Book Review: Orson Scott Card’s Gate Thief

Posted May 21, 2013 by Kathy Davie in

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Orson Scott Card’s Gate Thief

Gate Thief

on March 19, 2013 and has 380 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Second in the Mithermages urban fantasy for Young Adults and revolving around Danny North in Buena Vista, Virginia.

My Take

I wish I had re-read The Lost Gate, 1, because I spent most of this story confused as it refers back to events in this first book so often. Part of the confusion arises from Card creating two separate worlds with their own unique histories that intertwine. Westil has its particular dramas and the mage we saw as evil while Earth has their feuding families, eager for any advantage.

It truly is complex and convoluted while oversetting everything we thought we knew about the Norse gods. Heck, about any gods. It’s a fairy tale and a dark fantasy with everyone plotting against everyone else. And at least half of the plotters have a sort of goodwill to them. We might not see it…but it’s there.

Most of The Gate Thief is backstory with a touch of betrayal — Danny’s parents knew he had the potential; Thor knew for certain — and I suspect most of the story is simply setting us up for number three, although there are some tremendous events in this.

It doesn’t make sense that the North Family should depose Alf as the Odin. At least not for the reasons given. After all, they’re not the people who loved Danny as he was growing up.

Cedric has his own epiphany, only it comes at great cost.

Hmmm, what friends ought not to do…

“What can I do to hurt you, if your break your oath?” asked Danny quietly. “Why anything I want.”

Whoa, Card threw me for a loop when he revealed Wad’s true reasons for stealing other gatemages’ gates.

Oh, man, Hermia is driving me nuts in that after-desert scene! Can she not just SHUT. UP.

Then there’s Xena and Laurette trying to get into Danny’s pants. What’s with that?

The Story

It’s an act of compassion that brings it all out into the open. YouTube uploads depict the start of a Great Gate and, ooh boy, a major catastrophe just waiting to happen.

Even worse, Danny has no family loyalty — well, I certainly can’t blame him! — and he intends to allow access to every Family.

The Characters

Mittelgard, a.k.a., Middle Earth
Danny North is a magic-less boy who ran away from the North Family compound and attends Parry McCluer High School. Turns out he’s a gatemage, well, actually, a Gatefather, and suddenly valuable.

His parents are Odin (he was Alf, a stonemage, before he became head of the family and took Odin’s name) and Gerd who is a lightmage. (Baba is what Danny calls his dad) Uncle Zog and Grandpa Gyish want to kill Danny while the rest are fantasizing about the potential increase in their own power levels. Schmucks! There’s also Aunt Lummy and Uncle Mook — them Danny trusts. Aunties Uck and Tweng and Uncles Poot and Thor. Pipo is Danny’s half-brother through his dad while Leonora is his half-sister through his mother.

Victoria “Veevee” Von Roth is a Keyfriend who lives in Florida and is Danny’s legal guardian. She’s married to Stone, a Meadowfriend, who lives in Washington, D.C. Hermia is a gatefinder and a Lockfriend in the Argyros/Illyrian Family (I can’t figure out which is their last name) who took off. Her mother is a mean, manipulative sandmage and father is a watermage. Marion Silverman is a Cobblefriend and a stonemage while his wife Leslie is a Cowsister. Together they run a dairy farm and are Danny’s friends.

Cedric Bird turns out to be a windmage and chooses to stay on Westil. Lana is the wife who left. The Hittites are another Family who sends assassins.

Danny’s friends at school include:
Hal is the friend Danny had been trying to help. Laurette relies upon her cleavage, Sin appreciates her uninfected piercings, Pat is loving her clear complexion, the overweight Xena, and the untrustworthy Wheeler are all his drowther friends.

The bullying Coach Lieder reluctantly takes Danny on to the track team. Nicki is his dying daughter. Principal Massey.

Westil, a.k.a., Mitherholm
Wad is the Gate Thief and was Loki, desperate to protect, and living in this tree for it. Losing his gates causes him to understand too much.

Queen Bexoi is a princess of the Gray who became Prayard’s wife as part of the treaty to end the war. She has been Wad’s lover and bore his son — she called him Oath, Wad called him Trick. Then she murdered Oath because she finally got pregnant by King Prayard, a seamage.

Anonoei had been King Prayard’s concubine and bore his two sons: Eluik and Enopp. Wad rescued them from the Queen’s assassins, kept them prisoner, and then plumped them down on a farm with Roop and Levet and their eldest daughter, Eko. Keel, formerly known as Plank, is a loyal servant and master of the shipyards for his wondrous invention.

The Jarl of Gray is Bexoi’s brother, and the beautiful, conniving Frostinch is his heir who claims to be a Hawkbrother.

Set is Bel, the Dragon from the world of soulstealers. He jumps into people’s bodies and takes them over. And there will be no one he wants more than Danny North.

A clant is the most minor ability of magic. Mittlegard is Earth. Westil, a.k.a., Mitherholme, is the world from which the mages came. Mitherkame is another world. Ka and ba is in everyone; the body has an interface with the two, giving them shape. Orphans are mages without a Family. Drowthers are regular humans with no power.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a subdued metallic red with a wrought iron gate rising up from the bottom.

The title provides us insight into The Gate Thief, why he’s been stealing those gates.


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