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High above the planet Harmony. the Oversoul watches Its task. programmed so many millennia ago. is to guard the human settlement on this planet-. -to protect this fragile remnant of Earth from all threats. To protect them. most of all. from themselves. The Oversoul has done its job well. There is no war on Harmony. There are no weapons of mass destruction. There is no tech High above the planet Harmony. the Oversoul watches Its task. programmed so many millennia ago. is to guard the human settlement on this planet-. -to protect this fragile remnant of Earth from all threats. To protect them. most of all. from themselves. The Oversoul has done its job well. There is no war on Harmony. There are no weapons of mass destruction. There is no technology that could lead to weapons of war. By control of the data banks. and subtle interference in the very thoughts of the people. the artificial intelligence has fulfilled its mission. But now there is a problem. In orbit. the Oversoul realizes that it has lost access to some of its memory banks. and some of its power systems are failing. And on the planet. men are beginning to think about power. wealth. and conquest.


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High above the planet Harmony. the Oversoul watches Its task. programmed so many millennia ago. is to guard the human settlement on this planet-. -to protect this fragile remnant of Earth from all threats. To protect them. most of all. from themselves. The Oversoul has done its job well. There is no war on Harmony. There are no weapons of mass destruction. There is no tech High above the planet Harmony. the Oversoul watches Its task. programmed so many millennia ago. is to guard the human settlement on this planet-. -to protect this fragile remnant of Earth from all threats. To protect them. most of all. from themselves. The Oversoul has done its job well. There is no war on Harmony. There are no weapons of mass destruction. There is no technology that could lead to weapons of war. By control of the data banks. and subtle interference in the very thoughts of the people. the artificial intelligence has fulfilled its mission. But now there is a problem. In orbit. the Oversoul realizes that it has lost access to some of its memory banks. and some of its power systems are failing. And on the planet. men are beginning to think about power. wealth. and conquest.

30 review for The Memory of Earth

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    I haven't set aside a shelf titled "science-fantasy" but now and then there are books that should be called that. This is a slightly odd book in a couple of ways. It's firmly a fantasy but set in a science fiction universe with a science fiction set-up. I found the book's opening interesting and was drawn into the story. Sadly it tends to lag badly in several places gets bogged down often. Aside from that the story itself is an interesting one and I think many will like it. There is something I f I haven't set aside a shelf titled "science-fantasy" but now and then there are books that should be called that. This is a slightly odd book in a couple of ways. It's firmly a fantasy but set in a science fiction universe with a science fiction set-up. I found the book's opening interesting and was drawn into the story. Sadly it tends to lag badly in several places gets bogged down often. Aside from that the story itself is an interesting one and I think many will like it. There is something I feel bound to mention here. If you know much about Mormon Theology I think a lot of it will jump out at you here. It's often about as subtle as a hammer to the side of the head. Still if you're not familiar with it I doubt you'll even notice it's there and you'll read this as just a "science fantasy" with some odd plot points. In the end I give this a lukewarm 3 stars. I found much of it interesting, a lot of it slow and almost boring and some of it annoying. For example, for some reason (and this could harken back to what I mentioned earlier) Mr. Card a la Robert Jordan has built a pretty much pointless and (as noted) annoying battle of the sexes motif into the story. I found it a distraction from the book, but there you are. So decide for yourself. I'm sure some will like this far more than I do and others will like this far less. To each. ------------------------------------- I added a "Science-Fantasy" shelf.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Shelly

    I'm not an Orson Scott Card hater and though I despise many of his politcal views I am a fan of a lot of his work, especially the Ender Game series which think is terrific. This one, I just didn't like. It wasn't horrible, but it is certainly nowhere near as good as the Ender series. Plus, all of the things that I don't like about Card (e.g., politics and moralizing) seemed to be front and center in this story. It was just too much and I didn't enjoy reading it. I'm not an Orson Scott Card hater and though I despise many of his politcal views I am a fan of a lot of his work, especially the Ender Game series which think is terrific. This one, I just didn't like. It wasn't horrible, but it is certainly nowhere near as good as the Ender series. Plus, all of the things that I don't like about Card (e.g., politics and moralizing) seemed to be front and center in this story. It was just too much and I didn't enjoy reading it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ahavaa

