Review: “Pathfinder”

2018

Title: Pathfinder

Author: Orson Scott Card

Published: 11/23/10

Orson Scott Card has a ton of books, and I have only read Ender’s Game (albeit a few times!). His other books have been on my to-read list, and I am still hoping to get to them, but when I saw Pathfinder, I knew I had to grab it. The cover alone is appealing with the sword and the wisps of smoke or air. At 657 pages it’s a beast of a book— just how I like them.

The premise is that the main character Rigg can see paths left by every living thing, forever.  Yeah, that’s a lot of paths. Luckily they fade and change colors with age, and during his life with his father—trapping animals and selling the furs off— he has learned to differentiate between animals and humans, and individuals at that.

Tragedy strikes not that far into the story, and Rigg is faced with uncertainty for his life. But he discovers that after all these years, he has a mother and a sister who are alive. He sets out on a quest to find them along with his friend Umbo. Umbo has a gift too—he can slow time. With the two gifts together, they begin to experiment on their travels, and see just how far their talents can take them.

This is a wonderful, epic-feeling tale. It is at its core a quest. Rigg is trying to figure out who he is, and as the story continues he discovers that all he has known has been thrown into question. There are a lot of interesting, believable characters too, which add depth and richness to the story.

Another unique point is that at the beginning of each chapter, for a few paragraphs or a few pages, a completely different story is told. This new tale is about a young man named Ram who is piloting a space ship to take humans to another planet to create a new colony. The stories aren’t the same at all, different times in history, different characters, and it takes a while into the book for the purpose of this additional story to reveal itself. But it is beautifully done, and the plots really reveal the connection to one another in perfect synchronicity.

One part that pulled me slightly from the plot and story was the discussion of time and changing things in the past and all the implications of that. What’s great about it is, the characters ask questions about it like real people would. They don’t just accept it as it is, but they discuss and get confused, and it was wonderful to feel like they were inside my head. A few times I definitely thought, wow, that’s exactly what I would want to know in this complex situation!

Card truly is a master story-teller. If I ever had any doubt (which I didn’t if I’m being honest!), after finishing this book it is completely gone. The ending was wonderful, and it was a delight as the revelations appeared, creating a complex, rich story that was totally worth reading.

Review by: Lauren Z.

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