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Monday, September 24, 2012

Audible Book Review: The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card

This is a fine fantasy for YA and older audiences, but not quite what I expected.
The Lost Gate: Mithermages, Book 1


  • by Orson Scott Card

  • Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki, Emily Janice Card

  •   Series: Mithermages, Book 1

  • LENGTH: 12 hrs and 21 mins
    PROGRAM TYPE: Audiobook
    PUBLISHER: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
    Genre: Fantasy
    My Rating: 3.75 of 5.0

    Publisher's 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.
    Orson Scott Card, a New York Times best-selling author, has won several Hugo and Nebula Awards for his works of speculative fiction. He lives with his family in Greensboro, North Carolina.

    ©2011 Orson Scott Card (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

    Danny at first appears to be a “drekka” or un-magical human. He can’t do a lot of the magic that his cousins can do but he is an excellent student and he is great at languages. At eleven years old he begins to worry that his family may decide he is useless. Then one day he discovers he is a gate maker -- he can think himself to places he has been and suddenly he is there. A gatemage is one of the most powerful and wonderful magics except that it is forbidden! His elders will surely kill him if they discover this so he must leave to hide in the world of outsiders.

    Danny makes some awkward friends in the human world as he tries to learn more about his powers. As we follow Danny’s adventures–or misadventures–there is another gatemage introduced in a far away world. After he wanders into a castle “Wad” is adopted by the King’s cook who thinks perhaps Wad has lost his gating abilities to the Gate Thief. Wad has not lost his abilities but keeps that secret. He has a very old past that he can’t remember but he begins to hope for a future. Wad believes he has everything under control until he becomes caught up in political intrigue of the King, Queen, allies and enemies. There is a connection between Wad and Danny that the reader will suspect but it won't be disclosed until near the end of the book.

    I liked Danny a lot and loved the mystery of the gate making. I enjoyed the friends he met who ultimately became his family and helped him to learn the secrets of locking and unlocking the gates. There is a lot of the magic but there was repetition in the process of learning the secrets of the gates and that dragged things along more than needed. I have to admit that by the end of this book I'm undecided about seeking the next one in the series.

    The reading was done well with a good modulation for the voices and emotions. The gate building might have been a bit clearer in a print version but a listener can get the import of it fine without hurting the story.  This is a story I might not have picked up if it wasn’t offered in Audible, but that is more a personal choice. 

    I liked the concept of this story and thought it would be good to listen to on a long drive with my daughter and eight year old grandson.  I am glad that my grandson was busy playing on his Xbox because this would not have been appropriate for him.  There is some bad language and there is some minor sexual interaction  involving a 13-14 year old boy that my daughter and I thought was totally unnecessary. I think my disappointment in the tale resulted from my incorrect expectation that the material would be acceptable for a younger audience level.  As long as you are reading this for older teens (YA) and above then I think it is a fine fantasy story.

     This was from my own Audible Library shelf.  
    I will add this to my Audio Challenge List.

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