by Orson Scott Card
When I started reading this book, I thought “Percy Jackson!” The protagonist, Danny, is a descendant of Norse gods. Norse gods whose powers are greatly diminishes as they can no longer pass through the gates to their own world. Danny however, appears to be the only one in the family without any magical ability.
As I read on, pretty soon it becomes clear it’s Card’s book, with his hallmark of character internal monologue, all that “if I do this, then they will…” analytical thinking that reminds me very much of Ender and Bean.
The story progresses in two worlds. On Earth, Danny discovers his power by accident, and has to run away from his family as gatemagery is forbidden among the “gods”. In Westil, the world where the gods come from, another powerful young gatemage is awaken. Wad stays in the castle as a lowly kitchen boy, until he overhears a plot to kill the queen, and thus saves her and eventually falls in love with her.
While there is nothing new about a fantasy of an ordinary boy discovering his special power, Card manages to create a new story here. The parallel stories certainly add to the appeal, and I really look forward to how the two boys will face off one another. In some way, I enjoy Wad’s story more, as he’s a more mature character, going through a deeper life experience, while Danny is still very much an adolescent growing up, talking dirty, playing pranks, wanting to impress girls. While I get it that he’s a teenager, I admit that I don’t care much for all that vulgar talk and unnecessary sexual stuff.