The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I guess I'm a sucker for the worlds of Orson Scott Card (or maybe just a sucker for the very excellent narrators that tell me his tales), and the combination real/fantasy world of The Lost Gate is no exception.
Danny North lives in a world where the adults bear names like Thor and Loki. Civilization is split into factions of "families," and each faction bears a name which ties it to its history, like "The Greeks" or "The Norths" (who bear Norse heritage). Almost everyone in Danny's world has personal magic, whether it is the ability to possess a bird and bid it do your will or to encourage the plants to grow just a little bigger. But Danny has none of these magical abilities. He is drekka.
Eventually Danny runs away from his family to join the druthers, the non-magical everyday folk who used to worship the families as gods. He plans to live among them, but he has a secret of his own, bigger than his past.
The Lost Gate is a wonderful blend of fantasy and mythology, and is reminiscent of Rick Riordan's Greek (Percy Jackson and the Olympians) and Egyptian (The Kane Chronicles) series, and Michael Scott's The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel.
The characters have depth and capture your sympathies. You really care what happens to this boy, and whether or not he ever makes it to the promised land of Westil.
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