I have been a fan of Orson Scott Card since I first read Ender's Shadow in high school. Then I proceeded to read almost every Ender book available to me - and still, to this day, will pick up a new one whenever it comes out. I love the fullness of the world that Card is able to create with his novels. Sure, there are about a billion Ender books at this point, and that makes it easier to create a world. But when I look back to the first time I read Ender's Shadow (and the parallel - and theoretically the first in the series - Ender's Game) I was so infatuated by the world in that one book that I'm sure it's just something about how Card writes. He's able to create a world that could exist within out own, even though it's an amazing work of science fiction.
Card does the same thing with The Lost Gate - the first book in his newest series called The Mither Mages. In this book the main character, Danny North, knows that the world he lives in with his family is different from the world around him. More than that, he knows that he is different from the rest of his family. Their home is in the isolated mountains in West Virginia far away from any other people and things like schools or stores.
While Danny's cousins are busy perfecting their outself - a projection of their being - Danny cannot do even the most basic of magic. Danny was worried that he would never show any talent for magic, and therefore be an outcast among his family. He read and learned the books in their family library - written in a large number of foreign and ancient languages - as well as all the other practices of the family.
However, Danny eventually learns that he has the power of a Gate Mage - the highest and most fearsome power of all the mages. In ancient times Loki, the great trickster and greatest Gate Mage, sealed off access to the other worlds so that access to magic would be cut off and the magic on earth would diminish. Because of this any Gate Mage born is sentenced to death as soon as his powers are revealed. Danny, once his powers are revealed, is therefore forced to flee his former life and go on the run from his family and all that he has known. Forced to fend for himself in the normal world, Danny comes into his own and gathers a small group of friends and people he trusts.
There is also a parallel story in the novel where a man who had been trapped inside a tree escaped from his prison with no understanding of who he is or where he came from. The only thing he knows for certain is that he, like Danny, has the powers of a Gate Mage and that he needs to remember something very important from his previous life.
I enjoyed this book quite a bit. It was nowhere as good as the Ender series, by any means, but it was still really good. It was neat to read a book where Card had his characters work with magic and to see how he fit that into his real-world feeling of his books. It's always awesome when an author is able to make magic feel like a perfectly normal aspect of life. It did feel a little over-worked in parts, but I think it was more a result of trying to get a lot of information out in the first novel and a desire to get the series up to a certain point for the second book. I'm interested to see where the boy in the tree becomes more integrated into the rest of the story.
Author: Orson Scott Card
Date Finished: 9 August 2012
First Line: Danny North grew up surrounded by fairies, ghosts, talking animals, living stones, walking trees, and gods who called up wind and brought down rain, made fire from air and drew iron out of the depths of the earth as easily as ordinary people might draw up water from a well.
Favorite Line: Might-have-beens are a bitch.
Last Line: tbd
Recommended: If you're a fan of science fiction and OSC then this is the book for you! I enjoyed it!