Rigg is well trained at keeping secrets. Only his father knows the truth about Rigg's strange talent for seeing the paths of people's pasts. But when his father dies, Rigg is stunned to learn just how many secrets Father had kept from him - secrets about Rigg's own past, his identity, and his destiny. And when Rigg discovers that he has the power not only to see the past, but also to change it, his future suddenly becomes anything but certain.
Rigg's birthright sets him on a path that leaves him caught between two factions, one that wants him crowned and one that wants him dead. He will be forced to question everything he thinks he knows, choose who to trust, and push the limits of his talent... or forfeit control of his destiny.
©2010 Orson Scott Card (P)2010 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
"The implications of the boys' power to manipulate the past unfold cleverly..., feeding into the Machiavellian political intrigue for a pulse-pounding climax....Card's many fans will be thrilled by this return to his literary roots." (Kirkus)
A truly enjoyable listen! The plot develops very cleverly, leaving the listener intrigued all the way at what is to come next. The personalities of the main characters are many-faceted and described with much detail. A very enjoyable 'twist' was the subplot at the beginning of each new chapter: in the beginning I kept wondering what it had to do with the whole story. But as the book unfolds the history of the planet Garden as well as the true nature of Rigg's gift and the relationship with his 'father' becomes clear. I can't wait to find out what happens in the next book, and whether Rigg and his friends manage to unite all 'wallfolds'...
This is Orson Scott Card doing what he does best - the first book in a new series. It has a cast of good characters and the story was engaging. It holds plenty of promise for the books to come, although that's not typically what OSC does best (e.g. the Alvin, Ender and Homecoming series all start off excellent or good and trail off). Hoping this series and the Mithermage series change that trend. They both have promise.
The premise is really interesting and the story seems fairly good, but it is let down massively by the narrators.
I can understand wanting multiple narrators for the different characters but in this case it doesn't work. It can get confusing and a couple of them aren't as good as the others.
Would have been better to stick with one (or two, like the Stormlight Archive).
This book has a good story in it if only the author would let it out. Every single possible outcome has to be debated, either with the other protagonists, or if they're not there with oneself. I was ready to scream at times. Further more, although the main character is meant to have been intensively educated by his father I still could not accept that he was a young teenager. His father must have excised every bit of the child from him and left a rather dull young man.
"Story OK, Narration Mixed"
I am a huge OSC fan, having read/listened to many books. This story is not as strong or mature as most stories. Feels half polished. The majority of the narration is good, but the second half of the book sees some narrator changes that are inconsistent and one chapter is downright annoying enough that I stopped playback 4 times. At times I felt like I was listening to Treasure Island. I wish the story and narration was as polished as the excellent Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow on Audible.
Theories about causality and time travel.
Changes in the actual narrator and voicing were very inconsistent in the second half. It detracted from the character development and caused me to pause playback several times.
"Entertaining and Irritating."
I find myself very conflicted about this book. I like Card and consider him to be a good author. His premise is interesting and entertaining. However, as an audio experience, this book was often irritating. Much of the dialogue throughout is extremely pedantic . For example, if one character says that the people of a town are unfriendly, another character will point out that they haven???t met everyone. If someone suggested that the light goes out in a refrigerator when you shut the door, another will point out that, unless you are inside the refrigerator, you really don???t know. If I was reading the book, I???d probably tend to scan a lot of the dialogue. Audio makes you listen to every irritating exchange. I slogged through it to the end. The ending was okay, but I am not interested in what happens in the next book and will not listen to this book again. I don???t recommend it.
"You will need a ton of patience"
I've enjoyed other Card books, but this one doesn't make the list. I felt that the author needed to explain each persons powers or the events surrounding them is such detail that is was pretty unbearable to listen too. Card takes the explanation of moving through time to such a level that it makes this narration almost unbearable. I do not recommend this book.
I've enjoyed other books, so I had high hopes for this one. I was very disappointed.
The narration was good when done by the primary person, but the addition of two more people made the story disjointed and annoying to listen too.
