Monday, January 24, 2011

Book Review: The Lost Gate

Dan North knows from early childhood that his family is different — and that the differences are secrets that can never be told. This contemporary Urban Fantasy introduces the North family, a clan of mages in exile in our world, and their enemies who will do anything to keep them locked here.

--From Goodreads

Cover Inspection:
My first thought was as to why there is a book on the cover when I initially saw it. Were books the gates? I could understand that! Still, the cover totally drew me in. I won't lie, I was smitten from moment one.

First Thoughts:
Poor Danny, he seems like he is so misunderstood.


My Review:
When I hear the term "Master Storyteller", my thoughts always end at Orson Scott Card. From the time that my twelve year old self picked up the first Ender's Saga book, I was obsessed with his writing. Card is an expert at weaving magic and science into stories that are so wholly immersing, that climbing back out at the end of the book is a bit of a letdown. Sure, the stories he writes are sometimes terrifying, but also completely beautiful. I would stay in them forever if I could. The Lost Gate is no exception to this rule.

From the moment that I met Danny North and his eccentric family of Gods, I was hooked in. Danny is the type of character that can be a little awkward, is definitely smart-mouthed, but who the reader can watch grow as the story goes on. As a young boy who doesn't yet know what his powers are, or if he has any at all for that matter, growing up in a family of mages is tough. Danny shows himself to be resourceful and witty, and I fell in love with him from the beginning. Following his journey towards finding and understanding his true self was pure magic for me.

As for supporting characters, the cast follows the rule of all of fantasy and science fiction stories. The reader will get to meet and enjoy many characters that both help and hinder Danny along his way. Each character is fully fleshed out and so vivid. I'm sure you'll find yourself falling in love with even the smallest supporting character. In this case though, as only Card can do, there is a parallel story that takes place alongside Danny's. I won't ruin the surprise, it is entirely too much fun to find out on your own. Instead I will say to you that these two stories meshed so perfectly, entwined so beautifully, that it never seemed to me I was reading the stories of two separate people at all. It was fascinating.

Plot-wise, this book moves at a very consistent and well-written pace. There is a pressing, yet hidden, danger that follows Danny everywhere that he goes. As the story progresses, Card allows us to watch Danny grow into his own. That was definitely my favorite part of the story. Danny has the unfortunate burden of having to navigate both the trials of being an adolescent, and the tribulations that come along with being part of a family of mages. Danny's journey is one that, although I could not connect fully with due to the magic aspect, anyone can connect with based on his sheer confusion over how to become a responsible adult.

The Lost Gate really does have it all. The value of friendship, serving others, giving in to vices, betrayal, all of this and more is present in this book. To say that it has depth is even an understatement! I'll be honest. Now that I'm finished I have no other desire than to get another Orson Scott Card book into my hands. His work is one that can never be duplicated and I for one am quite glad that is true. I eagerly await hearing more about Danny and the other mages!

Book Details
Title: The Lost Gate (Mithermages #1)
Author: Orson Scott Card
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: Hardcover; 400
Source: Received from publisher.
FTC Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Final Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart


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