    Here's the biggest problem with this book: Card's a terrible world-builder. (Okay, the biggest problem might've been that whoever edited this book didn't feel comfortable telling Orson Scott Card that big chunks needed to be rewritten or scrapped, but I can't be too hard on our hypothetical editor: this book came out in 92, right when Card was big.) Sure, he's fine when telling us about his world - this is a book about a matriarchy, a city ruled by women, a city where women hold power, and no ma Here's the biggest problem with this book: Card's a terrible world-builder. (Okay, the biggest problem might've been that whoever edited this book didn't feel comfortable telling Orson Scott Card that big chunks needed to be rewritten or scrapped, but I can't be too hard on our hypothetical editor: this book came out in 92, right when Card was big.) Sure, he's fine when telling us about his world - this is a book about a matriarchy, a city ruled by women, a city where women hold power, and no man can spend even one night inside the city's walls if he doesn't spend that night in a woman's house. Okay. Fair enough; a little ridiculous, but okay, I'll play Fantasy Matriarchy with you, Card. How do we play? Oh, well, it's a matriarchy, but every guard mentioned in the narrative is a man. Oh! Unmarried men cannot spend the night in the city unless they spend it in a woman's house...unless they're the men selling goods and services in the market, because those markets are open 24-7. Is there a curfew? Is there any way to enforce this particular rule, or are we on the honor system? Spoiler: throughout the book, hahaha nope, we are on the honor system. Oh! Uh, if we're talking construction, all of the construction workers are burly men, by the way. Oh! If we're talking politics: the protagonist's mom has some sway, politically speaking, but every other named character with any influence in the politics of the city is a man. So in this matriarchy, Card gives us one (1) woman with a speaking role who's shown to have political power, and three (3) men with political ambitions and power. Oh! Um, also every merchant selling goods or handling money is shown to be a man, and all the bankers and stewards mentioned in the book are men. (There's a couple of merchants explicitly identified as female who sell...poetry and history and pornography, but I trust I don't need to explain why this is Not the Matriarchy I'm looking for.) How is this a matriarchy? Good question! Men have 75% of the political power, and men are the guards and bankers and construction workers and explorers and tradesmen, and they can enter and leave the city with impunity, and women are singers and dancers and teachers and raise each other's kids, and a couple of them are scientists, and a couple of them are politicians, but mostly: they are actresses and teachers and homemakers. This is not a Matriarchy, you're scowling. Where are the men crushed under the stiletto of oppression? I knooooow, I tell you. Look, this is what Card thinks is a matriarchy: exactly the same as the US, circa mid 1980s, but only women are allowed to own residential property inside the city proper, there's a special religious lake that men aren't allowed to visit, and people sign marriage contracts with each other that only last one year. (ONLY HETERO MARRIAGE. So basically: no-fault divorce is legal, but marriage is still only one man, one women, and gays are still icky, and there is DEFINITELY only two natural genders - which, by the way, is presumably why every man in the book spends 80% of his time panicking about whether he is Manning the Right Way, haha, lil sarcasm for you there - and no one is ever transgender.) Oh oh! There are "wilders" - naked desert women who wander into Matriarchy City, where the women of Matriarchy City consider them holy and sacred, but ...it is so common for men to rape them in the street that there's slang phrases that have developed to describe the act. Your Evil Oppressive Matriarchy, folks! Tremble at all of this sexy Male Oppression, y'know? So there's that trainwreck. Look, just...it needs an EDITOR so badly. Like all of Card's work, our protagonist is a boy whose one weakness is that he is Too Smart, right? So when we're in his head, it is generally acknowledged that his observations and perceptions are correct. There's a line in this book where the protagonist seriously considers who is "better," the "brutal but rational men, or the irrational but gentle women," when he's comparing their styles of worship. SPOILERS: in this book, women worship by going down to their sacred lake, jumping in the water, and tripping balls. Their magic computer gives them hallucinations, but only in that lake. In this book, men worship by going into a fountain and tearing themselves up with barbed rings. Everyone bleeds into the same water. It is apparently considered pious to submerge your freshly-wounded body in this mix of god-knows-how-many-men's-blood and water*. Why? WHO THE FUCK KNOWS? The only rational explanation is "because otherwise how will you be SURE that everyone has the same amount of hep C and HIV?" but I don't...think that's what Card was going for. But remember! Men: brutal, rational, (ALL INFECTED WITH EVERY SINGLE DISEASE). Women: gentle, irrational, (AND YET NOT THE ONES WHO ARE GOING TO WIPE OUT THE ENTIRE POPULATION WITH A HARDY STRAIN OF SYPHILIS.) I could continue picking out the stupid bits - this is a city that doesn't have wagons because wheels are forbidden, and the city is not DIRECTLY on the coast, but somehow shark fights that take place in pools inside the side are big enough that they're a commonly accepted cultural practice. (No, really. These people carry their goods in caravans on camelback. Explain in detail how you would transport a shark from the ocean to the shark pool without a wagon or wheeled conveyance of some fucking kind.) The whole book is like this! Maddening, weird, nonsensical bits that don't fit with anything else that Card has told us about this world that he's building. It's a promising first draft from an aspiring writer who's not bad but needs a lot of technical guidance? But not really worth money, honestly. *this practice is first seen through the eyes of the (probably?) fourteen-year-old protagonist, while he's naked, waist deep in a "swirling, thick mix" of other men's blood and water". there might be a way to interpret this that does not make you want to call Chris Hansen. good luck; i haven't found it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mel Windham

    The first I realized right off the bat was that this book was a retelling of the "Book of Mormon." Not the entertaining (and not-so-accurate) musical, but the actual book. Instead of Nephi, the main character is called Nafai. His brothers Laman, Lemuel, and Sam become Elemak, Mebbekew, and Issib. And instead of God leading the way, it's the Oversoul, a supercomputer that watches over humanity on the planet Harmony over the past forty million years. At first I thought this was pretty cool and a ne The first I realized right off the bat was that this book was a retelling of the "Book of Mormon." Not the entertaining (and not-so-accurate) musical, but the actual book. Instead of Nephi, the main character is called Nafai. His brothers Laman, Lemuel, and Sam become Elemak, Mebbekew, and Issib. And instead of God leading the way, it's the Oversoul, a supercomputer that watches over humanity on the planet Harmony over the past forty million years. At first I thought this was pretty cool and a neat idea, but then as the story progressed, I came to realize that I knew exactly how the book was going to progress. This started to become annoying and distracting. You ever try to read a book when your friend told you how it's going to end? Also, I think the actual book I read was a first edition. It had many errors such as bad punctuation, unclosed quotes, and misspelled/wrong words. (And it was published by Tor?) I'll just assume these got fixed in later editions. All this came together for me almost as if this were an early attempt at writing from my favorite author, and not a particularly good one--heavily relying on a religious text to guide the plot. But then I noticed something else. In a way, it was commentary on what could possibly have gone through the heads of Nephi and his brothers as they did what they did in the "Book of Mormon." And when Card's book ended, it did feel like it was somewhat more than an imitation of scripture. I had enjoyed some parts of it even though I knew what was coming. After all, Orson Scott Card always finds a way to bring everything together with a satisfying conclusion. Ultimately, I recommend reading this book, especially if you're an Orson Scott Card fan. This book tells the story about Nafai and his brothers. After forty million years of decay, the Oversoul computer realizes it's dying and losing influence on men. He/she/it calculates that the humans will destroy themselves. It chooses Nafai's family for reasons that become more apparent in the later books. Nafai's family must flee their extravagant lifestyle and prepare for whatever the Oversoul has in mind.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    I liked this whole sci-fi series. I've heard that it has a lot of Mormon themes in it (the author is Mormon or lapsed Mormon or something like that) but to be honest, I didn't notice it at the time I was reading it and it didn't interfere with my enjoyment. Dramatic stories, fun characters, big mysterious computers... I liked this whole sci-fi series. I've heard that it has a lot of Mormon themes in it (the author is Mormon or lapsed Mormon or something like that) but to be honest, I didn't notice it at the time I was reading it and it didn't interfere with my enjoyment. Dramatic stories, fun characters, big mysterious computers...