I would trim down the scenes discussing the abilities. I appreciate that Card tried to detail the abilities of the characters and not water down what was happening, but it was such a tedious amount of detail that it was hard to keep my interest. I don't like it when an author say's 'and he time-traveled' and that is the end of the description, but the minute by minute accounting of how something was done became very annoying.
"Not my favorite OSC"
I've read quite a lot of OSC and I have to disagree with a lot of the reviewers. I found this one really dragged for me. The characters were interesting, as was the story, but there were endless conversations about the intricacies of time travel with the same concepts repeated over and over. I would have found the book moved much more quickly without that. If you read time travel books, you know there are paradoxes and you simply suspend those in your head and keep reading. I felt like he was trying to justify the physics of time travel with these repeated conversations and it just got in the way for me.
In addition (like many have mentioned), the narration was a mess. No individual narrator was bad, but there was no flow from character to character. It was like whoever happened to be in the studio that day did the narration. Very disjointed.
I'm not moving on to the next in this series.
"A huge disappointment for this longtime fan."
DISCLAIMER (FEEL FREE TO SKIP): First off, let me just say that I read extensively in the genre (20 - 30 books per year), and that I am a HUGE fan of Orson Scott Card. This book didn't change that. However, I feel he did a lot of things with this book which he did not do before, and it really didn't work for me. I feel like this warrants a poor review, because I do believe that this book appears to be marketed at adults of a certain reading level, but fails to rise to it. I'm all for guilty pleasure reading from time to time, but this book's flaws were simply too glaring—too irritating—to get past. I don't wish to "flame" this book in any way. There are plenty of positive reviews, and I just think it's important for there to be a helpful negative one to represent an alternative perspective.
Characters: It's important to develop characters that are interesting. Giving a character superpowers doesn't automatically make them interesting, though. Just ask anyone who saw Superman Returns. There needs to be a sense of gravitas to the main character. Rigg is flat as a pancake, though. It's also important to drop a main character into the "thick of it," which Card does do. I'll give him that. The scenario of the characters is sadly clichéd, but at least it's a proven formula for success. I won't spoil it with details. Finally, a character needs to be RELATABLE. Even the best villains are relatable in some manner. Don't expect yourself to find Rigg relatable, though—or anyone else in this book, for that matter. Most characters are so stupidly stubborn, so exceedingly arrogant, and yet so ignorant, that I doubt many such people exist. If they did, they certainly wouldn't be the type to read books. Hence, the characters are unrelatable. I docked 1 star for this.
Plot: The plot is contrived. Again, I don't wish to spoil anything, so I won't go into much more detail. If you know what "contrived" means, you will likely find this plot to be such. It's got a few twists of originality in the details, but on the broad scope it's a story I've encountered far too many times. I can't really dock it for this, though, as many people may not have read as widely as I have. I just thought it was worth mentioning.
Storytelling: This is by far the worst part of this book. I have (as I write this very review) Orson Scott Card's book "How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy" sitting on my desk here. It's fantastic, so I know the man knows his stuff. However, he breaks all of his own rules, and I can't figure out why. There wasn't a single piece of description in the first chapter, and very little in the second chapter. Why? Exposition. Card is so pleased with his constructed scenario, that he uses the WORST INFO DUMP I've read in probably 10 years. Funny, because he has a section in his writing guide that states, "Too much raw information up front, and the reader can't keep it all straight…The audience quickly learns that you don't know how to tell a story, and you've lost them. Instead, information must be trickled into a story, always just enough to know what's happening." You can construct the most interesting scenario in the world, but if the story isn't told well, you will fail to create a good book. I docked 2 stars for this.
Narration: You can decide for yourself from the sample if you can tolerate the narration. I personally didn't mind it all that much, but to each their own.
Competent readers, beware. This is probably Card's worst book to date. Try Ender's Game or Bean if you're looking to get started. You won't be disappointed in those. I promise.
"Great Story.....Crazy Narration"
OSC!!!....STOP SWITCHING NARRATORS!
