender, Book 5) which was also acceptable. But by the end of the book, he was just Danny--still gifted like Ender and Bean, but with his own personality--as sly as Bean, but much more comfortable with his own sense of humor.

Because The Lost Gate takes place in such a complicated world, much of the novel is explanation and exposition. But OSC is a master storyteller. He weaves the physics of gatemaking almost seamlessly into the narrative. I enjoyed every page.

The Lost Gate is a crossover novel--marketed to both teenagers and adults. I recommend it only for very mature teens. The writing is complex and Danny and Wad find themselves in some adult situations. Although my kids loved Ender's Game, I'm not ready to recommend this one to them yet.

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