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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.
While Orson Scott Card has already written any number of coming of age stories, he proves once again that he can breath new life into the subject. The story is entertaining from start to finish and promises to jump start a dedicated series to OSC's Mithermage's world, instead of just the small snippets given in short stories and the novella Stonefather. I should admit here that I am a bit biased toward Card's work since he has been among my favorite authors since I read Ender's Game in High School. But the largest complaint that I have with Lost Gate is that I'll have to wait for the sequel.
87 of 92 people found this review helpful
This is the first Orson Scott Card title that I've listened or read. For a new listener to Orson Scott Card, this book seems a good start. I really enjoyed the way that he brought two story lines together. The character development of Danny North (cough... Stone) was good. It is the story of Wad, the man from the tree, that made the book excellent. When the story of these two main characters come together, the table is set for endless possibilities. This is the point where you are left. What will happen from here? I can't wait to see how Card lays out the rest of the table for a feast in Westil, the new fantasy world, linked to our world, Mittlegard.
One remark about the mythology Card uses, I don't really think he understands the interconnectedness between the Semitic mythology, the Indo-European mythologies. Yet, the story is about the "children of children" of gods and how men caught up with the ancient gods. It is a story of ethics and the motivation behind it.
About the narrators - Stefan Rudnicki reminded me a bit of Neil Gaiman (listen to his narration of his book, "The Graveyard Book") who reads in much the same way. Their voices are very much the same, deep... and dark. However, Rudnicki does an excellent job, although I had some difficulty hear the women as women, especially remembering which one of Danny's "new parents" was who, as they have names that can be used by males and females. I still enjoyed his inflection, feeling and the life he brought to the story.
Emily Janice Card was a pleasant surprise for me. I couldn't hear anything wrong with her breathing, though her thick American accent may have to do with it. She is clear, and when she acts out a boy's voice, she is SPOT ON.
Don't expect the first book of a serious to be the best. In this case it is however, one of the best first books I've listened to. I understand that the story "Stonefather" is also set in the mithermages realm. It is available here at Audible, my next listen!
50 of 55 people found this review helpful
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.
82 of 93 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
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.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
I've never read anything from Orson Scott Card before, but decided to give this book a chance. It was different, combining a thriller with sci-fi and fantasy. There are two separate stories intertwined between our world and a lost world of gods. Both stories were very interesting, and I assume they will wrapped into one story as the series progresses.
The main character of the book is a very likable boy who learns that he has magic powers, and spends much of this book learning how to use them. Other characters in the book are likable as well. Overall this was a very good start to this series.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful
I've been a nearly twenty-year fan of Card's, have read almost everything he's published. The Lost Gate wasn't his best. I did like it, though, but I miss classic Speaker for the Dead Card, or Seventh Son Card. He seems to have lost something... his books just aren't as deep as they used to be. Still worth a credit, so try it out if you love his other work.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful
What would have made The Lost Gate better?
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.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful
I read a few reviews from people on this site and amazon. They tried to compare The Lost Gate to the Enders Game series. They said Ender's Game was better. However, I cannot agree. Don't get me wrong we named my son and daughter ender and valentine (middle names). So we love Enders game very much.
The Lost Gate was just different than Enders Game. First its a fantasy book. Which is the most obvious difference. Danny the main character was every bit as likable as Ender Wiggin. I am not going to do this book justice in the form of a "great review". My opinion as it stands is this is a truly awesome story. Anxiously awaiting the next book.
25 of 30 people found this review helpful
The only complaint I have is that the story went too quickly and was over too soon for me. I have listened to the entire Ender series on Audiobook, so the narration was no surprise and completely enjoyable to me. Stefan and Emily are 2 voices that I enjoy, so it's easy to appreciate if you know their voices already. Remembering the work involved in the creation of the characters, worlds and ideas of the Ender series, the dead LAST thing this reminded me of was Harry Potter. Harry is a young boy....Danny is a young boy..end of similarity. Card expands on how his history came to be at the end of this first book. I am looking forward to the next installment! Atta boy, Scott!
15 of 18 people found this review helpful
This is a difficult review, as I bought this book to review, because I liked the book the first time I listened to it when it first came out. This time while listening, I found like Maryann, that Card overly explains everything. Before every action, we get the characters total thoughts. "if I do this, this will happen, or if I do that, that will happen, or, or, or" For God sake do it already. I've opined about it in other Card reviews, his early works and his short fiction are genius, but his stuff of late, is overly thought out and overly explained. The story often gets lost in the detailed explaining.
I am a fan of Rudnicki and Card Jr., but this reading was almost insulting. This being a YA book, these two decided to use a tone that felt like talking down.
I liked this the first time around and hated the second time, I don't know if I have changed or what, sorry if my confliction confuses you, for I know I am confused.
32 of 40 people found this review helpful
I couldn't really get into this, and I'm sure a plot point where gates are opened that can teleport you to other locations, has been used in a Dean Koontz book.
A young boy jumps through said gates to evade his parents as it has been decreed that anyone born with his gate making abilities has to be killed. There was a whole subplot about Loki and other mystical folk, but I didn't really get it.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful