Reviews for Pathfinder

Booklist Reviews 2010 November #1
*Starred Review* The first in a series, Card's latest title has much in common with his Ender Wiggins books: precocious teens with complementary special talents, callously manipulative government authorities, endlessly creative worlds, and Card's refusal to dumb down a plot for a young audience. Here he takes the notions of folding space and time, embracing paradox, "adopting a rule set in which . . . causality . . . controls reality, regardless of where it occurs on the timeline." Thirteen-year-old Rigg is a Pathfinder, one who sees the paths of others' pasts. Rigorously trained and thoroughly educated by his demanding father, Rigg is horrified when Father dies unexpectedly after a final order to find the sister he never knew he had. Rigg is accompanied on this journey by a small group of friends who have powers of bending and manipulating the flow of time. Card also skillfully twines a separate story line into the plot, featuring earth's colonization of distant planets, led by the idealistic young pilot Ram Odin. Fast paced and thoroughly engrossing, the 650-plus pages fly by, challenging readers to care about and grasp sophisticated, confusing, and captivating ideas. As in L'Engle's Time Quartet, science is secondary to the human need to connect with others, but Card does not shy away from full and fascinating discussions of the paradoxical worlds he has created. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Spring
Thirteen-year-old Rigg sees the paths of living things in the past. Another boy, Umbo, can speed up time, and together they master time travel. Chapters are interspersed with the tale of Ram, who s leading a spaceship voyage to establish a human colony on a distant planet. Master storyteller Card weaves science fiction conventions--time travel, epic quest, intrigue--seamlessly and in startling ways. Copyright 2011 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2011 #1
Card, author of Ender's Game, here debuts a new YA science-fiction series. Thirteen-year-old Rigg can see the paths of every living thing in the past. When his father dies mysteriously, Rigg comes into possession of some highly valued jewels -- and the knowledge that his sister and mother are alive. Another boy from his village, Umbo, has the power to speed up time, and together they master the fundamentals of time travel as they journey from the backwoods to the Imperial capital, where they hope to find Rigg's family. Chapters are interspersed with the tale of another journey: Ram is leading a spaceship voyage to establish a human colony on a distant planet, but its success also hinges on time travel. Ram's unforeseen ability to wreak havoc on the time jump waylays their plans. As the intricate rules of time travel gradually come to light, so too does the connection between the two stories, setting the stage for the next book. Card, ever the master storyteller, employs many familiar conventions of science fiction and fantasy -- time travel, space journey, epic quest, court intrigue -- but weaves them together seamlessly and in startling ways. JONATHAN HUNT Copyright 2011 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2010 October #2

A brain-bending bildungsroman kicks off a promising science-fiction series. Rigg has spent all his 13 years trapping in the wild, aided by his peculiar ability to trace the past of any living being, until his enigmatic father's death thrusts Rigg into a wider world to search for his previously unknown sister. His friend Umbo (whose own special talent is slowing down time) tags along when they discover that their gifts can combine in unexpected ways. Rigg, Umbo and their various allies and enemies are likable characters (if preternaturally clever, witty and self-aware), and their interactions believable and charming. Their planet proves fascinating to explore, despite the highly implausible juxtaposition of advanced theoretical science with pre-industrial technology. The implications of the boys' power to manipulate the past unfold cleverly (if with interminable analytic dithering), feeding into the Machiavellian political intrigue for a pulse-pounding climax. Casual sexist references, a weird fascination with excretory functions and a baffling authorial afterword explaining "what 'really' happened" may put some readers off; still, Card's many fans will be thrilled by this return to his literary roots. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 October #3

Card entwines two stories in this fascinatingly complex series opener. In one, 13-year-old Rigg is living a contented life with his acerbic and intellectually challenging father as a backcountry trapper, using his magical ability to perceive paths that show the past movements of people and animals--anywhere from minutes to thousands of years earlier. Then his father dies suddenly, and Rigg becomes an outcast with his friend Umbo, after Rigg is wrongly blamed for Umbo's brother's death. Interwoven is the story of starship captain Ram Odin, whose interspatial jump toward a new colony world results in a bizarre paradox with far-reaching consequences. The result is an amalgamation of adventure, politics, and time travel that invokes issues of class and the right to control one's own life. Yet despite its complexity, the book is never less than page-turning. While Card delves deeply into his story's knotted twists and turns, readers should have no trouble following the philosophical and scientific mysteries, which the characters are parsing right along with them. An epic in the best sense, and not simply because the twin stories stretch across centuries. Ages 12-up. (Nov.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2010 December

Gr 7 Up--Card's latest work of speculative fiction twists together tropes of fantasy and science fiction into something fine indeed. Rigg and his father are trappers by trade, but Rigg has been instructed throughout his 13 years in languages, sciences, history, and politics. The teen is therefore somewhat mentally prepared for the quest that his father thrusts upon him with his dying breath--to go to the capital city and find his sister. Both Rigg and his friend, Umbo, have a special ability that aids them--Rigg can see the paths of all living things, regardless of intervening obstructions or even time, and Umbo can seemingly change the movement of time itself. Needless to say, the two meet various friends and foes and can't always tell which is which as they journey onward. Juxtaposed with this main story is an entirely different narrative, told in a page or two at the beginning of each chapter. This is the tale of Ram Odin, human pilot of a colony ship from Earth, traveling to a new world with the use of space-folding technology. The combination of science fiction and fantasy as well as a surprising revelation at the end harken back to genre classics like Robert Silverberg's Lord Valentine's Castle (HarperCollins, 1980) and Roger Zelazny's Nine Princes in Amber (Doubleday, 1970). This novel should appeal to Card's legion of fans as well as anyone who enjoys speculative fiction with characters who rely on quick thinking rather than violence or tales of mind-bending time-travel conundrums.--Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI

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