I just finished Gate Thief, the second book is Card’s Mithermage trilogy. The first book was a lot of fun. The second book–I don’t recommend it, unless and until the last book comes out and gives us an idea whether the series as a whole is worth reading.
Nearly every SF and fantasy author has a problem with second books. Card’s problem seems worse. His only second book that didn’t drop off badly was Red Prophet. (I don’t count Speaker for the Dead as a second book, nor Ender’s Shadow. But if you count those, then you’d say that Card’s second books either drop off badly or not at all).
The main problem in Gate Thief is the main problem in Xenocide/Children of the Mind and Ruins: Card invents a fictional Orson Pratt metaphysics and gets enamored with it at tedious length. This obviously does no good for the action and the plot, so he then juices up the story with *very* adolescent bickering between the main characters. Ugh.
What galls is that in the afterword Card reveals that he had a (much more interesting, in my opinion) story in mind involving a war of the gods. But he junked it, he said, because he’s a more mature writer now. Back when he was writing callow works like Treason he probably would have stuck with it, he said. Alas, Treason was a much better book than Gate Thief.