First of a fantasy series about overweening magic power, from the author ofÃÂ Hidden EmpireÃÂ (2009).
The Norths of Virginia are one of many clans of mages who have been trapped for centuries in Mittelgard (Earth) after a powerful enemy closed the magical gates to their homeworld, Westil. Lacking better things to do, the clans settled in as gods,ÃÂ fighting amongst themselves and enslaving the "drowthers" (ordinary nonmagical folk). But, dreading the entity that closed the gates and permanently steals the magic from anyone attempting to get it back, the clan immediately kills those who manifest any such ability. Young Danny North knows his family history, and also that he has no magic power whatsoever—until he discovers that he's unconsciously been creating and using gates. Nobody, it seems, knows his secret until a girl from a visiting magical family catches him. With no choice but to flee, Danny ends up far away in the house of the mysterious Stone, an "orphan" with magic but kin to none of the families—and he's not the only one. Danny needs to understand and develop his powers before his vengeful relatives or the unknown gate thief catch up with him, but little is known about gatemagery save for a handful of cryptic writings in ancient books. Stone, possibly, can help. Card always writes with insight and compassion about children—here it's the irrational, arbitrary and often just plain stupid adults who fail to convince.
An uncharacteristically lumpy series opener, though Card's storytelling skills and devoted audience guarantee success.Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Danny North comes from an unusual family where magical abilities are the norm. His apparent lack of magic makes him a "drekka," until he discovers that he is capable of creating gates between one place and another or between one world and another. This type of magic has been forbidden for centuries and is punishable by death. Striking out on his own, Danny flees the family compound and seeks to discover a way to live as the first Gate Mage in a thousand years. Card's latest novel demonstrates his ability to create youthful protagonists whose coming-of-age resonates with depth and meaning even as they become the fulcrum of events on a grand scale. VERDICT 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.[Page 86]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Card's newest series opener can't decide whether it's a thought experiment featuring a nifty magic system, a YA urban fantasy, or a series of fantasy interludes, so it settles for performing all three tasks satisfactorily, if not spectacularly. Danny North, descendant of exiled mages from another world, is taken aback when he comes into his true powers as a gatemage. He could reconnect his people with their long-lost home world, but gatemages are usually killed to maintain a fragile peace among the exiled clans. Fleeing his home, Danny finds refuge and slowly explores his potential, planning to open the first Great Gate in 14 centuries. Meanwhile, on the far-off world of Westil, a young gatemage named Wad finds love, conspiracies, and betrayal in a remote castle while struggling to recall his hazy past. Though occasionally uneven and meandering, this ambitious tale is well crafted, highly detailed, and pleasantly accessible. (Jan.)[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC