Danny North has lived his whole 13 years in a compound with an extended inbred Family who all have magical powers. He has been taunted and looked down on by everyone because he is apparently a drekka, a Family member without any powers. He lives in fear of being left for dead on Hammernip Hill because of his lack of skill, despite being born to two powerfully skilled parents.
But then he realizes that he does have a skill: he is a gatemage, someone who can create invisible gates between two locations and travel between them instantaneously. Unfortunately, this doesn’t prevent him from being led to Hammernip Hill; it just makes it even more certain he’ll be killed. The North Family and all other magical Families around the world agreed centuries before that any gatemages would be killed, to prevent one from creating another Great Gate to their ancestral planet, Westil, which would make whatever family accessed the gate as powerful as gods once more.
So Danny has no choice but to flee his home and set out on his own. He eventually runs into other mages who have left their Families and who are able in small ways to help him figure out how to use his magery. Danny just wants to avoid being killed, and maybe make some friends, as well as understand how to make and use his gates. But others want him to work toward making a Great Gate again. Will he try making a gate to Westil — and open himself to being stripped of his powers by the Gate Thief — and is it even a wise idea to do so?
Orson Scott Card’s newest fantasy series was decades in the making, he writes in an afterword, and it is a wonderfully complex world of magic, intrigue and mystery. I’ll be looking forward to further books in the series.
Rated: Mild, for mild and moderate language and more than a little crudeness. Card’s main character is a teen boy, and he talks and thinks about some vulgar things perhaps common to teen boys.