  6. 5 out of 5

    G33z3r

    An interesting story premise, and a well-written narrative, though only the start of what will apparently be a very long tale. Unfortunately, I found all the major characters so obnoxious (and frequently stupid) that I have no interest in reading the rest of their story.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    I really enjoyed reading this book. I liked the descriptions of the cultural and political systems used in the setting as they are very different from any other kind I have known of. I have also gotten to like many of the characters, and even some of their strange names, though a few of them still bother me (such as "Luet"). The only reason that I gave this book four stars rather than five is that I would have liked for it to surprise me a bit more. Being very familiar with the story that it is b I really enjoyed reading this book. I liked the descriptions of the cultural and political systems used in the setting as they are very different from any other kind I have known of. I have also gotten to like many of the characters, and even some of their strange names, though a few of them still bother me (such as "Luet"). The only reason that I gave this book four stars rather than five is that I would have liked for it to surprise me a bit more. Being very familiar with the story that it is based on (the first few chapters of the Book of Mormon), I knew what to expect every time. That made it interesting for a little while ("How is he going to incorporate this detail?"), but then I was disappointed that most of the suspense was lost. I always prefer to discover a story as I read it, and I wasn't able to do that to the degree that I wish I could. I would rather that, instead of simply being a retelling of parts of the Book of Mormon in a science-fiction setting, it took some main themes from the original story and incorporated them into a new story. Despite that setback, I liked this book a lot and would have other people read it, and will be looking for its sequels next time I'm in a bookstore that has a higher likelihood of carrying more of Orson Scott Card's books that just his most famous ones.

  8. 4 out of 5

    D. A.

    MEMORY is one of those books you either love or you hate. Well, let me revise that. Love, like, or hate. I liked this book. It reminded me a good deal about DUNE (which if you haven't read yet, you should). It has a strange culture, one that mixes old school tech--like horse-back riding and actually walking from place to place and swords and arrows--with cool new tech--clearly illustrated by the Oversoul's mental blocking and Issib's flotation devices. Card draws up a fascinating group of people, MEMORY is one of those books you either love or you hate. Well, let me revise that. Love, like, or hate. I liked this book. It reminded me a good deal about DUNE (which if you haven't read yet, you should). It has a strange culture, one that mixes old school tech--like horse-back riding and actually walking from place to place and swords and arrows--with cool new tech--clearly illustrated by the Oversoul's mental blocking and Issib's flotation devices. Card draws up a fascinating group of people, throws them into a plan made by God (i.e., the Oversoul), and then proceeds to wreak merry havoc with their lives. Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, I can draw up a lot of parallels with DUNE. There's a messiah, swords, an assload of religious fanatics, and the sense throughout the book that shit is going down. There's even a desert, although Harmony is not a true desert planet. MEMORY is a clear allusion to the Bible. Or, in Card's case, the Book of Mormon. (Yes, Orson Scott Card is, in fact, a Mormon.) There's a whole lot of religion in this book, enough so that it could very well make you want to put it down. But that's also were the book gets a lot of its shine. Much of the action is the play between two differing religions that are essentially praying to the same god in different ways. But I digress. On to the point of this review! The book, as a whole, is decent. Certainly, it has its flaws: I don't love Card's dialogue (at times, it sounds too much like a lecture, or a sermon), and sometimes Card dips into dues ex machina just a tad too much. But the dues ex machina can be explained by the Oversoul doing its thing, so I guess I can live with that. And the characters are very well-rounded. They're full, with strengths and weaknesses like we all have. They speak in bias. They're not perfect. Nafai--the central character of the book--is a young boy thrust into this world as much by the hand of the Oversoul as his own meddling. The plot is very well paced (something I think Card does very well, and is probably one of his greatest strengths as a writer), beautifully written, and masterfully done. It wraps up the episode storyline, while leaving enough tension in the end to make us want to read more. All in all, I think that Ender has overshadowed most of Card's other work, and this is truly a good series. It's not perfect, just like his characters, but that's where a lot of the joy comes from. Besides, what series is ever perfect? No book series--fantasy or otherwise--perfectly wraps up everything so that the readers are completely satisfied. Or at least all the readers. I would warn you, though, that if you can't stand a story with extreme religious undertones, don't read this.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Scott Marlowe (Out of this World Reviews)

    Rating Review *** This review originally appeared on Out of this World Reviews. *** So I'd never read anything by Orson Scott Card before. Of course I had heard of him and seen his books all over, but he was just one of those authors I never quite got around to reading. While that misstep has now been corrected, I had to put down The Memory of Earth. I fully intended to read the book front to back, but something had been nagging me almost since the beginning. Given that I was a newcomer to Card's wo Rating Review *** This review originally appeared on Out of this World Reviews. *** So I'd never read anything by Orson Scott Card before. Of course I had heard of him and seen his books all over, but he was just one of those authors I never quite got around to reading. While that misstep has now been corrected, I had to put down The Memory of Earth. I fully intended to read the book front to back, but something had been nagging me almost since the beginning. Given that I was a newcomer to Card's work, I was keeping an open mind and had no idea what to expect except that he's a prolific author so his stuff must be good, right? The thing is, the book isn't bad, it's just not good. It's a great idea--benevolent supercomputer controls peoples' minds, keeping them from destroying each other like they did literally 30 or so million years ago on Earth. Except that the computer starts to break down and needs help, so it starts to send certain individuals visions (that's how it communicates) saying more or less that it needs help. Sounds good, right? Except the book really lacks two things: (1) execution and (2) complexity. What I basically mean by #1 is that not enough happens, and, when something does happen, I often thought, "oh, that's nice". Not nearly enough suspense and the characters really aren't engaging enough. #2 has to do with the author's style. It's too simplistic. He tells me that this character is angry, and this one is sad instead of showing it, or something happens where its painfully obvious what's going on, but Card has to come along and throw in an explanatory sentence just in case you didn't get it. It was annoying to say the least. One of these days I'll take a look at Ender's Game, if only because it's considered the author's seminal work. For now, though, Card fades to the background on my reading list.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    This series had good potential, and I liked this novel, but once the series started getting "preachy" I dropped it like a hot potato. Card is a perfectly decent writer, though his style is pretty straightforward and lacking much flourish, but he let's his personal beliefs creep into most of his works. If it were just a couple of his novels that were thinly veiled Mormon mythologies it would be fine, but a large percentage of his later work is very colored by his religious beliefs. This novel and This series had good potential, and I liked this novel, but once the series started getting "preachy" I dropped it like a hot potato. Card is a perfectly decent writer, though his style is pretty straightforward and lacking much flourish, but he let's his personal beliefs creep into most of his works. If it were just a couple of his novels that were thinly veiled Mormon mythologies it would be fine, but a large percentage of his later work is very colored by his religious beliefs. This novel and the subsequent novels in the series are basically a retelling of the Mormons move from the East coast to Utah with some space thrown in. It's lazy scifi and lazy religious allegory to me. If I don't think about Card's preachiness then I like this novel (solid 3 stars.)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Barb Middleton

    I admire how the author creates complex characters with plenty of pathos (except the villain - he's one dimensional), but the plot doesn't quite come together. It is the first in a series and interesting. The author is good at his craft. The book, Scythe, by Neal Shusterman has a similar premise that does come together. I admire how the author creates complex characters with plenty of pathos (except the villain - he's one dimensional), but the plot doesn't quite come together. It is the first in a series and interesting. The author is good at his craft. The book, Scythe, by Neal Shusterman has a similar premise that does come together.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Holt

