Friday, March 25, 2011

The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card ****

Adolescence and isolation and angst combine to form the basis, should I say cliched basis, of so many novels, it takes an accomplished story teller like Orson Scott Card (author of the perennial high-school favorite Ender's Game) to provide a fresh view on these sensitive years.

Danny North has run away from home. His parents want to kill because he has no magical powers, but if he lets them see his powers, they will have to kill him. During his travels, he explores his emerging sexuality, his responsibility to take care of himself, and the difficulties in knowing who to trust and who is a real friend.

In The Lost Gate, Card constructs a world of mages and gods and gates to other realms from a mixture of the old gods like Loki and Zeus and his own magic. But his literary magic goes beyond world creation, it includes his eye for details, like the ultimate embarrassment and terror in the gym class where students are expect to climb a rope.

However all of Card's wonderful characters and details and fabulous world building could not save this book from the death trap of so much science fiction. The introspective and endless self-examination - no action - no conflict - no plot - just exposition about its internal machinations - how does a mage manipulate a gate? endless disclosure and consideration.

If have never read Card, start with Ender's Game. If you love him, this is more of the same and you'll love this too.

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