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?"
I loved the first, and the beginning of this started out good, but I am not gonna finish, and I never do that. I'm stopping at chapter 18 after hoping it was gonna pick up... it is only getting worse.
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
I want to know about the adult characters, and the world their from. What's the motivation of the bad guy, he has no purpose other than just being a jerk to the universe.
Card created a pretty unique world with and interesting take on all the world religions. The story and concept are what I liked the most. There are adult characters that are very intriguing who I think would make for much more interesting a story.
What I didn't care too much for were the young characters and their interactions which is 90% of the book. The main character, Danny North, is morally ambiguous from the start but not very interesting. His friends in high school spend most of their time as a sounding board for Danny to make his moral judgments. This results in an inordinate amount of time spent listening to high schoolers stand around discussing logic and philosophies far beyond them interspersed with fart and sex jokes.
The first book isn't that bad, but by the time you get to the third you find yourself wanting to hit fast forward through these interactions.
This trilogy is one of OSC’s better works. I get annoyed with the paragraph after paragraph of character introspection that OSC has gravitated towards. The “character development” adds nothing to the story except to make what should be one great book into three boring books. Except for a couple of chapters this story is clean and moves along well.
That being said it felt like OSC didn’t know how to end the story. There were loose ends left open, and the magic system felt like it was breaking down into nonsense. None of the loose ends were plot flaws and in the end the magic system held up though, so it is a good read.
If you like OSC I recommend this trilogy
Why choose tampons? That was unnecessary!!! Your writing has gone downhill fast!!! Not sure I'll read another of your books.
Orson Scott Cards writing is ALWAYS superb, even this novel was well written. But (and as Orson Scott Card discussed in the 'epilogue') he dove largely into explaining the science' part of this science-fiction novel. And he balanced it well, it's just that the bulk of it seemed to be very dogmatic at times exhibiting an inner-turmoil to walk right up to the line of blaspheme and then turn away--given the knowledge that Orson Scott Card is a member of Mormon Church-LDS. I know it is fiction, but it seemed SO DEVELOPED that at times it felt like I was reading one man's personal indoctrination manual for either Scientology 101 or post-Mormonism and done so from within the midst of drug-induced haze.
The other aspect was that some of the 'theology' seemed to parallel that which was referenced in the Ender's series--particularly 3rd and 4th books; sort of a re-gifting of an underlying ideal but simply a different setting and characters.
Personally, I always viewed the Mormon faith of the 1800's as simply a precursor for Scientology of the 1900's... this book eerily bridged that unintended gap. It was either that or it felt like the story should have been narrated by Cheech & Chong... like oh wow, man.
(maybe a little bit of both)
Narration was great as it was in the book before, again, the pacing and tempo between these two good narrators could be better blended to compliment as contrast.
And as in the first book, this book was only the second part to a three part novel.
"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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