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The Gate Thief

Average Rating 4
( 45 )
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5 Star

(21)

4 Star

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(9)

2 Star

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(2)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

The critics have done a poor job of actually reading the book.  

The critics have done a poor job of actually reading the book.  Kirkus Reviews fails to understand even the first chapter when they state that Danny is "plummeting up and down on his own steam."  Ahem, Kirkus: that is a reference to some events in Book 1, in w...
The critics have done a poor job of actually reading the book.  Kirkus Reviews fails to understand even the first chapter when they state that Danny is "plummeting up and down on his own steam."  Ahem, Kirkus: that is a reference to some events in Book 1, in which Danny accidentally makes a gate that shoots his teenage classmates up and down that he is helpless to stop.  It was a major part of the plot?  Remember?  Way to prove you have actually read the books. 
Meanwhile, Publisher's Weekly mocks those of us who managed to have a little self-control as teenagers and fails to notice that Danny's self-control is not really very good at all.  I mean, my measure of hormonal self-control involves not standing there thinking, "Hmm, maybe I should move out of this person's reach," but rather actually moving and then telling the person not to do it anymore, rather than tacitly encouraging more of the same while progressively getting closer and closer to the point of no return, until it gets crossed.  They must have skipped that part. 
And then Publisher's Weekly fails to notice the actually really bad consequences of Danny's heroic act, even though Wad spells a couple of them out in plain English.
The positive reviews are bland, more bland, and blah.  And that is why I felt compelled to write a review.  

In this book, we see the next step in Orson Scott Card's multi-series meanderings through the meaning of human relationships: the introspective relationship of the self to the self.  The explorations of this topic give us a far more "head-internal" narrative than we have seen in any of Card's recent books, which dwelled more strongly on interpersonal relationships.  
What I found most compelling was how the narrators cannot be trusted to actually reveal the hidden, subconscious thoughts of the characters.  We instead experience what the characters themselves experience, including all the lies they tell themselves.  This is the first book I have read in which narrator self-deception took center stage.  In case you don't understand what I'm talking about, I'll give an example.  
Danny, as another customer mentioned, repeats a refrain of only wanting to attend high school and be a normal kid.  However, if you look at his actions, it's clear that he doesn't want that at all.  If he did, he would not be acting in direct opposition to that desire at every opportunity.  In fact, judging from his actions, what he really wants is an audience to applaud him, or maybe even worshippers to worship him. 
Pranks are no fun if you laugh by yourself, yes, but he delights in it whenever a mere mortal feels gratitude to him, and he flexes his muscles whenever he can, just because he can.  These are not the actions of someone who wants to be normal and blend in.  But some part of him understands this about himself, and he does start to consciously become aware of it eventually, which drives him to seek out ways to prove to himself that he is a good person.  
His self-deception starts to fall apart, and he starts to question his own motives and actions.  More than that, as part of the theme of self-self relationships, Card is demonstrating that people have multiple internal realities that do not necessarily consciously know each other.  This part of the discussion of self-to-self is most blatantly covered by the revealing of the nature of Mithermage souls and gatefather/manmage powers, which are both gained from fragmenting pieces of the self.

posted by 4652737 on April 3, 2013

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

I've read most of Mr. Card's books. Everything from Treason on.

I've read most of Mr. Card's books. Everything from Treason on. I skipped the bible wives stuff and the Red Prophet stuff. But other than that I've read almost everything by him. I was looking forward to this book for a while. And I'm sorely disappointed. It's pre...
I've read most of Mr. Card's books. Everything from Treason on. I skipped the bible wives stuff and the Red Prophet stuff. But other than that I've read almost everything by him. I was looking forward to this book for a while. And I'm sorely disappointed. It's predictable, it's puerile, the story is uninteresting, and he spends a lot of time making Danny almost saint-like in his non-violence and non-reaction to betrayal, injustice, and antagonism from his family. I'm at a loss to adequately explain just how bad this book is. I don't leave much feedback (if any) and I certainly wouldn't have thought I'd be leaving negative feedback on one of my favorite authors of over 20 years. But this book... it's garbage. It has poor dialogue. Poor plot management. Inconsistencies that jarred me out of my willing suspension of disbelief. And it effectively made me dislike the protagonist's active lack of participation in his own life not to mention the unrealistic focus on him "just wanting to attend highschool". Ugh. Card can do better. He has. This was drivel and I want my money back.

posted by Finmalligan on March 26, 2013

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