I don’t often get a chance to read too many brand new books, but I was lucky enough to get an advance reader’s copy of Mr. Card’s newest book. This book combines mythology, fantasy & magic, and a coming-of-age story, and is set in modern day America. It’s sure to be compared to the Harry Potter series, the Percy Jackson series and to Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.
Danny North is a family outcast who’s been ridiculed and picked on his whole life. Not, as is the case with Harry Potter, because he can do strange and magical things, but because he can’t. The North family, now settled in rural Virginia, is actually descended from the Norse gods, including Odin, Thor and Loki. Fourteen hundred years ago, Loki stole all of the gates between our world, and that of Westil. Travel between the gates of these two worlds is what gave the gods their immense power. This is true for not only the Norse gods, but also the Greeks, Egyptians and all the other ancient gods. Since the gates were stolen these families of gods have had their power diminish over the centuries. There is now an uneasy truce between the families, and as part of the truce, the families have also killed anyone born with a talent as a gatemage (one who can magically control gates), which both ensures that no one family will ever increase their own power, yet keeps the magic of all the families very limited. Somehow, Danny just might be the first person in over fourteen centuries to be able to solve that little problem; as long as he can survive his own family, that is.
The novel also alternates chapters with the story of the people and kingdoms of Westil, which is more like a typical medieval-type Fantasy world. Many of the inhabitants can perform one form of magic or another, although some cannot. There is political intrigue with plots, conspiracies, scheming and murder. Even those with magical powers are not immune, and one of the main characters, Wad, ponders that “magery doesn’t change the fact that ultimately the only way to stop a man is to threaten to kill him … or kill him outright.” The King of Iceway is married to a woman from the land of Gray, after a great war between their nations. The Queen has never been trusted by the Iceweigians, and amidst the plots and counter-plots the threat of war depends upon her being able to sire an heir. This is no easy task when the king spends all of his “free time” with his not-so-secret mistress. Watching all of this is Wad, a young man who is actually very, very old, although he can’t quite remember that other life he once had.
My only teeny-tiny complaint is that I wish the book didn’t end quite so abruptly. Perhaps the first few chapters of the next book would have added something to the ending of this book. But, that just means I’ll be eagerly awaiting the next in Mr. Card’s new Mithermages series!
So, will Danny be able to restore the lost gate to Westil? And what will the state of affairs in the kingdom of Iceway be in if he gets there?
Find and request The Lost Gate in our catalog to find out.