Ken-ichi's Reviews > The Lost Gate

The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card
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Feb 25, 11

bookshelves: fantasy, escape
Read from February 17 to 25, 2011

This book is nerdy in a bad way. The first sign of nerdiness is the premise: the mythological gods were real people but with amazing magical powers, and they live on in a diminished state, awaiting the birth of a gate mage, one with the power to transport them back to their faraway mystical home. I actually thought that sounded pretty cool, but I am a nerd. Louise (also a nerd) thought it sounded pretty lame, and I can see where she's coming from: recycled mythological ideas grafted onto a YA bildungsroman. Sandman + Stargate + every YA book every written, anyone? Definitely a strong whiff of fan fiction (yes, I skimmed the afterword where OSC describes the distant origins of his idea; doesn't make it feel any less derivative)

Second sign of nerdiness: expository dialogue. I accept that most sf/fantasy requires some exposition, and even when it doesn't require it I'm willing to forgive a great deal of telling instead of showing. But the kind of heavy-handed pseudo-narration that occurs between characters in this book crosses a line into the literary equivalent of xtranormal.

Third sign: desperate attempts to seem current by over-referencing brand names. "Google" might be a verb to some, but it still seems awkward when written. "Googlemap" is definitely not a verb, and simply looks ridiculous in print. If the story doesn't concern the particulars of a brand, I don't feel like it belongs in the book. If a character is contemplating the nature of Google Maps, for example, then sure, mention the brand. Otherwise, plain old "map" is a perfectly good verb.

Overall, the story was diverting enough to keep me reading, so if you're a diehard OSC fan you'll probably enjoy it. I don't feel compelled to continue the series.
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Reading Progress

02/17/2011 page 54
14.0% "Pretty good so far, if conventional."
02/21/2011 page 181
47.0% "The world is cool, but the dialogue is tedious in the extreme, and the expository inner monologue (my god, people can both good AND bad!) is a groanfest."
02/22/2011 page 240
63.0% "I almost prefer the bits on Westil, where I *expect* the dialog to be contrived."
02/23/2011 page 290
76.0% "This section of the book should be titled "Breeding""

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Louise (new)

Louise Louise never would have used the word 'bildungsroman' but now that she looked it up, she's going to start.


Ken-ichi Not sure I'd even recognize Mormon propaganda if I saw it. There weren't any evil gay people trying to destroy America by trying to get married or anything.


message 3: by rivka (new) - added it

rivka Rivka wonders why Louise has begun to refer to herself in the third person.


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