Review: Pathfinder

This post will include my review of the book Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card. It is the first volume of the series that shares the book’s name, released in October 2011.

The text below is taken from the blurb on the back of the book.

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.

I purchased this book not knowing that it was written for a teen audience, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy reading it.

Despite its target audience pathfinder tackled subjects that can get fairly complex, such as time travel, physics, causality, politics and human nature so I am not surprised that I found this one in amongst adult science fiction and fantasy books. But while the subject matter might be somewhat complex the writing certainly wasn’t. The matter-of-fact way in which the story was delivered would have posed no trouble for any young reader to handle.

Pathfinder is almost two stories at once. The first is a shortish tale of humanity colonising a new world in a distant solar system which occupies the opening paragraphs of each chapter, and the second is the tale of Rigg and his strange time altering powers. The two stories relate to one another but I won’t spoil it by discussing how.

I enjoyed the first book enough to want to pick up book 2 when it comes out, and would recommend this book for anyone who has a teenager interested in trying their hand at some hard science-fiction that isn’t so dry that they’ll avoid the genre for ever.


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