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What I liked:
Card manages to put together a fairly interesting structure of magic and how that creates the major conflict that drives the story. His exploration of the way magic works and the way that the characters discover it is quite interesting. His take on ancient pantheons as magic-wielding aliens come to earth is also insightful, forcing the reader to completely shift her thinking. The reader encounters plenty of unexpected actions and circumstances and that is all to the good. The book is unpredictable and that is enough to keep you listening.
The main character, Danny, is a retooling of the "super-powered teenager trying to lead a normal life" (as in My Secret Identity, Smallville, etc.) genre. Which goes ok, maybe even a little bit better than average with Danny's well-developed intellect, but complete ignorance of actual teenage interaction making for very appropriate awkwardness. Unfortunately, the high school friends he interacts with feel like they're made of cardboard. They seem developed only just enough that the story can move forward.
Also Wad's story line of protecting his world from incoming mages and looking for a way to get revenge on his former lover is not bad. Not great, but not bad; interesting, but haphazard. It's one notch above only existing to be the reflection of Danny's own magical discovery.
If the following things bother you, steer clear:
Rudniki should not be narrating this book. He has a less than versatile deep bass voice. This isn't particularly ideal for a coming of age novel where many of the characters are youths. Not to say that his voice is not pleasant, he just doesn't have the range to characterize teenagers and women. Rankin has a better range, but doesn't make bold characterizations.
This book bogs down around the various characters' banter. It is not witty, insightful, or entertaining. It will make you want to skip portions.
Some of the book's portrayal of teenagers is dissonant. I am not an expert on teenagers, and maybe some do think and talk the way they do in the book, but there are some things I think are a bit too out there. A teenage girl being loaded up on hormones, emotional and desirous of sex, I get. But one that needs her boyfriend's seed in her uterus and expresses it to him in those terms? The girls in the book are generally focused on procreation. Every time it comes up (often enough) you think, "seriously?"
36 of 39 people found this review helpful
Scott Card is my favorite writer. Ender's Game is the best Sci-Fi ever written. HIs Fantasy is second only to Robin Hobb, His short stories second only to Robert Reed. He even wrote a good scary book called Treasure Box. I have read lots of his books and will continue to read his books.
The first book in this series The Lost Gate is a five star read. What Card has done with this book and done with many of his later books, is turn them into lectures. It is like he has forgotten how to tell a story. This reads like an encyclopedia on Gates and Magic. There are long explanations on how gates work. Lots of names are thrown at you. There are long soliloquies on how to conduct yourself with friends. One I can remember off the top of my head was how to treat a guest. Card needs to fire his editor and quit giving his stuff to friends and family for their suggestions. Get an editor that will make him use his god given talents. Card is a religious man, so do what Jesus often did. He often used parables, not sermons.
Here are some five star Card books in no particular order: Stonefather, Treasure Box, Songmaster, A planet Called Treason (read this instead of the rewrite Treason.), The Memory of Earth, The Call of Earth, Ender's Shadow, Ender's Game, First Meeting, The Folk of the Fringe, Hart's Hope, Lost Boys, The Lost Gate, Seventh Son and the next two sequels. Audible has several of his short story collections that include some real good stories.
I like Rudnicki, but must agree with another reviewer, he is not suited to read teen characters.
14 of 16 people found this review helpful
This book was not equal to the first. It didn't gel quite as well for me but never the less I thoroughly enjoyed listening. I have become accustomed to the male readers voice which was less grating and that certainly helped. I see what other people are saying about the whole teen pregnancy vibe going on, it's a little weird but it doesn't take from the rest of the story of you don't fixate on it, and it certainly isn't one of the main themes so I don't see why you should. I will defiantly be listening to and reading the third and final part of this series.