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Allyson James
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The Gate Thief (Mithermages, #2) - Orson Scott Card, Stefan Rudnicki, Emily Rankin Oh, Orson Scott Card, what has happened to you? I picked up Ender's Game years ago and was blown away. The rest of the Ender's Saga series was even better than the first book, in my opinion. I tore through the Alvin Maker books and even found the first Pathfinder novel quite enjoyable. But the last couple of books I've read by Orson Scott Card have fallen laughably short of my (admittedly high) expectations. Ruins, the second in the Pathfinder series, was absolutely painful. The bland, introspection from the narrator was dull, pointless drivel. The characters were caricatures. I chalked it up to a fluke - this is Orson Scott Card we're talking about. Everybody has a bad day at the office, I told myself. So I picked up the audiobook of The Gate Thief and started listening.I'd listened to the audiobook of The Lost Gate, the first book in the Mithermages series, and found it fairly enjoyable. I fully expected The Gate Thief to be similar - entertaining, but no masterpiece. While The Gate Thief was somewhat entertaining, its flaws overwhelmed the better characteristics of the novel. One of the two voice actors was, frankly, awful. Our first-person narrator suffered from the same bland, pointless internal dialogue that the narrator in Ruins did. I have no idea what has happened to Orson Scott Card's editor, but I hope someone finds this person and unties them so they can get back to editing his books. And then there was the preaching. I try not to get too caught up in what an author says or does in their own time as long as it doesn't ruin their books. However, one can't read in a vacuum, and Orson Scott Card's zealous views sneaked into The Gate Thief. Yes, I understand that he believes in abstinence, but I honesty didn't need to be beat about the head with it. Secondly, Mr. Scott Card may be surprised to learn that not all women are either saintly matrons or evil temptresses (ugh). Finally, the whole "the devil's gonna get you" theme got boring really, really fast. At the end of the novel, Orson Scott Card himself read an afterword that was superfluous, arrogant and entirely unnecessary. No, Mr. Scott Card, I don't really want to hear about what a struggle it was to write this substandard story, nor do I much care about your inside baseball commentary.So while there were plot points that were reasonably entertaining in The Gate Thief, it ultimately failed for me. The poor voice acting was vastly overshadowed by the many flaws in the story itself. Orson Scott Card has apparently lost both his editor and the incredible storytelling talent that led me to enjoy so many of his books. I doubt I'll bother to pick up any more of his books.1.5 StarsRead this review and more on The Library Lass Book Talk Blog.