Fabulous Fantasy: The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card

16 09 2011

Self-Imposed Summer Reading Book #6: The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know one thing is for certain: I am a slow blogger.  But I intend to write this post faster than Orson Scott Card completed the absolutely wonderful book I’m reviewing.  Over 20 years in the making (though certainly not all active time) I believe helped Card to define the world that Danny North is born into.  The mythology involves legendary gods now living in isolated clusters on Earth–the Norths are poor, living in Virginia like backwater hicks with a lot of power at their fingertips.  Also, the family functions somewhat like the mafia especially when it comes to gate mages, a kind of mage that has been outlawed and will be killed once discovered.  Somehow, when Card describes all of this through Danny’s eyes, it works a lot better than when I describe it.  (That’s why he writes the books, I just write the reviews.)

Danny starts out with no powers at all–he’s the outcast in his family.  Can this really be a book about a powerless kid?  *mild spoiler* Of course not.  The ones who start out powerless usually wind up being the most powerful and Danny North is no exception.  Then he has to learn to use his powers, always entertaining and here it really helps to move the plot along.  It moves Danny along on his quest to *this would be really spilery, I am not including his purpose.*  Rest assured, the quest is intriguing and seems impossible–making it even more intriguing.  But despite these predictable elements, the story as a whole is not predictable.  It feels new.  To me, that’s the mark of a great novel.

In between the chapters about Danny, there is a completely different story involving a guy named Wad and a castle and all the usual political intrigue involved in castle stories.   Ignore the name Wad (it’s terrible but you’ll understand if you read the book).  Even if you aren’t a big fan of castle fantasy stories and political intrigue, I can promise you this feels different.  It feels classic.  Lots of good feelings about this book!  Even now, as I blog about it about a month since I turned the last page.

Bottom line: Really fabulous fantasy with a classic feel.  I hope it doesn’t take Card another 20 years to write the next book in the series.

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