Rated Reads

The Gate Thief (Mithermages, book 2)

by Orson Scott Card

Rated: Moderate

Danny North has already learned that, rather than being a magic-less “drekka,” he’s actually a very powerful gatemage, able to transport himself and others anywhere, including the planet Westil, where the magical Families of Earth originated. And, having prevented the mysterious Gate Thief from taking his own gates and his ability to make more, he is now trying to settle in to life as a high school student, all the while also trying to figure out ways to use his gift wisely. Most importantly, he is trying to learn about how his gift works and prevent it from being used by the various Families, who would be happy to transport themselves to and from Westil and become much more powerful, thus better able to make war on each other and make a mess of Earth and its other inhabitants in the process.

Danny thinks he has some good plans and is starting to work on communicating with the Families, when he realizes there is a very good reason the Gate Thief had been stealing mages’ abilities to make and keep gates open for centuries: the ancient and dangerous Bel is still a threat. And if he is able to go through a gate, his power would make the wars of the Families seem trivial.

In this second book in the Mithermages series after The Lost Gate, we learn more, as does Danny, about how gates work and the history of the mages on Earth. We also get to follow more of Wad’s story on Westil, as he deals with scheming and powerful women in their political machinations. I found myself particularly interested in Wad’s story, even as he and Danny were loosely connected and the story of Bel is revealed. Even though Danny is honorable in how he tries to use his power – and not use drowthers (regular humans) – I still didn’t really like him. He is just really a teen boy, with all the thoughts and behaviors that stereotypically go with that stage of life, and I didn’t like the crudeness associated with it.

Even so, an interesting story, one that went in some interesting directions and which I’ll be curious to see evolve and conclude in the final book of the trilogy.

Rated: Moderate, for mild and moderate language and persistent crudeness and vulgarity (mostly involving teens and their thoughts and discussions). There are some sexual scenes, though most sex is just briefly alluded to and “off-screen.” One scene, though, has a bit more detail, involves teen characters and is a bit jarring. In the way of violence, there is some but not much detail.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for more than 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

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  • The Gate Thief (Mithermages, book 2)
  • by Orson Scott Card
  • Rated: Moderate
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Reviewer: