Book Review - The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card
As part of the Amazon Vine review program, I got a copy of Orson Scott Card's latest effort titled The Lost Gate. I was torn on selecting this one. On one hand, I really like Card's Ender series, and he is a great storyteller. On the other hand, I'm really not much into the fantasy genre. But it's good to keep an open mind, and in this case it worked out well. The Lost Gate is a fun read that does a fine job in taking mages and dropping into the modern day world that the rest of us inhabit.
Danny North is a young teenager being raised in a compound consisting of an extended family of mages who have slowly lost power over the years. Long ago, Loki locked all the gates between this world and their homeland of Westil, and the family's current state is but a mere shadow of their past power and glory without the gates to strengthen them. The only way this could be altered is by a gatemage, someone who can open gates in space to magically move from one location to another regardless of distance. But gatemages are killed off when found, as it's the only way to keep peace amongst all the families, making sure that each family remains as powerless as the others. Danny doesn't appear to have *any* mage powers at all, and the family thinks him useless. But he slowly figures out that he's able to make small leaps without knowing how or why, and then he has to make a decision... stay with the family and be killed, or escape the compound and live in the real world, knowing that all the families will still target him for elimination.
Danny leaves the compound, uses his gates to nick some real clothes from Walmart, and then hooks up with another teen who uses Danny's natural acting ability to beg money off of others. They end up in Washington DC where Danny finds others of his type who are also outcasts from their families. As his skills improve and his knowledge increases, he comes ever closer to the final showdown with the ultimate gatemage. Will he avoid the confrontation and just live life looking over his shoulder for his killers, or will he attempt to open up the gates and restore access to his homeland?
I think what made this an enjoyable read for me was the modern day setting of the story. I tend to get bored with the endless details of some made-up world, and Card avoids that by bringing everything forward into current time and surroundings. While I don't think it was meant to be, The Lost Gate has a "young adult" feel to it. Given the age of the main character and the types of situations, I kept thinking that it would appeal strongly to a youth market. But it's also a good read for adults. In addition, I can see this becoming the first of a series, much like Ender's game.
I don't think this will overtake Ender's Game as Card's best book, but it will definitely be up towards the top in my opinion...
Obtained From: Amazon Vine Review Program