In this sequel to The Lost Gate, best-selling author Orson Scott Card continues his fantastic tale of the mages of Westil, who live in exile on Earth.
Here on Earth, Danny North is still in high school, yet he holds in his heart and mind all the stolen outselves of 13 centuries of gatemages. The Families still want to kill him if they can’t control him - and they can’t control him; he is far too powerful.
On Westil, Wad is now nearly powerless - he lost everything to Danny in their struggle. Even if he can survive the revenge of his enemies, he must still somehow make peace with the Gatemage Daniel North, for when Danny took that power from Loki, he also took responsibility for the Great Gates. And when he comes face-to-face with the mages who call themselves Bel and Ishtoreth, he will understand just why Loki closed the gates all those centuries ago.
©2013 Orson Scott Card (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc
"Card weaves another in a chain of satisfying, teenager-pleasing fantasies…. Card has a grand old time romping around in the fields of comparative religion while letting a feud worthy of the Hatfields and the McCoys unfold, with much tongue-in-cheek humor but a touch of gore, too." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Familiarity with The Lost Gate is useful, but not essential, as Card gives readers enough background to have at least a partial understanding of the world he’s created….Defined characters and a highly imaginative story. For the author’s fans, a must-read." (Booklist)
Likes to listen while doing chores; likes to write reviews while he should be doing chores.
What I liked:
Card manages to put together a fairly interesting structure of magic and how that creates the major conflict that drives the story. His exploration of the way magic works and the way that the characters discover it is quite interesting. His take on ancient pantheons as magic-wielding aliens come to earth is also insightful, forcing the reader to completely shift her thinking. The reader encounters plenty of unexpected actions and circumstances and that is all to the good. The book is unpredictable and that is enough to keep you listening.
The main character, Danny, is a retooling of the "super-powered teenager trying to lead a normal life" (as in My Secret Identity, Smallville, etc.) genre. Which goes ok, maybe even a little bit better than average with Danny's well-developed intellect, but complete ignorance of actual teenage interaction making for very appropriate awkwardness. Unfortunately, the high school friends he interacts with feel like they're made of cardboard. They seem developed only just enough that the story can move forward.
Also Wad's story line of protecting his world from incoming mages and looking for a way to get revenge on his former lover is not bad. Not great, but not bad; interesting, but haphazard. It's one notch above only existing to be the reflection of Danny's own magical discovery.
If the following things bother you, steer clear:
Rudniki should not be narrating this book. He has a less than versatile deep bass voice. This isn't particularly ideal for a coming of age novel where many of the characters are youths. Not to say that his voice is not pleasant, he just doesn't have the range to characterize teenagers and women. Rankin has a better range, but doesn't make bold characterizations.
This book bogs down around the various characters' banter. It is not witty, insightful, or entertaining. It will make you want to skip portions.
Some of the book's portrayal of teenagers is dissonant. I am not an expert on teenagers, and maybe some do think and talk the way they do in the book, but there are some things I think are a bit too out there. A teenage girl being loaded up on hormones, emotional and desirous of sex, I get. But one that needs her boyfriend's seed in her uterus and expresses it to him in those terms? The girls in the book are generally focused on procreation. Every time it comes up (often enough) you think, "seriously?"
Avid listener of Scifi and Fantasy. I've found so many great books with the help of member reviews. Hopefully I can return the favor.
I don't know what happened to this story. I really enjoyed The Lost Gate and anxiously awaited book 2. Unfortunately The Gate Thief was a major let down.
This book really makes me wonder if OSC skipped over his teen years because it seems like he has no idea what teenagers are like. It's not as if his characters act like adults as some bad YA authors' protagonists do, they don't really act like any human being I've ever met. It's as if an android tried to write about human emotions based off of observations alone.
