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.

Information

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.

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  • Now see. Card sometimes writes things I can be interested in. I thought Enders Game was average but some of his other stuff is quite interesting. I like the sounds of this series. It looks to be a nice mellow and easy read to relax to but these days I find myself unable to get past his religious beliefs.

    I have a similar issue with Neal Asher’s politics but fortunately for Asher he writes sci-fi so full of lasers, explosions and sheer awesome that I can manage to overlook it. Card can’t manage that. His stuff just stays in the interesting pile for me. Which is a shame but my problem.

  • I was a bit concerned about Card’s views also before reading Lost Gate but I didn’t catch any overstep here. For me it was just a story I could enjoy. The one concern I have after reading the Enders series and knowing about Cards religious beliefs is that this ends up in the same ballpark. But so far so good.

  • I’m not worried that his views could end up in the books. That doesn’t always mean it’s going to be a bad story. I can see Neal Asher’s politics starting to creep into his books and to be frank it suits them. I just don’t like Card on a personal level because of his beliefs so when he does write something I might be interested in I don’t really want to give him any money. He could turn his religious views into the finest work of sci-fi ever and I wouldn’t buy it. Not because the views are in the book but because he holds them personally. I’m happy to separate fiction from reality :)

  • The separation of facts from fiction is a good thing :) I just prefer fiction in the form of good stories. That is in no way any agreement with the political or religious affiliation of the author. Unfortunately some good writers have personal views that are politically incorrect or goes against the grain of my conscience and I try my best only to focus on the story. This is a dilemma and something each of us have to deal with when picking our material.

  • The separation of facts from fiction is a good thing :) I just prefer fiction in the form of good stories. That is in no way any agreement with the political or religious affiliation of the author. Unfortunately some good writers have personal views that are politically incorrect or goes against the grain of my conscience and I try my best only to focus on the story. This is a dilemma and something each of us have to deal with when picking our material.

  • The separation of facts from fiction is a good thing :) I just prefer fiction in the form of good stories. That is in no way any agreement with the political or religious affiliation of the author. Unfortunately some good writers have personal views that are politically incorrect or goes against the grain of my conscience and I try my best only to focus on the story. This is a dilemma and something each of us have to deal with when picking our material.

  • True dat :)

    In other matters. Have you ever read the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde? I have an inkling you might get a kick out of them.

  • I haven’t yet but I plan to since I got them recommended some times back when I wrote this http://www.cybermage.se/formidable-female-protagonists-in-science-fiction-part-12/#5
    They look like great fun.