Any Scott Card book, especially one featuring a coming of age story, is going to be compared with the Enders Game Saga. This book stands up to that comparison pretty well. The story is one of fantasy on a far distant planet coupled with some very practical Potter-esque magic in current day America. It works surprisingly well. I found the fantasy tale annoying in the way that I find all fantasy stories filled with unpronounceable lands and characters set in a magical and perpetual middle ages annoying. The sword and sorcery crew will lap it up between all night Rune Scape sessions and there is just enough sexual tension to satisfy the Twilight crowd.
The most compelling part of the story concerns the teenage hero Danny and his adventures in magical discovery having escaped his horrible family. The pacing is excellent and the magic is believable enough not to get in the way.
Scott Cards most famous hero is Ender of Enders Game and if you haven’t read the Ender saga then you should, but not having done so will not spoil your enjoyment of this book. One thing that Ender and Harry Potter both have in common is that they are tortured by their powers. Like rock stars they manage to make being especially gifted and successful seem just horrible. When I read the synopsis of the story I though “uh oh… myths, fairies and agonizing about how awful it is to have special powers”. Fortunately in this book our hero has a good natured and pragmatic approach to having fantastic powers and even has fun with them from time to time.
I’m in two minds about the narrator; it’s the same Stephan unpronounceable who dragged us so painfully through much of the Ender Saga. His sonorous tortured delivery seems to cry out for the kind of depressing self analysis so favored by Ender and Potter. This book’s more upbeat style doesn’t seem to fit Danny quite so well. In any event this is a great yarn performed well enough which left me intrigued for the next part of what looks like may be.
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