Daniel North is a descendant of Norse gods with the knack for language and magical gifts but his particular gifts are considered dangerous and he must keep them hidden to stay alive. Thankfully he’s smart and resourceful and gets help along the way. Help that comes from others like him but not his own family which may want him either dead or see him as a means to an end.
I think this is only the second Orson Scott Card book that I’ve read, the other being Songmaster and in both cases I’ve finished the books being both satisfied and unsure. The worlds he creates are rich and textured as are his characters but there are elements of his writing style that puzzle me a little.
This book for example may seem like a good choice for young adult readers since the main character is a teenager but almost none of the stories deals with issues most teens face. Ironically he reads novels meant for teenagers just to fit in.
The other aspect about Card is he draws emotional characters that sometimes don’t go anywhere in the story while others that play key parts don’t seem to have much depth at all. True, sometimes a character is needed to move a plot forward but often these characters are introduced at points where the story is already churning along and still other characters which seem to inject substantial details to the plot seem shallow.
I probably would only give the book 3 stars for the story itself but he does include an Afterword that ads some dimensions that might be explored in future books. I’m not sure if he plans to write these as an actual series or just a world with characters he will visit in future volumes.