Thursday, August 30, 2012

review: the lost gate

I'm a pretty hard core science fiction and fantasy fan. It's my favourite genre to read and to watch, and I find it compelling to explore new worlds where the rules are so different from ours. (This, of course, all made sense when half of my first year philosophy readings and problems sounded like science fiction - I like metaphysics and value theory and these genres are very complimentary to that.) So why of why did it take Bunny to introduce me to Orson Scott Card?

I'd heard about him when I was younger and a friend whose taste in literature I didn't share described him as being very "out there". I should have realized then that I had all the recommendation I needed. On my first vacation with Bunny, a camping trip six months in during which he later told me was when he'd first realized he wanted to marry me (which was news to me, as I'd spent half the trip a cold, damp, whiny mess and he'd thrown a bit of a snit fit after the weather just wouldn't let up) I raided his bookcase for some reading material and he very highly recommended Ender's Game as well as the first three sequels. I devoured those books. Over the years I've picked up a handful of Card's standalone science fiction novels.

When I found The Lost Gate at the bookstore I was more than intrigued. The back cover talked about mages ... Card didn't write fantasy, did he? I was a little apprehensive, but remembered how much I'd loved the world building and the plotline in Ender's Game and decided to give it a whirl. I'm glad I did.

In the afterword, Card says he feels that the magic system he'd built for this world was his best magic scheme, ever. While I haven't read any other fantasy works of his I have to say he's probably right. Because this is one of the best magic systems and some of the best worlds I've ever read.

He manages to somehow incorporate myths and legends, magic, two different worlds and a group of mages who are the descendents of gods (and may have the potential to be gods again) in a completely seamless manner. His main characters are developed and nuanced. The plot moves so well I stayed up reading one night until I couldn't see straight.

I don't want to say to much about the plot itself because really, I think you should all go read it and figure it out for yourselves. My only complaint was that it was over too soon - I wanted to hear how the story progressed. (It sounds like there are some sequels planned. Good thing!)

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