Until recently my geek card was a little lacking as I had never read anything by Orson Scott Card. I know! What?! But I found myself quite entranced with his Mither Mages series that I borrowed from the library. I read the first two books in rapid succession and unable to get my hands on a copy of the third book right now I’ve moved on to some other things. But I definitely intend to finish this series!
Summary from GoodReads:
Danny North knew from early childhood that his family was different, and that he was different from them. While his cousins were learning how to create the things that commoners called fairies, ghosts, golems, trolls, werewolves, and other such miracles that were the heritage of the North family, Danny worried that he would never show a talent, never form an outself.
He grew up in the rambling old house, filled with dozens of cousins, and aunts and uncles, all ruled by his father. Their home was isolated in the mountains of western Virginia, far from town, far from schools, far from other people.
There are many secrets in the House, and many rules that Danny must follow. There is a secret library with only a few dozen books, and none of them in English — but Danny and his cousins are expected to become fluent in the language of the books. While Danny’s cousins are free to create magic whenever they like, they must never do it where outsiders might see.
Unfortunately, there are some secrets kept from Danny as well. And that will lead to disaster for the North family.
There is a lot going on with this series. Surprisingly I was not at all annoyed to be reading yet another book about a young teenager. Orson Scott Card is an amazing writer and the world sprang to life as I listened to Stefan Rudnicki and Emily Janice Card perform the novel. I enjoyed that there was a mixture of old world building with the gods from the past as well as mythologies interwoven in a contemporary world. If it had just been old world mythologies I would have lost interest fast, but the contemporary world story lines kept me interested and going back for more.
I also enjoyed that the setting was Northern Virginia, or NOVA, as people from there abouts like to call it. I loved that the author used what is often seen from the highways back hollars (hollows) of that area, with a sense of dignity and reason to why some people live the way that they do instead of making fun. I enjoyed the mix of country and city living that was expounded upon and Danny’s exploration of it all. It was fun to follow his adventures.
The narrators were wonderful story tellers and I liked that there were two, with each reading distinct story lines. This back and forth made it easy to keep up with the audible story, though I sometimes got annoyed when the story lines switched. If I had been reading it via paperback I probably would have skipped around a bit. I don’t know if it is a good thing or not that I wasn’t able to. The only thing I had an issue with was the male narrator’s pronunciation of a town I grew up near. But that probably only bothered me because it was jarring to my ears and wouldn’t be to most people’s ears.
If you like high fantasy and contemporary fantasy, or are a fan of either, and want to read something that intertwines the two, in a well written story line, definitely give this series a try. I recommend the audible version because I’m obsessed with audiobooks, but I’m sure reading it hardback or paperback is just as good.