Review: Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Pathfinder by Orson Scott CardPathfinder by Orson Scott Card
Series: Pathfinder #1
Published by Simon and Schuster on 2011-10-04
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy & Magic, Science & Technology, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 672
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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one-half-stars

From the author of Ender’s Game, the soon-to-be major motion picture!A powerful secret. A dangerous path. 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.

Rigg, main character of Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card, has a special gift. He can see the path of all living things through time, but only the past. His ability to sense paths leads him to trouble, but also comes in handy to save him and his friends. Pathfinder opens on a note of tragedy. Rigg’s father dies within the first chapter and with his last breath asks Rigg to find his long estranged sister. Thus begins this sci-fi journey fraught with peril, political intrigue, and new friends along the way.

To be quite honest, I don’t think Pathfinder was the book for me. Now, I don’t shy away from long books. I mean, some of my favorite books are door stoppers. With Pathfinder, I felt as though 300 pages could have been cut and I wouldn’t have missed anything. I dreaded reading this once I got past the exciting beginning. Sure, I was curious about what happens to Rigg, and the twists, but not enough to be in anxious anticipation.

I think part of my disdain may be due to the impression that the book didn’t trust the reader to figure it out and understand. For instance, Rigg would do something, then ruminate on it and all other outcomes for a paragraph when the average reader doesn’t need all that spelled out. I felt as though obvious thing after obvious thing was stated. To me, it’s as though the writing was dumbed down for a YA audience. Now, I don’t really pull my opinion out of thin air. Over the years, I’ve read hundreds of YA books, and I know what works for me when reading YA and what doesn’t. Although, that’s not to say that things which don’t work for me automatically don’t work for others. Not at all.

Also, perhaps, finally, my bias colors this review. Perhaps I would have been more tolerant of the things that irritated me had I not known about the author’s anti-gay stance. Or this. To judge this way is maybe unfair, but unfortunately in this case I can’t separate the book from the author. I am only human, and not a professional reviewer. I thought when accepting this book for review, I would be able to get past that, as the story did sound vastly intriguing, but unfortunately, you know the rest.

one-half-stars
About April (Books&Wine)

April is 28 years old and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. In her free time she can be found reading, working out, or eating junk food. She often wears her sunglasses at night.

Comments

  1. I have never been able to separate this author from his books either. I know people who are true fans of Ender’s Game but I could never be; I think he’s horrible.

  2. I thought this books sounded interesting but the reviews I’ve read make me think that I might not enjoy it so much. I also heard that it’s very complicated. So I’ll probably pass up on it.

  3. I have a hard time separating the author from the books in some cases. James Frey is one that I absolutely can’t do now. I own two of his books before I realized what he was really like. I don’t even have a desire to read them now.

    I don’t think this one sounds like my cup of tea anyway! Thanks for your review!

  4. Oh dear. I had no idea he was a homophobe. Sad. I do think it is hard to not let one’s feelings about an author affect their experience of the author’s work. For some those feelings may just always linger in the back of their mind as they read, for others it may keep them from reading all together.

  5. I try my best not to know too much about authors. I would rather enjoy their works than enjoy their persons. and…that sounds all kinds of wrong but yeah you get it.

  6. While I have heard so many good things about Ender’s Game and other books by this guy I just don’t think I could ever enjoy them. After I came across articles talking about his views and the really hateful things he says about LGBT people and others it just completely turned me off. I couldn’t picture reading anything he had written, even in my absolute favorite genres of all time. I can better spend my time reading books whose stories I can enjoy, guilt free. You are very brave for attempting to tackle this nonetheless and I tip my hat to you for it.

  7. It’s difficult not to think about the authors, after all they are the ones who create what we read and if the idea is to “write what you know” then the reader is going to find out about them anyway.

    This book has an interesting premise but having recently read a story which means that I totally see where you are coming from when you talk about obviousness and not letting the reader think, I reckon this wouldn’t be for me.

  8. I try not to think about authors, but Card is one author I absolutely detest and I refuse to ever read anything he’s written. I just can’t separate his beliefs from his writing.