    The Memory of Earth has an INCREDIBLY compelling plot line with sub-par execution. The central idea is that we (humans) destroy earth through our warmongering, destructive natures. Some escape earth and traverse space to set up shop on Harmony. Harmony is so named because that is the goal -- curb human ingenuity so that we can never develop super-civilizations (think: we live in a global economy now; everything is readily accessible; the North Koreans are developing missiles that would reach LA, The Memory of Earth has an INCREDIBLY compelling plot line with sub-par execution. The central idea is that we (humans) destroy earth through our warmongering, destructive natures. Some escape earth and traverse space to set up shop on Harmony. Harmony is so named because that is the goal -- curb human ingenuity so that we can never develop super-civilizations (think: we live in a global economy now; everything is readily accessible; the North Koreans are developing missiles that would reach LA, etc.) To ensure we don't self-destruct in a matter of a million or so years (as we did on Earth), this group of humans does two things: one, they develop The Oversoul, which is a computer that can subtly influence our minds (such as make our minds fuzzy when we think of things like "airplanes"); and two, they genetically modify humans to be able to "receive" these computer-generated influences. And so, life on Harmony motors along splendidly for 40 million years, with no global catastrophes. Until the computer (Oversoul) starts to degrade (sidenote: give me a computer that lasts a fraction of that time, please and thanks). And here is where our story begins. It sounds great, right? Yes! We get to explore the fun themes of technology without globalization, small agricultural societies with high-tech tools, and also the ethics of AI mind-control! Except it read like a debut novel written by a high-schooler. (Not to offend high-schoolers, some of whom are excellent writers.) Let's start with some basics. An early lesson in writing is "show, don't tell." Orson Scott Card (OSC) tried to "show" his readers -- but then he'd also tell us. And I found that what we were "shown" and "told" we're often incongruous at best, without using sarcasm or dramatic irony to justify the conflict in messages. Also, let's talk about Deux Ex Machina. From Wikipedia, it is thus defined: "a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly resolved by the inspired and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability or object." Or, in the case of The Memory of Earth, Deux Ex Machina can be defined as "the entire plot. Literally." And I CANNOT, in good faith as a Feminist, skip over the atrocious attempt at female inclusion in this story. Because it was rather thoughtless, and honestly just condescending. OSC centered his story around a city run by women (cue Beyonce's feminist anthem, Who Run The World (Girls)). Women are the only ones who can own property in the city. They have exclusive access to the holy site in the city. They form marriage contracts with men, which they can either renew every year, or else release and form a contract with a different man (or no contract at all!) "My persuasion can build a nation Endless power, with our love we can devour." The main character is a 14 year old boy. The Over Soul, which typically only speaks to women, chooses two men as his prophets. Three men are fighting for power in the city. All the guards and soldiers are men. Most of the merchants are men. There are TWO women who get any sort of depth in the story. "Who run the world --" *record scratch* Cool. Thanks OSC for the nod to feminine power. It was a cute gesture. Better luck next time. There are other issues I had with this novel. (See other reviews for thoughts on its parallels to the Book of Mormon). I'm not going to say I'm sorry I read it, because it was short enough not to be a waste of my time. But I'm also not going to read the sequels.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    Fans of ENDER'S GAME--BEWARE! This is not on par with that novel in any way. Personally, I can't believe how many of the novels within this series I've read when I realize I should have ended with this one. To me, this novel felt like it was one of Card's many forgotten manuscripts, written while he was a writer honing his craft, left at the bottom of a desks drawer in a beat up manila folder to gather dust. Then, when the Ender novels garnered much appraisal & awards, Card's publisher must have Fans of ENDER'S GAME--BEWARE! This is not on par with that novel in any way. Personally, I can't believe how many of the novels within this series I've read when I realize I should have ended with this one. To me, this novel felt like it was one of Card's many forgotten manuscripts, written while he was a writer honing his craft, left at the bottom of a desks drawer in a beat up manila folder to gather dust. Then, when the Ender novels garnered much appraisal & awards, Card's publisher must have asked: "What else you got?" & lo, we have this novel. It's not a good novel, nor is it the worst. It has a lot to be desired & even though it is the first in a series, its main flaw is failing to make the reader want to continue--to take the journey through so many other books to reach a conclusion. Even by writing that last sentence within this review makes me realize how mediocre this book is. I'd continue with a synopsis but the one Goodreads provides is good enough as an overview. I don't see much point in expounding upon it. I will say this: There are a lot of blatant Mormon undertones (Card is from Utah &, if I remember correctly, an excommunicated Mormon) & the reverse polygamy within the novel is not at all shocking--Women on the planet Harmony can chose more than one male to mate with & it's encouraged--hell, it's contracted! It provides an interesting look at family values within the planet's society & is played out within the main character's family through the interaction between the siblings. Also, the idea that the satellite orbiting the planet, Oversoul, has the ability to block certain ideas that may form within the populations' minds, resulting in no technological advances & weapons, shows how freewill is stunted & human growth with it. Could this be a statement by Card on how religion does the same--by placing blind faith within a god can lead to the hijacking of one's liberties, whether it be vocal or thought? Or is he merely rewriting The Book of Mormon? To emphasize my point: The realization by certain people on the planet Harmony that Earth is something to be sought out again makes me think of the Mormons pilgrimage to their land of Zion. Plus, the Index of the Oversoul is plainly a metaphor for The Book of Mormon & the main character whom the Oversoul mentally communicates with is clearly the society's John Smith. All these concepts are interesting but are played out within what I believe to be a very weak novel masked in science fiction. They need a stronger structure & a better cast of characters who are far more interesting than the ones presented in THE MEMORY OF EARTH. I wanted to like this novel--I really did--but I think it reveals more of a sermon by Card than an sci-fi epic. I believe he intended to make a great series but there's a reason why certain stories should remain at the bottom of a desk drawer--a reason why they were put there in the first place. It's exactly like what I've said about people who pull "lost" recordings of John Lennon out of the vaults: There's a reason why they're still in the vaults & why they're "lost". So after reading this one, why do I have two other titles in the series on my list? They're there because I borrowed the audio books from the library when I was driving on a long trip & I wanted to see if the story got any better. It didn't.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