You're making me nuts....or nuttier.... You start with Stefan Rudnicki who defines brilliantly the characters and their voices...the kids, the adults, then .....you get a new chapter....all of a sudden, the voices change....Now The Adult "Loaf", sounds younger than the 13 year old. Its ridiculous. It also disrupts the flow big time. Not the first OSC book to do this. It's like Stefan called in sick that day, so they just let whoever was around do a few chapters. Nuts. Different narrators for the second parallel story would be fine...just not for the same characters!!!
So Great Story....Disruptive narration....
Good Story bad Narration. The thing I really wanted to point out, is that this book seems to have at least 3 different people reading it. The first narrator is good and you get used to him then they change to a second one for a brief part. But I just got to a new section with a new reader that is so different and frankly over the top theatrical that it has ruined the book for me. I have stopped listening to it and am considering buying the physical book in order to finish the story. very strange choice by whomever recorded this...
"An Interesting Tale Involving Time Travel"
I have mixed feelings about this book. Card has some interesting ideas involving time travel. I liked how he used two different time lines to help explain how events unfold. However, I thought some of the reasoning and conclusions the protagonist would immediately come up with were a bit too easy and convenient. There are plenty of holes to be found with time travel and this book doesn't shy from such paradox's that arise. It is actually a bit confusing if this is meant to be for children. The characters tend to talk a lot about using their abilities for time travel and the book spends a lot of wasted time on trying to explain their successes and failures in this venture. I felt there could have been more action when it was all said and done. I think this could have been a stand alone novel in it's own right and I didn't care for the ending at all. In addition, there were some obvious parts of this book that were a little frustrating, like Rigg's father dying. I mean, did anyone actually believe that occurred? As such, It was fairly easy to draw a lot of conclusions before the protagonist even came to them which shows poor writing. So I think in the end I am really trying to say it was all a little too convenient, predictable, and somewhat confusing.
The narration was dreadful. I'm not exaggerating here. At the start I didn't care for the narrator. I didn't like how his voice fit the characters and it all seemed a little too plain. Then you get used to the voice. Halfway through we get a different narrator who over animates his voices of characters to the point where it is distracting. And then soon after that we get a different narrator coming in and so on.
"A lot to recommend"
There was a great deal to like about this book. I liked the references to biology/evolution and physics/time-travel. Anytime one deals with time-travel there is always the inevitable "paradox" to deal with. While an important and necessary commentary, sometimes Card seems to overdo it with dialogues on the paradoxes.
In the production, I did not care for the use and switching of multiple narrators for the same characters. That makes no sense whatsoever and must have had something to do with the audio production itself. All of the narrators were very good but the lack of consistency was distracting and detracted from the work.
I have wanted to read Card before this book. I have been very tempted to begin the Ender series on many occasions but hesitated because so much seemed to revolve around children. Personally, I have raised 7 children and, while a wonderful experience, I am ready and have moved on to more adult dialogues. The childish conversations in the book and the way they were narrated sometimes seemed a bit contrived and unsatisfying. It was one of the main reasons I gave up on the Wheel of Time after about 4 of the books.
The plot and character development were excellent. The hero, while young, was quite multidimensional [no pun]. Not a great deal but probably sufficient time was spent describing the scenes. The politics were simply Machiavellian and not much variety or alternatives there.
The melding of past and present, medieval and futuristic is excellent. The confluence and reconciliation of these in the end is beautifully done. And, while Card gives the reader a quite satisfactory and satisfying ending, enough is left unfinished to warrant a Part 2. And I am very much looking forward to the continuation. After Part 2 I'll reconsider Ender.
"Okay if you're a big Orson Scott Card fan"
Linguistics + Political Science + Theoretical Physics + Riverboats + Spaceships + Magical/Time traveling abilities = Pathfinder. If that sounds like a good mix to you, then jump right in. If you're like me, it was a few too many genres and not enough of any one. Just when I got interested in the characters' abilities, it became a political struggle. Just as I cared about the political intrigues, (SPOILER) they were crossing the wall. It was pretty obvious what was going to happen about a quarter into the book, and there wasn't much character development after that. The book just kind of coasts to an unfulfilling segway into what will be more books but I don't think I'll continue in the series.
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