Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Lost Gate: By Orson Scott Card



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 is one of the most well regarded authors in both science fiction and fantasy. He’s won numerous awards, written multiple New York Times Bestselling novels, and is the only American author to win both the Hugo and Nebula awards in consecutive years. I personally was introduced to Card’s books when my 10th grade English teacher assigned Ender’s Game as a reading assignment. That was my first science fiction book I ever read but to this day I claim it’s still one of the best science fiction books I’ve seen.

Unlike his Ender’s Game series, The Lost Gate is in the fantasy genre. It follows Danny, a boy who grows up among a group of mages so powerful they were once known as the gods of old. Now centuries later their powers have dramatically decreased since the source of their power was cut off by a powerful gatemage. Because of this the gods of old banned to banned together to capture and kill and gatemage that came into existence. Unfortunately for Danny, he just so happens to be one. As he flees his home, Danny travels across the country, meeting every type of person from common high schoolers, to hoodlums, to other sects of mages. Now with Danny on the run he has to figure out how to control his powers before the all powerful Gate Thief steals them, or even worse his family catches up… and kills him.

While I liked the system of magic created in The Lost Gate, what I found most disappointing were the characters. I felt many of the minor characters were poorly crafted and unrealistic. Some of the side characters such as (V) are so poorly developed and unnecessary to the story that readers have to wonder why Card put them in their in the first place.

Of course that said The Lost Gate is the first book in a series, and because of this these characters that I felt were contained unrealistic dialog or were unnecessary to the story might yet develop or blossom in importance to the plot. Also because it’s the first book in a series readers will be left with a number of burning questions, causing a sense of dissatisfaction when the book is finally put down.

Now that said, this is still Orson Scott Card writing this series, and so I have held him to a higher standard. The story is still engaging, the system of magic intriguing, and the speed of the plot moving a brisk pace. Not only that but Card fits a large number of details and past information into this first book without seriously detracting from the story, a feat not every author could pull off.

And so because of the lack of development and unrealistic minor character dialog, as well as the brisk plot, engaging story line, and intriguing system of magic I would have to say that this is an interesting book that can be read but until the next book in the series comes out, it is still waiting final judgment on the series.

7.5 out of 10


Publisher: Tor Books

Published: January 4, 2011

Price: $24.99

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