Monday, March 12, 2012

And My Love/Hate Relationship with OSC Novels Continues ... *Sigh*

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Although Danny North has grown up in an isolated compound in the mountains of western Virginia, surrounded only by members of his family, he's never really felt the love. Unlike his vast collection of aunts, uncles and cousins, Danny's not special. While the rest of them practice their magical, godlike powers, he can't. Because he has none. Considering who his parents are, Danny should be the most talented member of the clan. And yet, he's not. He's a lowly, misfit drekka—a person who should have powers, but doesn't.

As Danny grows up, struggling to decide what he is and where he fits in with his strange family, he makes a startling discovery: he can create "gates," which allow him to move about the compound unnoticed, invisible. This revelation leads to an even greater understanding—Danny's not a drekka, he's the most powerful mage to enter the world in a thousand years. As a gatemage, he should be able to move between lands, between times. Danny has no idea how to actually do that, but he knows that rival clans—heck, even his own clan—wouldn't hesitate to kill him just for one shot at using his power as their own.

On the run from his family, Danny must find the answers to all the secrets that have been withheld from him, secrets about his people, his powers and, most of all, himself. Finding his way in the modern world, of which he's never really been a part, is hard enough for Danny, but with the angry, warring clans chasing him, it will become downright life-threatening. If Danny can't figure things out fast, he may lose his talent—not to mention his life—before he has a chance to understand just how powerful he really is.

Orson Scott Card books are always hit and miss for me. Some I love (Pathfinder, the Women of Genesis series), some I loathe (Ender's Game, Saints). The Lost Gate, the first entry in OSC's new Mithermages series, falls somewhere in between. While I enjoyed the idea of the book, I wasn't so impressed with its execution. I liked the beginning and end, both of which had enough action to satisfy, but got irritated with the middle, since it just got ... weird. As for the book overall, the writing is bumpy, the characters are so-so and OSC's intense world-building gets in the way of the actual story. So, yeah, I found this one disappointing. Not too surprising, considering my love/hate relationship with Card novels, but still, I always hope.

(Readalikes: Um, I don't know. Suggestions?)

Grade: C

If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG-13 for language (no F-bombs), sexual innuendo/content, violence and scenes depicting illegal drug use

To the FTC, with love: Another library fine find

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