Danny North is obsessed with kissing girls, but also has some weird sexual repression/female purity issues going on. It doesn't help that all the teen girls in his life are walking wombs in waiting. They don't just want to have sex, they desperately want to get pregnant. Granted I'm no expert on the sex drives of teen girls, but I've never seen a single girl act like the girls in this novel do. It's just really weird, not exactly creepy just mind bogglingly odd and not normal. I don't know if he has strong religious beliefs about sex for procreation only that forces him to phrase teen sexual desire in this manner, but it's just strange and divorced from reality. To make it worse, the story spends an inordinately large amount of time exploring these feelings. It's true teens spend an inordinately large amount of time thinking about and discussing sex/relationships, but not like this.
Aside from poor representation of teen life, the rest of the story is lack luster compared to The Lost Gate. I lost interest in caring about Danny, Wad/Loki, and their version of the universe. The story does progress well enough, and OSC still knows how to tell a story with proper pacing. I just found myself struggling even to want the good characters to succeed. There were none of the endearing shenanigans of The Lost Gate(ie the Walmart scene). They talk about Danny being a trickster, but he doesn't do anything deserving of that title.
This story wasn't a wasted credit. The setting and magic system are interesting and fresh enough to keep me entertained. However I will have to carefully read reviews of book 3 before I decide to buy it.
The story did not flow very well, it was like each chapter was written by a different person who only loosely followed what happened in the previous chapters
The book is generally good but the thing i didn't like about it is the constant talk of 16yr olds wanting babies put their stomach or wanting to avoid babies put in their stomach. It comes across as very weird and disconcerting. The other thing is that there are a few tasteless descriptions eg someone says to another you look hungrier than a Jew in a concentration camp... really?? Because this book isn't meant to be a 'dark' book some conversations between charecters are in poor taste. Other than those two complaints, the book is really easy to follow and has an exciting storyline that will keep you hooked.
the guy has written some amazing stories - I guess its hard to live up to your own best work - this certainly doesn't.
He seems to be losing the plot (in every way) between his first and second books - where the characters in the second books of his two latest series, are almost starting from scratch and often very different from the development in his first books. The second installment in the Pathfinder series really is a trainwreck, this isn't that bad, but he is certainly giving us a filler after doing a good job in the first book in the mithermage series.
Stefan Rudnicki is a great performer - Emily is ok, and next to stefan, comes across quite weak.
This book would be 1/3 the size if you cut out the unnecessary drivel - which, considering Orson boasts about only putting in dialogue that moves the story forward, is a big let down.
Orson really needs to sit down and create the entire story arc in one go, then go and write installments that fit to the arc - he is losing the plot between instalments.
I really hope this great writer can deliver to his earlier standard and doesn't finish his writing career slowly sputtering out
Lots of books lots of time. I love all things Star Wars and fantasy. The Bartimaeus trilogy (or quad) maybe the perfect series. Jonathan Stroud and Douglas Adams are my heroes.
To a friend, no because I keep my nerdery close to the vest. But to a fantasy fan, YES!
I like the coolness of Stone. He's a nice guy with a consistent personality. I also like Wad/Loki. Loki is a tragic, smart, awful creature...
When Danny drops the goons in the ocean. It was a glimpse into his potential abuse of power. I liked the emergence and abruptness of the act.
Yep, I bing listen when I have been waiting for the story to continue.
Whatever you think of OSC, his offbeat politics, etc. He's a great story teller. This series is well worth a listen.
I have read everything Card has written, this book is pure formula. I hope it isn't a warning bell of things to come. The performance was great, the book was not.
Probably - because he has written well in the past and I hope he will again.
I enjoyed the books beginning - the first two chapters drew you in. After that, it became predictable.
I'm actually a day old tart, filled with maple custard. Perhaps, this reads as a rational introduction to others, and you are deliberately misreading it, because, come on, maple custard.
