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The Lost Gate Mass Market Paperback – Nov 29 2011

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Fantasy; Reprint edition (Nov. 29 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765365383
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765365385
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 3.2 x 17.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #54,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“This ambitious tale is well crafted, highly detailed, and pleasantly accessible.” ―Publishers Weekly

“The author of Ender's Game brings his masterful storytelling to a new series that should find favor among his many fans as well as readers looking for more stories in the Harry Potter vein.” ―Library Journal

The Lost Gate is without question a fun and entertaining journey that readers will definitely want to continue. I for one, can't wait to read more about Danny, Wad, gate magic, and the Mither Mages...” ―Fantasy Book Critic

“Card is a formidable storyteller with many strengths, particularly that of making the reader like and identify with his protagonists. He shows us that whether a boy is the offspring of ancient gods or some nascent military genius, he's still subject to the same self-doubt and awkwardness we remember from our own childhood efforts to understand and cope with a sometimes alien-seeming world.” ―The Miami Herald

About the Author

Orson Scott Card is the author of the novels Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, and Speaker for the Dead. Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead both won Hugo and Nebula Awards, making Card the only author to win these two top prizes in consecutive years. There are seven other novels to date in The Ender Universe series. Card has also written fantasy: The Tales of Alvin Maker is a series of fantasy novels set in frontier America; his most recent novel, The Lost Gate, is a contemporary magical fantasy. Card has written many other stand-alone SF and fantasy novels, as well as movie tie-ins and games, and publishes an internet-based science fiction and fantasy magazine, Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show. Card was born in Washington and grew up in California, Arizona, and Utah. He served a mission for the LDS Church in Brazil in the early 1970s. Besides his writing, Card directs plays and teaches writing and literature at Southern Virginia University. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Kristine Allen Card, and youngest daughter, Zina Margaret.

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By tomtom on Jan. 25 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have read many of Mr. Card's novels, and admired some of them tremendously: Songmaster, Ender's Game and its sequels are truly inspired and original. This one is a lame re-hash of old ideas, many of them facile and underdeveloped. Much of the dialogue is trying too hard to be cool and clever, and ends up being bitchy adolescent crap. And his later books are made more annoying, as this one is, by an author's afterward which is pompous and lecturing, perhaps to disguise the true lack of inspiration and the adolescent writing. How about some original ideas, like the descolada? I suspect Professor Card has simply lost his touch or his muse has deserted him. I am disappointed.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful By MPD readings on March 15 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
So what a surprise, Orson Scott Card did it again. In The Lost Gate, he creates a magical world that pulls you in within the first few pages and doesnt let you again out until the book ends. I read this book from front to finish in a matter of days. A bit disapointed that I have to wait for him to actually write the next book in the series to read it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 402 reviews
120 of 129 people found the following review helpful
A Boy Comes Of Age And Of Power In This Tale Of Mysticism And Magic Dec 10 2010
By K. Harris - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
In truth, I am not an avid reader of fantasy material and my forays into sci-fi territory generally tend to run to the darker side, but I've been aware of Orson Scott Card's reputation in the genre for many years (I've ALMOST bought "Ender's Game" dozens of times). I do know that OSC has done quite a bit of work in the realm of mages and mysticism in recent years, so I eagerly jumped on "The Lost Gate" as it promised to be the first of an announced "Mithermages" series. With "The Lost Gate," OSC has created an enjoyable adventure and coming-of-age story appropriate to both the adult and the young adult marketplace. Filled with likable characters and mildly dangerous scenarios, "The Lost Gate" kept me fitfully entertained and pushing through the pages.

"The Lost Gate" really tells two stories set in alternate worlds. The bulk of the book is devoted to Danny North who hails from a once powerful clan of mages living on a rural compound in contemporary America. Thought useless by most of the family, Danny soon starts to understand that he does have a power--the power of gatemaking. This is an outlawed resource, however, as the power to make gates (which grant you the ability to move almost anywhere in the simplest terms) can be exploited in the wrong hands. "The Lost Gate" presents a complicated history in which forces have eradicated ALL gatemakers and closed all existing gates. Danny is soon on the run as his ability starts to become apparent which leads him to others who seek to alternately help and/or harm him. In the parellel plane of Westil, we meet another young man with gating ability. His mysterious past keeps him aloof--but as an underling in the realm's royal workforce, he soon becomes entrenched in court politics and intrigue.

