Select one of the keywords
The Gate Thief: Mither Mages #2    by Orson Scott Card order for
Gate Thief
by Orson Scott Card
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2013 (2013)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Gate Thief follows The Lost Gate as the second in Orson Scott Card's YA Mither Mages series starring Danny North, one of a Family of once-gods living like hillbillies in west Virginia. North family members' magic has been much reduced since the Gate Thief closed the Great Gates between Westil and Mittlegard, the passage magnifying powers. Danny was bullied through childhood as a drekka, without magic.

In The Lost Gate, Danny discovered himself to be a gatemage, a death sentence if known. Readers watched him learn to use his powers, with the help of Orphans (mages outside the Families who want the Great Gates open to everyone). He went to school for the first time in his life, made friends, and eventually learned to make a Great Gate, helped by Hermia from a rival family. He came up against (and survived) the Gate Thief - and the Families.

In parallel with Danny's story, readers saw an amnesiac emerging from a tree in Iceway, Westil. He found his way to the King's castle of Nassassa, where night cook Hull named him Wad. He fell in love with Queen Bexoi, an ambitious and very powerful woman who used and betrayed him. He imprisoned and later released the king's concubine and her two small sons. And he was ultimately revealed to be Loki, the Gate Thief.

As The Gate Thief opens, the Families see an opportunity to get their mages to Westil and back again so that, restored to full power, they can rule the Earth once more. Danny knows that he must let them through, but plans to give Families equal access in order to maintain a balance of power in the world. He enlists his high school friends to help (their banter pulls the reader through the story), though he worries about their safety.

Of course, Orson Scott Card's series are never obvious. They read like Russian dolls - open one episode and there's a surprising new image inside. The bad guys turn out to be good or the reverse. In this case, though it's hard to see Loki as good, he did have reasons for his theft of gates, and Danny opens up the Pandora's box that he closed, giving an ancient enemy (the Belmage) access to Mittlegard once more.

The Gate Thief ends on a cliffhanger after the Belmage finds Danny - though defeated, the latter finds a way to foil the Belmage's plan, but at a high cost to himself. I can't wait for the next episode and recommend that you read the author's Afterword, which gives insights into why he developed this second book in the way he did - fascinating stuff!

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Teens books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews