Book Critique - Gatefather (Mithermages #3)

For review of all books in this series: Go here.

Stars: 4.5 / 5

Recommendation: Mythology, History and the everlasting theme of good vs evil between Super powers and Gods / Demi-Gods - all packaged into this clever little plot with teenagers again at the helm of saving the worlds.

Gatefather is the third and final book in the Mithermages trilogy written by Orson Scott Card and published in October of 2015. The story picks up where the previous book, The Gate Thief, ended, revolving around Danny North, the Gatefather and Wad, The Gate Thief.

Thinking he had outsmarted the Gate Thief aka Wad, Danny North, the demi-god, hadn't known what he was opening up the worlds - both Earth and Westil - to. Yet in his naivety he ends up inviting the biggest and strongest evil into his life, literally and figuratively, despite Wad's efforts to thwart Danny's plans. Arrogance on both of their parts has now put Earth and Westil on peril. That is where the third book in the series picks up.

With friends turned to foes while family ready to chop off his head; Danny North is in a situation that as a reader I couldn’t fathom a teenager to be in. Being a Gatefather doesn’t necessarily absolve Danny of his mistakes. So now Danny North along with his few drowther friends - humans on earth - starts his next adventure in the series which sends them across a path that just might cause war between worlds; and Danny might just be in the center of everything.

As I mentioned before, for a young adult book, Orson Scott Card certainly puts in complicated twists and complex conversations that I feel may be a bit too much for a young adult. All the theological and spiritual conversation about a human body and it's soul in terms of ka and ba, took a second read in this book, for me to get the gist of it. The plot also entails some very-adult philosophical conversations, making young teens in the plot far more mature for their character age. Which is why, I, as a reader, felt these chapters very complex. 

However, Mr. Card summarizes the life of a 17-yr old perfectly well with all the hurdles that an adolescent would face. Took me back to my days of adolescence except there was no magic or demi-gods involved in my life and a few things. Jokes apart, Danny North became truer and truer as the plot progressed.

As the saga of Mithermages evolved, I expected a bit of fighting and some kind of battle. But what I saw was a whole lot of conversation and planning on how to handle a situation, and then when the situation is faced, it is simply executed in the background. And in some cases, Danny North and his close circuit of friends usually get the antagonists to agree to their way of thinking or solution with just conversation. 

I wish the world problems could be solved similarly. Of course, it isn't as simple as how Card theorizes in his book. In real world there is bound to be conflicts, fights and battles before peace settles. It is just an interesting approach that Card shows the readers. 

Card definitely has taken the readers into the world of Mithermages using humans and demi-gods with conflicts resolved smartly and at the same time having a normal life for a teenaged demi-god. I would have wanted the ending to be little more lengthier than just abruptly cutting to the future life of Danny North.

An enchanting and exiting closure to the adventures of Danny North and Wad who strive to save the two worlds not only from the most scariest antagonist but also from the little and big wrong things that humans and gods do and stop them from doing. Despite the lengthy conversations, the entire series puts forth a different view for several aspects in human life. A stimulating conclusion to the Mithermages saga. 

Spoiler Alerts:

1. Plot Reveals:

a. Interesting words that Orson Scott Card uses in the book, that I understood them as closely as possible per the context used as I was reading. However someone has gone on to create a Wiki of characters and words in the Mithermage Series. Here is the link to that.

b. Orson Scott mentions several literary works that are related to works of gods or written by gods and movies that bring out a lot imagination of human mind in this plot:

i. X-Files: One of my favorite paranormal science-fiction TV Show with two FBI agents - Fox Mulder and Dana Scully - who deal with the odd crimes. I have almost completed watching this series upto Season VII. Have five more to go to come to current episodes I guess.

ii. Bullfinch's Mythology: popular Greek Mythology works by Thomas Bullfinch

iii. Metamorphoses: a Latin narrative poem by Roman poet Ovid first published in 8AD.

iv. The Court Jester - a 1996 American musical-comedy film.

v. Quotes from the 1980 American epic film The Empire Strikes Back, the second film in the Star Wars Saga.

vi. Quotes by Kierkegaard, a Danish philosopher; and Nietzsche, a German philosopher.

vii. Quotes from Ode: Intimations of Immortality by William Wordsworth.

viii. References to comic book action hero films like Superman Two from 1980.

2. Sub-Plots:

a. North Family compound has many family members aka demi-gods, that are either supportive of Danny or resent him - Grandpa Gyish, Great-uncle Zog, Aunt "Lummy" Lumtur and Uncle Mook and their daughter Megan, Uncle Poot, Auntie Tweng, Auntie Uck, Thor and his sons - Lem and Stem, Danny's half-brother Pipo and half-sister Leonora.

b. Different Wesilian Families that had ruled the world as Gods were - the Phrygians, the Hittites, the Greeks, the Celts, the Persians, the Hindi, the Slavs and the Norse.

i. However, the Persian family had been wiped out by Tamerlane or Timur - the 14th century Mongol conqueror. More about him here.

ii. The Sanskrit family lived in the lower reaches of the Himalayas and were quite poor and shabby just like the North family.

iii. The Greek family, Ilyrians, prospered due to the plethora of seamages or poseidons they had. Some of the members consists of Valbona, Agon, a little girl Yllkaof aka Hermia about eleven or twelve years.

iv. The Argyros Family

v. The Hittites - A family thought lost was indeed hidden all this time.

vi. Kingdom of Iceway, a kingdom that is in a different world on a different planet. Ruled by King Prayard lived in his castle of Nassassa along with his wife Bexoi (sister to their rival king, Jarl of Gray), his concubine Anonoei, his sons by Anonoei (Eluik and Enopp),

3. Different kinds of mages Orson Scott educates the reader in the plot:

a. Beastmages - Eyefriend or Clawbrother or Clawsister or Cowsister (ability to roam the world in animal form); Feathergirl or Sparrowfriend or Hawkbrother (who has basic ability to talk with birds); Ratmages (mostly used as spies); Furboy; Wingbrother.

b. Gatemages - Pathbrothers / Pathsisters or Lockfriends (ability to create paths and unlock doors); Gatemage / Gatefather / Gatemother (can create gates to move from one place to another on earth, also have healing abilities); Keyfriend (could reach through already made gates).

c. Seamages / Watermages - Seamage (ability to make their ships prosper and never sink); Wavebrother (power to make currents flow where needed), Tidefather; Puddlekin; Watersire; Damward; Tempester.

d. Windmages - Galebreath

e. Stonemages - Rockbrother (affinity for pure metals); Siltbrother (could improve soil); Cobblefriend (can find rich ores for miners); Muckminder; Claymistress;vSandmage

f. Treemages - Meadowfriend (can aid in harvests), Sniffer (can sniff out gates); Treefriend; Seedservant; Rootherd; Thornmage; Trunkfathers; Grass-sister

g. Firemages - Firemaster or Lightrider (can create flame with nothing); Lightmage

h. Mammage - Mage who can instill emotions on others, control and manipulate their feelings. Bloodfather comes under this category too.

4. Grammatical / Historical / Location / Character Errors:

a. On Pg. 74, Line 5 from bottom, it should be "…at last she rated…"

b. On Pg. 202, Line 8, it should be "….The Tank's tolerances…"

c. On Pg. 154, Orson Scott Card refers to one of Mark Twain's work, Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven, only he mentions it as "Captain Stormcloud's Trip to Heaven". Considering how Card is so accurate about the various literature and historical references, was it an error. Or he made the character, Veevee, to utter it in error to create a humor element?


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