The Lost Gate (Mithermages 1) by Orson Scott Card [Book Review]

Coming-of-age can carry a death sentance

This is in many ways a traditional story about a young boy who grows up not believing he has any powers and being given a hard time by his peers. He then discovers he has powers but it is gate magic and that carries a death sentence since Loke stole all the gates and cut the gods of from their powers centuries ago. He has to go on the run as an ordinary boy and learn about ordinary humans at the same time.

Danny North is the name of this likeable protagonist and it is wonderful to read about him discovering the world and getting a bit more balanced view of humans than his folks back home. He meets some interesting friends on the run and makes some startling discoveries. His clan of Northern gods or magicians as they call themselves is only one of many pantheons that live in secret on earth maintaining the little powers they have left.

The world building meshes well with known history and the magical system is well thought out and implemented. It feels like a lot of energy has been spent on making this a believable world and it shows.

There is also a parallel storyline on Westil, the home of the gods about a young boy who one day step out of a tree with no memory.

I have not enjoyed an Orson Scott Card book as much as this one since Ender’s Game. The Lost Gate is a great coming-of-age story about current day wizards with hints of a greater evil to come in the sequels. I have no idea when the second Mithermages book will be out but I will definitely go for it.


Title: The Lost Gate
Series: Mither Mages book 1
Author: Orson Scott Card
Genre: Fantasy
Audiobook: 12h 21min
Publisher: Blacksone Audio (2011)
Order from: Amazon US | UK | Audible

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.

Orson Scott Card, a New York Times best-selling author, has won several Hugo and Nebula Awards for his works of speculative fiction. He lives with his family in Greensboro, North Carolina.