I agree with the reviews that are put off by the infatuation of teenage pregnancy. Orson Scott Card's books often come across as a pedantically cyclical read, so when the topic get's brought up, suddenly all the teenage girls in the story are obsessed with it in the same very disturbing and stupefied way. Grabbing at men's waists and demanding men 'put their baby inside me,' was an approach my mother must have missed. It's incredibly insulting to young women that this is how their teenage interests are portrayed. Really think about your teenage experience, and try to count on one hand the number of girls in your school, who would do this, and throw themselves at boys like this.
The dialogue is all in the same kidney, this adds to the cycling feeling of the book. It could almost be one person arguing with them self. The sentence structure, word usage, lines of thought, etc. cohere so that there are some golden opportunities for OSC's brand of humor, but it's not often believable that you are listening to several people talk, just one man's interpretation of a conversation.
OSC tackles Christianity, and a lot of other religions, legends, and myths, in this book. I'm not religious, but if you are, fair warning, he reinterprets the big J into his canon. Neil Gaiman did this in American Gods, then went back and edited him out, and it probably saved him some angry readers.
Stefan Rudnicki has a super creaky deep voice, like someone is opening and shutting an old door. Emily Rankin tried to match his voice in this book, which made her voice croak and crack. And to get what they are saying, you can't just dim the volume until you can just barely hear the words. The croaking is still loud before the words fuzz out. It's okay in the short term, but after a few hours it starts to hurt. When I took my ear buds out, I couldn't hear all that well for a few days.
The storyline is original. The plot twists aren't too severe. The book ambles, but it stays pretty cut and dry sequential. It'll be great for a solid OSC fan, but it's not Ender's Game.
This is the middle book of a planned trilogy. Many authors have had trouble with the middle of their trilogies; think of the Lord of the Rings. I liked the first book in this series better than this one, but I definitely plan to buy the next one.
I liked much about this book (and its predecessor). I like the double fantasy: Part of the action takes place here on Earth in the present and part of the action takes place on another planet which is more like your typical sword and sorcery fantasy world (Medieval setting; kings and peasants; swords and mages, etc.) I like the world-building. Card’s novels always show that he puts in considerable thought into how the science or fantasy work in his worlds. He really thinks about the background stuff. I like the two narrators. One, a man, narrates everything that takes place on Earth; and the other, a woman, narrates everything that takes place on the other planet. This makes it easy to follow the switches in location. I liked the explanation that different mythologies actually reflect families of mages who lived in particular parts of the world: One family lived in Scandinavia, so they are known in mythology as Odin, Thor, Loki, etc. Another family lived in Greece and were known in mythology as Zeus, Mercury, etc. I liked the unfolding of the plot. In the first book, the story is mostly about Danny trying to survive and trying to figure out how to use his powers without any living tutor to mentor him. But in this book, a deeper problem unfolds.
Now to the things I didn’t like. I didn’t like the amount of time spent on discussions of sex. Danny is an adolescent boy; this means he’s horny all the time. I get it. But it doesn’t interest me. I also didn’t like the portrayal of virtually every girl in the book (not the women; just the girls). It seemed that every single adolescent girl in the book was just as obsessed as Danny with sex, and they one-and-all come on to him. I have read other young adult books in which adolescent horniness reared its head and I didn’t mind it, but in this book I found it unpleasant. In fact, I didn’t care for most of the repartee among Danny and his high school friends. I didn’t feel that it contributed to the story, either. Maybe it will become more apparent in the third book why Card felt it necessary to add these kids.
Now I’d like to comment on the woman from North Carolina who says she can never read another Card book because Jesus is mentioned once in this book. She reminds me of those fanatic Christians who wouldn’t let their children read the Harry Potter books. (I had a 13 or 14-year-old student who was reading an adult romance novel that had quite a lot of pretty explicit sex, and that was okay with her mother, but she wasn’t allowed to read the Harry Potter books, because magic comes from the devil.) Don’t they understand the concept: FICTION? And in fact, I thought the question of whether Jesus was one of the mages in these families was left very much up in the air.
Okay, bottom line: I liked this book. As far as I can tell at this moment, I think the complete trilogy is going to be terrific. If you haven’t read the first book in this series, I would recommend that you do. Read them in order.
