Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Review: Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card

I've just recently finished reading Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card. Now, I know some of his religious and political opinions and actions are offensive or upsetting to many, but you have to admit that the guy can write!

Amazon has a decent synopsis, so I won't bother to write one out here.
I never enjoy reading long walls-of-text reviews, so here are my + and - thoughts on Pathfinder.


  • It's a story of discovering a lost past, which tickles the fancy of the RPG gamer in me
  • The main character is a social chameleon, a "face" character, not an action hero
    • I realise that Card never really writes about fighters and barbarians as protagonists, so this is not rare, but I enjoyed the way he wrote Rigg as a person
  • Time travel was handled as a plot device, not as a paradox-inducing headache
  • Two stories told in separate narrative converged nicely, and I was just as excited about the one as the other
  • Political motivations and intrigue were used but not overused (I struggled with Frank Herbert's later Dune books because the politics was so heavy)
  • Card's style is, as usual, dialogue-driven rather than description-driven, making for a fast paced read
  • This book contains refined versions of many of Card's other concepts from previous novels
  • The opening for a sequel was well executed: I want to read more badly, but can enjoy Pathfinder as a standalone novel if Ruins turns out to be a failure


  • Seriously, when will Card write a protagonist who is over the age of 16?
    • I understand that his protagonists are as I was at that age: older intellectually than physically. However, it's still just odd that he always writes about young characters. Coming-of-age stories can happen at 17, 18, 22, or the 13 he keeps choosing.
  • Card, again, reuses many elements from his previous books--a double edged sword, as I enjoyed this to some extent but hated it in other ways
  • It's not strictly an adventure
    • While I enjoyed every second of the physics discussions, I know not everyone will enjoy it

1 comment:

  1. I like the sound of this book. It seems to contain all the elements necessary for a great read. I will be listening to the review of it by Elaine Charles on her radio shoe The Book Report, this weekend on Sunday 29 April. I love her reviews and generally make my reading decisions based on the,. If you want to know where to tune in or to listen to the archives, go to