Monday, March 28, 2016

Book Review: The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card

So obviously, I'm late to the Orson Scott Card party. I didn't realize this was the Ender's Game guy when I picked this book up from the library based almost exclusively on the cover. Magical sparkles coming from a book? Yes, please.
Here's the Goodreads summary:
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.

This is one of those books where I would have been sorely frustrated by the Goodreads summary had a actually read it ahead of time. Here's the real summary, a la Kenya The Boss Lady.

This book is about a young boy who has grown up in a family of mages descended from the old gods. Everyone has been cut off from their home- world by the old trickster and are shadows of their previous godly selves. Danny is more than useless, having shown no affinity for magic in all his early years and basically being a smarty pants brat while being the butt of all the family jokes. But low and behold, he discovers a magic deep within himself. He must take to the world of muggles, I mean non-magical humans, and attempt to fend for himself while avoiding being captured by those who would use his power for themselves. And there are people that would use him from among both the magical and the nonmagical people that he meets. What I love about Danny, over some other pre-pubescent wizards, is that he is actually struggling to figure out how to be a good person. Of course, I'm also a sucker for stories where adults show up and teach a young person that not all grown ups are assholes. :ahem: like The Weasleys :ahem:

There's a second story running along side the main one, out of time sync, I think, but maybe not. We don't know for sure who the main character of this second tale is for the majority of the story, though we have our suspicions. We just know he is called Wad (as in Wad of Dough!) and he is in a bit over his head in his friendship with The Queen no matter how strong a mage he thinks he is.

I am up to my eyeballs in love with this story. I'm sure I am missing all the important things that better reviewers than me could critique for you. I'll leave you to find those elsewhere. I'm off to find the second book.

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