The titular Lost Gate refers to the gate that used to exist between these two worlds. This gate allowed mages to subjugate humans and build their power bases. The mages on earth have been weakening without the mystical strengthening/healing power of this gate--so to create it again would redefine their former glory. As "The Lost Gate" propels forward, it seems apparent that all roads will lead to Danny attempting to once again link the worlds. But at what cost? The novel does end well positioned for the continuation of this saga and I enjoyed "The Lost Gate" enough to seek its sequel out when the time comes.

Sometimes, however, the prose does become weighed down in what I like to think of as "Gatespeak." While the physics of gatemaking is an interesting topic, some chapters explore the theory to the point of shutting down the narrative. Overall, OSC does a good job of incorporation this technical aspect into the action--but a few passages end up quite heavy. Also, there is a lot of implied danger in Danny's journey--but it is played more as an adventurous romp than as actual danger. The tone is much darker in Westil as the narrative has real suspense and bloodshed. So the two halves never quite gelled even as I enjoyed them individually. But the primary decision of whether or not to stick it out in "The Lost Gate" is Danny, and here OSC has created an extremely likable protagonist and one that I'd follow anywhere. A fitting introduction, let's see where we go next! KGHarris, 12/10.
86 of 99 people found the following review helpful
I'm a Card fan, but this one just doesn't do it for me. March 14 2011
By Daniel Burton - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Danny is an almost orphaned child raised in a family of magical adepts, while he himself lacks the skills and talents that set his family apart from humanity. Instead, he focuses on his academic studies, absorbing history, languages, and learning at a voracious rate. One day, almost by accident, that all changes when he realizes he unexpectedly inherits magical powers long thought to be lost from the world. This discovery is a death sentence in his family, and he does the only logical thing--he runs, narrowly escaping certain death.

On his journey, he explores his new and strange magical powers, as well as the non-magical world he has been hidden from his whole life. He is a mage, descendent of the gods and goddesses man worshiped in ancient times, but he travels among normal people, finding his way among the beggars and thieves in the underworld of Washington, D.C.

Even as he does, he is hiding from his family, the descendents of gods. You see, the ancient pantheons in the Greek, Nordic, Roman, or Hindu world are really visitors to Earth, mages whose powers were amplified by their journey through magical gates between their world and Earth. Those gates were lost many centuries ago, stranding them here and weakening their powers. Now, Danny is about to find himself at the center of an ancient struggle to get back to their world, renew their powers, and regain control of the Earth as gods and goddesses. His very existence will reignite a power struggle between the modern descendents of the pantheons for the control of the gates, and he will be at the center of it.

While not an entirely original story, it is clever and creative. A young boy finds out he is not actually as normal as he thought, but is really a being of unique magical powers (like Harry Potter), the son of gods (like Percy Jackson), and those powers make him among the most powerful people in the world. Orson Scott Card brings his own flavor to the story, but it is a story that has been done better before.

Even so, The Lost Gate is full of interesting ideas. Some of the best sections are during jumps from Danny's perspective on Earth to that of another mage on the gods own world. While most of Danny's story is focused on his learning about his magic, by interweaving the alternate perspective, we catch glimpses of the greater conflict, one that began thousands of years before Danny's birth. However, the story feels rushed, and in the rush, Card's best ideas falter. Rather than flesh out the characters and plot, the story leaps from point to point, never really building on the ideas.

In short, Card's newest novel is too many good ideas and not enough time. The result is an average story by an above average author. Card's intermingling of the two perspectives and their genre blending works well, setting the stage for a war between worlds. Even as the novel closes, we have only seen glimpses of the real fight, and we know that before the tale is through (this is only the first in the series), Danny will be at the center of that conflict.

