The Gate Thief by Orson Scott Card
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I think Orson Scott Card is doing a fantastic job writing good-kid YA. It's really hard. Most of the YA out there is full of stupid kids doing stupid things and while Danny fits the bill, he's still a sight better than most. He's dependable and loyal and he does the right thing even when it would be so easy to just fall into the traps that everyone lays out for him.
I'm talking about sex.
I mean, truly, Danny's now the definition of a god, with super-uber gate-magic powers that not only let him use his imagination and trickery, but they also heal the people that go through them. That's pretty beast, especially since he can make a million of the gates. He's a god among gods. God-Punk at its best. :)
But sex is the downfall of all the gods, is it not? Just look at Zeus. And yet, Danny is trying not to be *that*. Admirable, don't you think?
Alas, this isn't the entire book, but it's an important part. The rest is all about the coming war with Seth, the Dragon, with Satan, with Bel, while all the while having to deal or not deal with the rest of the underpowered mortal-gods as they go through the Great Gate that amps up all their powers, while all the while trying to protect his normal friends. Danny's pretty heroic, but he's still just a kid, and a lot of the dialog is very HS.
In the end, I'm really happy with the shape of this story. I love most of the writing and I think it's really gorgeous when it comes to clarity and how well it explains the magic system and just how huge the stakes are. Stolen souls across time? Yup. Worthy of a tale of gods on Earth. :)
Above all, though, I love just how much comparative religion there is in here and how nicely it dovetails into the action. :)
I'm having a blast with this series. Very easy read, emotional, and a lot of high standards while the rest of humanity and gods wallow in the muck. :) It's pretty awesome, in fact.
(And if you're worried this is just another religious tract, don't worry. It's no more religious than, say, OSC's Speaker For The Dead.) Morals, yes. Hammer over head? No. Just decisions and trying to do the right thing. :)
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