Select one of the keywords
Gatefather: A Novel of the Mithermages    by Orson Scott Card order for
by Orson Scott Card
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2015 (2015)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Gatefather is the third (following The Lost Gate and The Gate Thief) in Orson Scott Card's YA Mither Mages saga. The lead is Danny North, one of a Family of once-gods living like hillbillies in west Virginia. North family members' magic has dwindled since the Gate Thief closed the Great Gates between Westil and Mittlegard/Earth (passage between the worlds magnifies powers) - now these Mages are in exile on Earth.

Danny was bullied through childhood as a drekka, without magic. After he discovered that he was a gatemage, a death sentence in Mage families, he learned to use his powers, with the help of mages outside the Families. He attended school for the first time, made friends, and eventually learned to make a Great Gate, helped by Hermia. Readers also met amnesiac Wad emerging from a tree in Westil. After being manipulated and betrayed by Queen Bexoi, he discovered that he was Loki, the Gate Thief.

In the second episode, Danny enlisted his high school friends to help deal with the Families. Along the way, many had their powers enhanced, and Pat (now Danny's girlfriend) became a windmage after passing through a Great Gate. Unfortunately, Danny also opened up the Pandora's box that Loki had closed, giving an ancient enemy (the Belmage) access to Mittlegard once more. The Gate Thief ended on a cliffhanger as the Belmage took possession of Danny.

As Gatefather opens, Danny's friends agonize over what they might do for him. The Persephone myth gives Pat an idea and she takes a huge risk to help him - one that turns out to significantly change both their powers. At the same time, Danny's parents begin treating the U.S. army as their 'private security force'. And an arrogant Hermia meddles once more - on both Westil and Mittlegard.

I've always enjoyed Card's talent with banter, which continues in this episode. Though the philosophy gets a little dense in the middle (perhaps not to be helped when you write about the before and after-life) it was great to find out how Danny's and Pat's story ended. Orson Scott Card remains one of the SF greats.

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