On the Bookshelf: The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card
Book 1 of the Mithermages Trilogy
The way you can tell when you are reading a book by a real, master, storyteller is when the story seems to effortlessly unfold with every word. Those are the kinds of books that you can’t put down, the kind of books that you will open back up, even for a sentence or two, even when you know you will just have to put it right back down again. Books by true storytellers aren’t necessarily technically perfect, far from it. But in spite of their holes and other imperfections you just don’t care because you are caught up in the story, the pacing, the vision.
In The Lost Gate Orson Scott Card has created such a book.
I honestly can’t judge this book on its technical merits because I was too into the story to care enough to pay attention to them. First, I’m a sucker for fantasy books set in the modern world. Second, I have always loved mythology and the very idea of the truth behind the myth being revealed is a kind of magic in its own right. Third, if any author is going to write about a teenager in a way that isn’t going to be a knockoff of Harry Potter or Twilight, it is Orson Scott Card, the author of the best book about a kid that doesn’t read like a book about a kid; Ender’s Game.
The Lost Gate is the story of ancient gods made real. The main character, Danny North, is a member of the magical family that gave rise to the ancient gods of the Norse. Odin and Thor still walk the earth, though in very different ways from ancient times. They along with members of other families descended from the various pantheons of gods still constantly war among themselves, but their powers have faded and no longer do ordinary humans worship them as gods and join them as their proxies. These magical families have lost the Gate to their home and source of power, Westil, a gate stolen more than a thousand years ago by a gatemage of the North family, Loki. After Loki stole the gates, all of the families agreed that should any gatemage appear among the families, they would be killed, for they would be far too dangerous. Danny North discovers he is a gatemage and now must flee for his life as he learns to control a power lost in legend that nobody can teach him from experience to control.
Gee, another trilogy to add to my never-shorter antilibrary of books that haven’t even been published yet.
(Authors Note: In linking to Orson Scott Card’s personal website I learned that he suffered a mild stroke on the first of the year. My thoughts are with you and I wish you a speedy recovery sir.)