  9. Being a reader going into this book and knowning nothing about the author or reading any of the other books I can give you my view on it.

    As stated above he does a lot of explaining throughout the book, which at times helps, but more often then not it is redundant and boring. There are quite a few concepts in the book regarding time/space travel that are very confusing, and the philisophical look at this can only make things worse. The characters contemplate a lot on what could happen and then explain WHY it could happen and why they should not try said thing, then they end up doing it anyways, this bothered me A LOT.

    When the author has the characters trying to describe and help us readers understand these time/space traveling things it does little in most cases to help me understand.

    Also for some reason all the characters in this story seem to have such a great intellect as to understand all of these time/space travel concepts. Even the supposed less intelligent characters have some crazy understanding of the complicated subjects brought forth in this book.

    This aside the plot is engaging and exciting and kept me reading. I may reccomend this to philosophy and physics educated people as this book involves a lot of that.

  10. While I appreciate that you fully intended to put your personal feelings about the author aside when you read this book, I think it’s perfectly understandable that you couldn’t. From your blog in general I get the impression that you’re someone who stands up passionately for your beliefs, and that’s part of what makes you stand out as a blogger. Kudos to you for being generous enough to point out this bias in your review.

  11. reviewer says:

    you people are really shallow for letting personal opionins about an author affect you reading a great book i mean who really freaking cares i dont care if he cant accept or likes gay people but does that stop me now cause i dont let it cloud my judgement like u hypicritical shallow people have oh wow she wrote a poor review over a great offer and was biased because he doesnt like gay’s shes so strong NOT. big deal get over it and join the real world im sure you people dont like certian people as pointed in ur statement u dont like people tht dont like gay people seriously read the books then decide weither or not you can say you honestly like them or not and yes i am reading this book at the moment and so far i can say its not too bad its certianly ntot eh greatest nor the wost but it is above average. it may not be as good as enders game but what of it

    • Wait, what? Can you please re-write that in proper English as I can barely comprehend what you wrote.

    • Dear Reviewer,

      Human rights is KIND OF a big deal. In this day and age gay people are fighting for equality and it is people like you who say “WHO CARES” that keep them from achieving that equality. So when an author makes it his business to openly, and publicly state his feelings on an issue it is PERFECTLY fine to let that ‘cloud things’. I for one am ashamed I bought 2 copies of this book.

    • @reviewer Do you have something against punctuation and spell check?

  12. Thanks for the honest review. I absolutely loved Ender’s Game and was wavering on this one. I never knew that about Orson Scott Card and it does disappoint me. I can understand why it could affect your opinion. It’s bad but this is one reason I’m sometimes happy not to know too much about an author outside of their books. I think I will pass on this one.

  13. carlos mendoza says:

    Im 12 and i find that pathfinder may get a bit complicated for some people at certain points. Even though i read this book and enjoyed it very much i believe that this book was to attract the attention of an older audience who are more intelligent than a child of my age because at some points it gets complicated to a degree in wich i must ponder for a long time the meaning of what i have just read. Nevertheless an amazing book 10/10

  14. Danabanana says:

    Really, you can’t get over the author’s anti-gay stance? Good grief! Do we have to hate people because they don’t believe a man should be with another man in the bedroom!? It’s JUST as bad as hating someone because, hmmmm good example, they’re gay. Ridiculous. If you want to be accepted, learn to be accepting. This has nothing to do with the book. I have never heard Orson Scott Card say, “Well I like this BOOK but this guy is gay.” And he wouldn’t. Because a book is a book. Review the book, please, not the author’s morals. I’ve read this book and found NOTHING that would indicate he is anti-gay IN THE MATERIAL, so WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH THE BOOK REVIEW? How completely unprofessional. Please can we let people have their opinions for the love, seriously.

  15. annonymous says:

    Good story, but indeed to much of it dragging on, to be honest all of the ideas of why he thought things happened the way they did started confusing me more then the ideas i pictured of why they were happening. None the less tho I look forward to continuing the journey in the future books.

  16. I’m reading it right now, 4% in, I’m not really like the narrative voice. I mean, Rigg just strikes me as boring, not at all the interesting main character I want.
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