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)
I'm a little surprised to see so many lukewarm reviews of this book. I found it to be an enjoyable read, though I'd characterize it more as a "solid" read than an exciting one. If you are looking for a book jam-packed with action, this is probably not for you. However, I found it to be absorbing enough that I'll be watching for the next book in the series. The book did seem to end rather abruptly, since there is no clear "climax" scene. My biggest complaint would be that there seems to be perhaps a little too much of the craft of writing here, and not enough of the art. There is a slight scent of "middle-book-info-dump" in the air.
Let me say this first. The story is interesting and cool. The narrative is engaging.
But I didn't like it and I couldn't finish the novel. Sometimes, a novel can be good, without you liking it, and this is one of them for me. I guess, this is a fantasy novel - so some things are going to be unrealistic - hey, there's gods and kids with strange supernatural powers. But, for me, there is something basically inhuman in this entire narrative.
See, human beings are motivated by a number of motives - love, hate, anger, desire to succeed, desire for fame, power, etc. They all meld together to form us as human beings. These novels are focussed purely and purely on power and control. You know this is going to be a sole focus, when getting eating extra breakfast to be fit becomes a discussion about who has power. It's an interesting perspective to look at from a distance. Love and approval only came up in one scene where parents were involved. The characters otherwise were just focussed on power otherwise.
But somehow, it grated, and eventually it got too much and I gave up. But hey, if you think of books like pop corn and don't want to think about what they are saying, go ahead. But I warn, this book acts very pretentious and logical - but when you get right down to it, it's inhuman and disgusting in an indescribable way.
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.
I will listen to NO boring book. Old Fav's,Card, King , Hobb. New Fav's, Hill, Scalzi, Sawyer, Interested in Lansdale, Crouch, Konrath
Scott Card is my favorite writer. Ender's Game is the best Sci-Fi ever written. HIs Fantasy is second only to Robin Hobb, His short stories second only to Robert Reed. He even wrote a good scary book called Treasure Box. I have read lots of his books and will continue to read his books.
The first book in this series The Lost Gate is a five star read. What Card has done with this book and done with many of his later books, is turn them into lectures. It is like he has forgotten how to tell a story. This reads like an encyclopedia on Gates and Magic. There are long explanations on how gates work. Lots of names are thrown at you. There are long soliloquies on how to conduct yourself with friends. One I can remember off the top of my head was how to treat a guest. Card needs to fire his editor and quit giving his stuff to friends and family for their suggestions. Get an editor that will make him use his god given talents. Card is a religious man, so do what Jesus often did. He often used parables, not sermons.
Here are some five star Card books in no particular order: Stonefather, Treasure Box, Songmaster, A planet Called Treason (read this instead of the rewrite Treason.), The Memory of Earth, The Call of Earth, Ender's Shadow, Ender's Game, First Meeting, The Folk of the Fringe, Hart's Hope, Lost Boys, The Lost Gate, Seventh Son and the next two sequels. Audible has several of his short story collections that include some real good stories.
I like Rudnicki, but must agree with another reviewer, he is not suited to read teen characters.
Yes, I love Stefan's deep, melodic voice. I could listen to anything he reads I would listen to another Orson Scott Card, but with caution.
No, but it didn't add to the genre either.
Excellent use of voice to convey character and emotion, especially in Stefan Rudnicki's performance.
I'm hesitant to read another in the series. I found this book to start out strong, as a continuation to the first book, which I loved. The second half of this book became a long diatribe on the belief system or mythology of the gods, less about the characters or the heart of the book-the relationships between the characters. What drew me into the original book was character development and a bit of the "magical" elements. The background, overly complicated, overly religious history of the worlds really turned me off.
Ok, I'm very on the fence here. I think my real rating is a 2.5. I liked Orson Scott Card's attempt to bring in Egyptian mythology with Norse and Greek Mythology along with Judeo Christian beliefs into his world buildinng and magic system. Orson Scott Card actually refers to this as his boring bits. I believe these were the good bits. He should have focused more on this and the plot.
If you read the first book you meet Danny North who is a Gate Mage and a Gate Father, meaning he can create great gates that will travel to another world and increase the mage's magic. This is highly desired and everyone either wants to kill Danny or gain his favor so that they may use his gates. This causes contention between the families and has the potential to lead to war.
The first book is good and introduces and creates good characters you can understand. For some reason this book does not continue this. The characters are very flat. Also, Card focuses on Danny coming into his power as a young God and his going to High School. It focuses on Danny's interaction with high school kids and in particular high school girls. Card focuses on the alure men of power have on young girls and goes overboard on Danny's sexual allure. Every young girl in this story wants to have sex with Danny and he is constantly fending off their advances because he is trying to be the "good god" because there are so many "bad gods" in history that took advantage of silly young females. It gets really trite. There was a point I almost quit reading out of boredom.
I am interested in his third book and there are some interesting pieces. I really hope the third book is better because the first one was good and there is still potential in this series. I hope this just becomes the necessary evil of the series. I recognize the writing of the second book of a series is difficult but I was a bit disappointed that such a seasoned author fell into some of these traps. Read it because the first one is good, we have hopes the third will be great, and this is necessary to get there.
This is the first time in years that I've given up on a book, but I'm halfway through this one and I just can't do it. The premise is interesting, but there's a lot of extraneous information that doesn't seem relevant to the story. Worse, none of the characters - and I mean none - have any redeeming qualities whatsoever. There's nothing to like about any of them! Even the friends of the main character, Danny North, all come across as being vapid and grasping, so I'm having a hard time getting engaged. The character 'Wad' held my interest for a time, but unfortunately those times were few and far between.
I can appreciate the amount of work that has gone into this book, but alas it's just not for me.
I used to like OSC. Ender's game and the Apprentice Series == Great Reads, BUT...
The 1st book in this series was so-so. This was marginally better written, but I must be the wrong target audience. I've never seen an author try to recap, give away the twists and explain things soooooo much. There is a point when a story becomes an essay, and I don't like reading essays.
I wish Card reversed the gender of the characters as the physics/nature (bird & bees) may have made more sense.
I'm done with this series and probably Card for good.
Tell us about yourself!
The first book in this series was ok and I hesitated buying the second. I guess I blame my poor review on the excellent book by Peter Hamilton that I listened too prior to this this adolescent garbage. Adolescent is a perfect description of the character development and story. I had to stop a couple of hours into the book because it was so annoyingly awful. My largest complaint is the pointless completely unrealistic dialog between the teenagers. It was NEVER ending with 30 minutes of moronic back and forth between characters that had absolutely no point in the story. I want the 2 hours of my life back that I wasted on this book. AVOID!
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.
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