29 September, 2011

(Audiobook) Review - The Lost Gate (Mithermages 1) by Orson Scott Card

As controversial as Orson Scott Card has been in recent years, I think you have to admit that the man can write. Up until this point, I had only read some of his Ender and Ender's Shadow books, but I guess he can do fantasy too.

The blurb for The Lost Gate [US] [UK] [Kindle], which after all my attempts, just does a better job:
Danny North knew from early childhood that his family was different, and that he was different from them. While his cousins were learning how to create the things that commoners called fairies, ghosts, golems, trolls, werewolves, and other such miracles that were the heritage of the North family, Danny worried that he would never show a talent, never form an outself.

He grew up in the rambling old house, filled with dozens of cousins, and aunts and uncles, all ruled by his father. Their home was isolated in the mountains of western Virginia, far from town, far from schools, far from other people.

There are many secrets in the House, and many rules that Danny must follow. There is a secret library with only a few dozen books, and none of them in English — but Danny and his cousins are expected to become fluent in the language of the books. While Danny’s cousins are free to create magic whenever they like, they must never do it where outsiders might see.

Unfortunately, there are some secrets kept from Danny as well. And that will lead to disaster for the North family.
While I enjoyed this book, I can't say I absolutely loved it like I can about the Ender books I've read. I enjoyed it, it has an amazing magic system, but it has some parts that were pretty boring, not to mention seemed like just a set up for the rest of the series.

Danny finds out, and look away if you don't want the very beginning to be spoiled, that he's actually a gate-mage, one of the rarest and most powerful mages - one that's supposed to be killed on the spot by any of the family members if found out.

So Danny jumps ship from the family...and here's where the story gets boring for a while. There's some meandering, some pointless characters and finally we meet some people who matter who lead to some actual development in the story.

Danny's a good character, but having only read the Ender books, I guess Card's pretty good at writing 12-year-olds? Okay, I couldn't help that one. But seriously, Danny's a smart kid (the smartest in fact), with a great memory, who's not afraid to talk back to adults...dang, I'm still doing it.

Listening to the audiobook, the afterword by the author is pretty interesting. I assumed it was in the book, but if not, it's worth a listen just to see the the process behind how this book has come about, especially given the fact that it's been in the making since 1977. Usually I'm not a big fan of the OSC foreword or afterward since they give way too much information and almost kills any interest I had in reading the book, but things seem to be easier to take on audio.

Why Read (or Listen To) The Lost Gate?

If you've liked Card before, you'll probably like this one too. It's not his best, but it's not bad either and I'm really looking forward to the sequels. Now that the stage is set, I really think it can go places and I'm not quite done with the magic system either.

3.5 out of 5 Stars


Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

I'm going to have to try Enders or something. This was my first OSC read and as I did like it, I wasn't as impressed as I thought I would be with all the great talk of him. But I'm glad to see you where kind of mediocre on this one as well. Good read with interesting parts and idea, but some boring stuff too. I'm curious to see where the next book goes as I loved the ending here. Thanks!

Bryce L. said...

Yep, go for the Ender stuff, it's much better although I can't speak to any of the newer Ender stuff which he seems to be milking a bit.

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Anonymous said...

Yep, go for the Ender stuff, it's much better although I can't speak to any of the newer Ender stuff which he seems to be milking a bit.

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