Title: The Lost Gate
Author: Orson Scott Card
Release Date: January 4, 2011
Source: Curled Up With a Good Book
Rating: 4 out of 5
The Lost Gate is the story of Danny North, a descendent of two of the greatest mages who has shown no power or skill of his own. He lives on a compound in Virginia with his extended family, separated from the rest of the world. After all, the world doesn’t know that mages exist, and that there used to be a Great Gate from Earth to a place called Westil, where mages would draw their power from. But since Loki the trickster closed all the gates centuries ago, the mages have lived in exile on Earth, trying to plot a return to Westil in order to gain an advantage over everyone else. However, the only people who can reestablish that connection to Westil through a Great Gate are killed before they have a chance. Gatemages are too dangerous to exist. When Danny realizes that the reasons his powers haven’t manifested is because he is a gatemage, his entire life changes in a flash.
Orson Scott Card has created a magical world that exists in parallel to our own in The Lost Gate. Life as we know it is going on, oblivious to the mage wars and the fact that what the mages want most is to grasp more power for themselves in order to subjugate humanity. Danny is thrust into the middle of this struggle. On one hand, he has little loyalty to his family because they have treated him so poorly over the course of the years. However, he knows that he is valuable, and if he manages to stay alive, he holds the power of worlds in his hands. The mythology of The Lost Gate is excellent; Card creates a rich and vibrant world with a fascinating history that readers will be eager to explore.
Adult readers may find Danny a bit frustrating at the beginning of the book. He is just a child, after all, and thrust into a situation he doesn’t understand. He responds to everything through tricks and takes little seriously. He doesn’t realize the extent of his powers, and refuses to consider how important they are, instead taking on a friend who drags him down and resorts to petty crime because it makes him feel powerful. However, over the course of the novel, Danny begins to realize what is important and curbs his childish behavior.
If you are looking for a solid fantasy novel and have never read anything by Orson Scott Card, The Lost Gate is definitely a good place to start. It’s not too heavy or technical, and provides a fun reading experience. The length will also be agreeable to those who aren’t too well versed in the fantasy genre. Ender’s Game fans, however, may find The Lost Gate lacking. The story is a little too whimsical at times and doesn’t take itself seriously enough, given the gravity of the situations Danny finds himself in. If, like me, you have little to compare it to, you’ll likely enjoy this book.
The Lost Gate is an interesting start to the Mither Mages series, and it sets the groundwork for what will be a game-changing sequel. Though the book was slow at times, it was an engaging read that fantasy and non-fantasy fans will both appreciate.