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.
©2011 Orson Scott Card (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"[T]his ambitious tale is well crafted, highly detailed, and pleasantly accessible." (Publishers Weekly)
“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.” ¯ Mark Twain
I have to admit, I liked the general idea that families with magic in a world typically without magic could explain the mythological and supernatural. Thus a great sea mage would be seen as Poseidon and a fading clant would explain ghosts. I found the whole concept to be intriguing and the writing style was easy to listen to.
However, I didn't care for the story itself. First, there were just too many convenient coincidences and the explanations were week at best. Second, none of the primary characters were likable in the least. It was just hard to care what happened to them, even by the end. Finally, the whole thing felt like an elaborate setup for the next book. I haven't read any of Card's other books, so I can't say if this is typical of his writing, but I won't be seeking out the next one in this series.
I have been a big fan of Card's in the past, and I always considered his writing to be top notch. This, however, was disappointing. He overexplained things; he took the maxim "show 'em, don't tell 'em" to "show 'em, tell 'em, and then tell 'em again just in case they were too stupid to get it the first two times." I mean, how many times do I need to be reminded that a Gate Mage will always have a talent for languages? I got it, already.
Orson Scott Card is a phenomenal author and even in this book his gifts are obvious. There is much to like about the story, the magic is intriguing, the two worlds are interesting and original. I felt, however, like I was looking at a series of Norman Rockwell type paintings but instead on focusing on what might have been endearing, they characterized the cheap, and tawdry side of humanity. I couldn't identify with or even like the hero - he had no moral compass but rather tried to create his own. There were several pointless vignettes that I felt were out of place in the story. Had this been written by someone else I'd have given it 3.5 stars but for a man of Card's talent, this was a dud in my book.
54-year-old community college IT instructor. Over 500 titles in "My Library."
I listened to the entire story. One of the problems I had was with the characters. I just couldn't get interested in their goals or challenges. None of them were appealing to me. In the end, I didn't care about them. So, I don't feel a desire to continue following the story in a sequel.
I enjoyed Ender's Game, which is science fiction and military strategy. I understood that The Lost Gate was something very different: a story that contained magic, fantasy, and a mingling of different worlds. I can enjoy those kind of stories. For example, I am about to listen to the third book in Terry Brooks' Magic Kingdom of Landover series.
The Lost Gate never engaged me emotionally. It tried to engage me mentally with the concept of "gates." But I found that the topic just wasn't that interesting to me.
The primary narrator is the same one from Ender's Game. He has a very deep voice. I don't remember that bothering me for the military setting of Ender's Game. For The Lost Gate, though, I had a problem. The main character is a young teenage boy. There are a number of female characters. I thought his voice was too deep for most of the characters he voiced.
My ratings for books are usually very close to the overall average. I only choose to listen to books that have an overall rating of at least 4. Rarely do I give a rating this low. So, I'm not with the majority on this one. And in looking at the ratings, there are a significant number of listeners that rated this book at a 3 or lower.
So, not everyone agrees with the many overly positive reviews you see written on The Lost Gate. I did not find the story "fun" or "amazing." But I'm happy other people enjoyed the listen and I wish Orson Scott Card the best with the series.
The beginning was interesting, but soon the book lost its pace and I lost interest. Nothing like Ender's series - to boring and predictable for adults and too racy for kids.
This was an excellent book. While, as others have observed, the story is clearly not the same as either of American Gods or Harry Potter, it has a feel or atmosphere with the best elements of both. The themes in this book also have some commonality with both. In any event, in deference to Card, his story seems to have much earlier conceptual roots than either of the other two. I found this book to be every bit as enjoyable (so far) as Ender, although the genre is different in that this book is not Sci Fi.
I appreciated the warning given by some of the other reviewers that this book does not complete the story. It is a beginning, and a great one at that. Still, it was good to listen to the book with that expectation in mind.
Stefan Rudnicki and Emily Janice Card were exceptional narrators. Stefan Rudnicki did the Enders series books as well. Any story he reads almost automatically goes up a star in my mind. Emily Card also did some of the narration in Ender in Exile. I very much enjoyed listening to her performance, and after hearing her narrate this book, I will be looking for more material where she is a narrator.
Book was very entertaining, not quite as good as Ender's Game, but depending on how the series progresses could be a great series. Guess have to wait for the next book in a year or so.
Did you love Ender's Game?
Are you interested in seeing what the YA/fantasy genre has to offer?
Do you love stories about tricksters?
Are you interested in seeing people and creatures from myth living and interacting in the modern age?
Do you want to read a book that makes you think or keeps you on the edge of your seat?
If so...DO NOT READ THIS BOOK.
Seriously you guys, I'm finally done with the thing, but the whole my face has looked like I was sucking lemons and smelling sour eggs. It was just a weird weird book. I really wanted to like it, and I did until Danny ran away. Once he left the compound he turned into a raging asshole with sex issues.
This book has a lot of gross underage sexual stuff, and not like "Oh he kissed a girl and that was nice" or "She was in a bikini and it made him feel strange" but Danny legitimately gets molested by an older lady when he's around 12(?) and NOBODY CARES. They tease him about ‘liking’ the fact that she started trying to have sex with him and in the same passage they talk about how inappropriate it was that she MOLESTED HIM. Combine that with Danny’s constant worrying about pedophiles, taking off his pants whenever he gets in trouble (wtf?!?) and Wad’s whole mess of a sexual/baby-making storyline and this book just has more issues than even Kinsey could figure out.
I've been listening to this book at home in the evenings and my husband will start bitching about how awful this book is, so you know, it's not just 'cause I'm a ~lady~ and have delicate sensibilities or anything. It has serious problems with the way sex and puberty is discussed.
*From a classroom point of view, what grade level is this? I wouldn't even read this with high schoolers due to fear of parent outrage.
I thought this book was horrible.
Unless maybe you are 16 or younger. It would make a good "young adult" or teen story.
The narrator Stephan Rudnicki only makes it worse. His deep, monotonous tone had almost ruined the 'Ender' series for me so I see no reason to suffer through this one. He must be a friend of the author. (Clearly the female co-narrator is related and I don't care for her either).
I have to admit I am not a fan of teen hero books and this was made worse because I never cared about the hero! At least in the Ender series you like Ender! Here, Danny is really annoying and to make matters worse he is inconsistent to fit Card's requirements. One minute he is winning a philosophical conversation with an adult by saying: "oh how egalitarian of you; not a minute later, he apparently cannot grasp another concept and whines 'I can't understand this I'm only 13!" This happens over and over throughout the book.
I suppose if the book were even remotely exciting or interesting I may have given it a third star but it is hours and hours of 'set up' for the series and nothing happens until the last hour of the book.
Of course the coup de grace comes at the end when we get to listen to the authors 'afterword' to egotistically tell us why he wrote this book.
No matter how many stars everyone else gave, I recommend avoiding this book and use your credits elsewhere.
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