P.S. There is another story which Audible has which takes place on the second planet in this series and the magic system is the same. It is called “Stone Father” and it is novella-length. I liked it a lot.
Audiobook Junkie... Love all types of Science Fiction
I thought the first book had a lot of potential, but then it started to go down hill towards the end. I had hoped this second installment would have started off better than it did and I felt the need to stop every half hour to get through the first half of the story. In fact, with a little editing I think we could have started with the second part (last 5 hours) of this recording. However, I did not find this novel without some redeeming qualities. But I can not recommend this for adults or young adults as it stands. For the record, I preordered this book and would have given the first in the series a five star review if I had purchased it on audible and not through itunes when it originally came out.
The Gate Thief picks up at the creation of the great gate. You should expect more of the same to continue from the end of book one for quite a long time. I started to really dislike the main character for being an insolent, foolish, and childish. If you like that sort of high school maturity scene then maybe you'll love this book. I could see someone relating this experience to that of listening to the Percy Jackson series because of the correlation with characters in high school, greek mythology, and super powers.
A big issue I found with this novel was the filler and immature teenage dialog between the characters. Some of it felt like an inappropriate teenage soap opera. Orson Scott Card (OSC) tries to explain that he wanted to give a thorough explanation of events so we would understand everything in the closing of this book, but I found some needless repeating of events. Often we experience occurrences, reasoning, and conclusions through the perspective of two different characters. There is also a need to explore, rationalize and philosophize through Danny's powers which brought back memories of the Pathfinder series. Another big mistake with this novel was the romantic angel. Danny has many girls trying to have his "babies" and sex with him. This definitely got a few few eye rolls from me. OSC is somewhat crude in his writing. We know this from Ender. He will be blatant about nudity, promiscuity, and bodily functions. We get the pleasure of listening to the characters talk about spying on girls in bathroom, peeing, pooping, and whole shebang that many authors tend to leave out. Overall, I mostly found the writing involving Danny to be sophomoric, predictable and staged, while finding other dialog repetitive.
So, the space time talk is back. I disliked his pathfinder series for its philosophical approach and it appears OSC's new obsessive focus on this topic has splashed over to this novel as well. 'Young child set off with self discovery for new powers but is confounded with that darn space time,' sound familiar? I shouldn't be surprised that this happened, but I guess I expected him to do a better job at separating his books since he is putting both these series out so close together.
Now, were there any redeeming qualities to this book? Yes, I thought that the other world OSC created with Wad (aka Loki the "gate thief") had some great characters developing and plots unfolding. It was a complete change from the teenage day dream world the character Danny North was living in. The narration wasn't fantastic, but it helped in this instance to have two narrators for each world. I didn't like the voice that portrayed Danny and the people from middle guard. Maybe it was due to the deep voice that came off monotone.
Anyhow, here is a passage I found amusing coming from OSC, a very outspoken anti gay marriage man.
"Girls were all man mages when you thought about it. They wrap guys around their fingers and drag them anyway they want it. First time I have ever envied the gay thought Danny. But then he had to admit to himself, being honest, he felt nothing of the kind."
Religion eventually is tied into this world of magic and I will give OSC credit for being thorough with trying to make this universe believable. An explanation for the Devil and Jesus is put forward. But we all know OSC's true God is space time. We get a long 15 minute explanation on why he wrote what he wrote at the end of this book. If you are looking to be a writer, maybe this is helpful, but it sounded like a lot of needless justifications to me.
"Not as good but enjoyable"
This book was not equal to the first. It didn't gel quite as well for me but never the less I thoroughly enjoyed listening. I have become accustomed to the male readers voice which was less grating and that certainly helped. I see what other people are saying about the whole teen pregnancy vibe going on, it's a little weird but it doesn't take from the rest of the story of you don't fixate on it, and it certainly isn't one of the main themes so I don't see why you should. I will defiantly be listening to and reading the third and final part of this series.
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