Even with those glimpses, I often felt disappointed by the story-telling itself. The plot felt jumpy and lacked tension. Even on the run for his life, Danny feels more like he is meandering than fleeing. Card lets his character out of any kind of scrape that might actually threaten him, with little or no cost. At the end of the day, we all want the hero to win, but we want the win to feel like a victory, not a foregone conclusion.

Another concern I had with The Lost Gate was Card's heavy use of info dumps. With the creation of any system of magic, an author has to explain things and fill in the reader on how things work. But Card's info dumps were constant, going so far as to feel more like a Wikipedia entry than a piece of the story. Rather than supporting the story, the story sometimes seemed to play second fiddle to the info dumps or sudden character introductions. To be sure, the world and ideas are very interesting and very creative, but the alacrity with which Card makes stuff up to fit the situation, rather than providing all the rules upfront, makes the internal logic of the story feel contrived and inconsistent. As a result, the story hurts, even while the ideas flourish.

If that was my only complaint, the story might still have been an enjoyable experience. But problems arose when Card lets his characters talk to each other. I know, right? The audacity. But rather than move the story forward, though, the characters' dialogue seems to get in the way. They argue and complain, bicker and whine...constantly. In one "memorable" scene, the characters seem to flip-flop between decisions they had already agreed upon just so that the dialogue can continue (and by "continue" I mean "argue") for another page. It makes them look inconsistent and unlikeable, not to mention irritating, and it rarely does anything to affect what we can already see is going to happen next in the plot. As a result, I could not decide whether I thought a character was unlikable, or had just been poorly scripted. In the end, I rarely felt any connection with the characters, including the protagonist, Danny.

While The Lost Gate is full of ideas and potential, for me it fell flat. I found myself frustrated that I was too far into the book to put it down, but not far enough to be done.

Last comment: at the end of the novel, Card inserts an Afterword where he explains the roots of his inspiration for The Lost Gate. After thirty years, he figured out how to work the ideas together. My concern is that while it may have had its genesis 30 years ago, the book feels like it was rushed to be finished in the last month before it went to print. While Card is not G.R.R. Martin (and nobody wants to wait as long as we already do for Martin's sequels), I do wish he would take a page out of George's book. Slow down to redraft, rewrite, and edit. With great ideas, it's worth the time, and I think it would make all the difference.
46 of 55 people found the following review helpful
A great stand alone piece of science fiction fantasy, and likely the start of a promising new series for Orson Scott Card Dec 22 2010
By Jojoleb - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Orson Scott Card is one of those rare authors who is not only prolific but continues to write incredibly creative and fascinating science fiction and fantasy. His latest book, The Lost Gate, continues in this tradition. Card has done it again: he has created a whole new world and populated it with incredibly interesting characters. When you combine this with the fact that Card is a masterful story teller, it is no surprise that this book is a real page turner. This is definitely a stand-alone book, but is clearly the beginning of another successful fantasy series for Card.

Card is at his best when he writes about children, and The Lost Gate is no exception. The Lost Gate is the story of a boy named Danny North. Danny grows up on a commune in rural Virginia where he and all of his family members are the descendants of Norse gods. But unlike his relatives, Danny doesn't seem to have any special, magical knack. In spite of being far more intelligent than his friends, Danny's ends up being the target of his peers derision and a disappointment to his parents. But just when you think that the book will turn into a sort of reverse Harry Potter, Card turns things around. Danny does have special powers--he is a gatemage, able to make tunnels across space and time. Because Danny has the potential to outstrip even the most powerful magicians in his community, Danny is now seen as a threat. Once Danny discovers that he is a gatemage,he is in a race against time; he must escape his community and learn how to use his powers to protect himself, before he is hunted down and killed by his own kind.

Card is an expert at building up suspense while moving the story forward at a rapid pace. The biggest danger in picking up this book in the first place is that you will not want to put it down. I started reading this at a time where I really didn't have much time to read and Card still got me hook, line, and sinker.

The premise of the book and the mechanics of The Lost Gate's universe remain unique. However, there are some staples of Card's writing that Card sometimes takes just a little too far. He has a tendency to make his child characters a little too prescient and even a little too vulgar, at times. Card also likes to have his characters engage in occasionally tedious conversations where they try to 'out clever' each other. Finally, Card often can't help being the puppet master, pulling his reader's strings a bit too deliberately.

But if I ever wanted to be led down the garden path, I'd choose this one. And if ever there was a competent guide, it would be Card. And when you reach the end, it is clear that there is so much more to tell. In The Lost Gate, Card has created the basis for a saga that will rival his Ender or Alvin Maker series. For those of us who crave cutting edge fantasy, this book is the real deal. Highly recommended.
29 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Needs a 3.5 review - It's like Bean in high school Dec 14 2010
By Storm - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Orson Scott Card states that the magic system idea for "The Lost Gate" began thirty years ago and the story itself has been slowly building since then. Unfortunately for me, it felt much like a formulaic recycling of his Bean character from the Enderverse. I haven't read much of Card's works outside of the Enderverse novels, so maybe this is how he writes all his characters.

The lead in "The Lost Gate" is a young boy by the name of Danny. Danny shares many striking background characteristics with OSC's other young characters Bean and Ender, such as rough childhood, smarmy "better than thou" attitude, an almost-omniscient knowledge about all things academia but lack of real world "street smarts", and "The Chosen One" syndrome. So it's very much like taking the character of young Bean/Ender and sticking them into this new setting without rewriting any character traits. Many of the secondary characters feel very familiar as well - Veevee is Petra, Ced is Peter(ish), Stone is Graff, and Hermia like Valentine.

The world setting is also bland and uninspired and more people centric than environment centric. Much of the story is driven by Card's need to explain the magical system in place in "The Lost Gate." As a quick synopsis: magic in the TLG world is real but it works more like elemental affinity magic than the "everyone can learn anything" school of thought in the Potterverse. In other words, there are types of mages - fire, water, animal, wind, and of course, gate (and others). A gatemage cannot learn how to be a firemage, nor vice versa. A gate itself is much like the standard sci-fi wormhole - one entrance in, one exit. In fact, if you've played the video game: Portal, you understand 95% of the gate system in TLG. Add in a smattering of old world mythology gods, and you've got the "Gateworld".

The story itself was an interesting read, but not his best work. When standing side-by-side with great classics like "Ender's Game," it just doesn't stand up. There were quite a few sections that felt oddly paced and even slow. The fact that many of the story's coincidences are written away as "pranks on spacetime" (yes, straight from the book) is both humorous and weak at the same time. It's as if Card knew that many readers would find all of the coincidences in how everything seemed to work out just right for Danny hard to swallow, so he created a catch-all for that event. A "Everything works out for Danny because the space-time continuum actively "wants" it to work out for him" plot hole plug. In several spots he even actively points out all of the coincidental actions that happened in the storyline.

It was a hard call giving this book 4 stars - it really felt more like a 3 star book if you're a Card Enderverse fan. However looking at it from a person who has never read any of Orson Scott Card's materials before, it's not a bad book and was enjoyable to read. So 3.5 if I could, 4 stars since I can't.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Get an editor and stop rushing Jan. 9 2012
By Matthew Medina - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
To be honest, the book wasn't bad. In fact, I quite enjoyed it. I think the book lacked the same complexity and depth of characters as previous works by Orson Scott Card. As he admits in the afterword, he was rushed in writing it for a deadline. The characters are likable... they just are somewhat two dimensional - good or evil.

I absolutely loved the complicated and believable system of magic. I wish it was something I had come up with on my own. It's sophisticated, and, as others have complained, intricately explained in the book. I thought the plot was involving and moved along at a healthy pace, although, at times it felt rushed.

However, my number one complaint was the numerous continuity errors. The first error was about healing. The process by which gatemages heal was explained no less than three times in the book, each time coming as a seeming surprise to Danny. The second glaring error concerned Eric, who one minute was in central Virginia, the next in Washington DC, with no explanation, simply two different accounts in the span of a few pages. Other less significant and memorable problems occurred, conflicting accounts... Rico stuck in the gate versus the soldier whose speak disappeared. But it appears that, not only did the author rush through writing, the publisher rushed through printing, without even reading the book carefully for content. That is the ultimate disrespect to the reader and I hope OSC does not allow it in the future.