    Once upon a time, I was a huge fan of Orson Scott Card. I eagerly devoured his short stories, and read his series with high anticipation.. and was never disappointed. Back in those days, his moral messages were heavy, but struck a note that was universal. I don't know what happened, but I know exactly WHEN it happened.. it was in the middle of the Ender's series.. suddenly the book got preachy, complete with bible quotes and a cast of characters so moralizing that I was barely able to stomach the Once upon a time, I was a huge fan of Orson Scott Card. I eagerly devoured his short stories, and read his series with high anticipation.. and was never disappointed. Back in those days, his moral messages were heavy, but struck a note that was universal. I don't know what happened, but I know exactly WHEN it happened.. it was in the middle of the Ender's series.. suddenly the book got preachy, complete with bible quotes and a cast of characters so moralizing that I was barely able to stomach them. And it has only gone downhill from there. I've tried to listen to this one at least twice... and just... well... no. I don't like the world. I don't like the characters. I don't like the storyline. I don't like the highly sexist feel to the thing, although I couldn't tell you WHY it feels sexist.. it just does. And I'll confess that this book turns me off (eh-he) early on... Have you ever had a conversation with someone who clearly needed to 'get some'? Yeah.. this book. On and on about who is sleeping with whom, what the contracts are, blah blah blah. Listen: I like sex as much as the next person, and I understand the author thinks 14yo boys think of nothing else (I have a 14yo boy.. I'd argue that point) but.. really. I'm uninterested in a society built entirely on sex. And considering this is supposed to be the Utopia part (before it all goes to hell in a handbasket) well... it already lost me. And this, just.. no way I'm buying it: (view spoiler)[ in a society that has computers and freezers.. they don't use the wheel? REALLY? (hide spoiler)] No matter why I'm supposed to believe that, it is just too far of a stretch for me. I won't pretend my opinion is the majority. And you, reader of my review, may very well love this tale. There is no denying that Mr. Card writes a complex story with a complex plot line. His characters always (well, not this one, imho) feel like well-visioned people. From an entirely literal standpoint, his books are 5 stars, and he is obviously a master storyteller. But this is my final try with this particular one, and to even give it an 'ok' rating is saying I liked it more than I really did. On to something else! (Just a note: I'm not LDS, so any correlations between The Book of Mormon and this are entirely lost on me. I noticed other reviewers who took offense to this as a retelling as that story, but that did not factor into my own read. I disliked this book entirely based on my own preferences.)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kent Winward

    The Memory of Earth left me wondering if it is blasphemous for a Mormon to compare God to a computer? The re-telling of the Book of Mormon as science fiction works to create a sense of familiarity, which anyone who knows the Old Testament (let alone the Book of Mormon) will feel as they read the book. The most interesting aspect of this book for me, wasn't the story or the characters, but musing throughout on archetypal story-lines and the moral questions raised and answered by scripture/fiction The Memory of Earth left me wondering if it is blasphemous for a Mormon to compare God to a computer? The re-telling of the Book of Mormon as science fiction works to create a sense of familiarity, which anyone who knows the Old Testament (let alone the Book of Mormon) will feel as they read the book. The most interesting aspect of this book for me, wasn't the story or the characters, but musing throughout on archetypal story-lines and the moral questions raised and answered by scripture/fiction. Probably the most jarring aspect of the book was the modern sense of morality that was imposed on a clearly tribal and backwards community. I just couldn't buy the Oversoul controlling people's thoughts. Also, the gender wars in the book also seemed to be more of a commentary on modern marriage practices of divorce and step-families, than a futuristic society, but then again, I guess that is the point of science fiction.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    This had shades of Asimov's Foundation series, mainly the parts that I liked without the parts I didn't. I felt connected to characters and sucked in to the interesting culture, loved the bits about how there were archaic sayings that had lost meaning and technology that had been lost this far out into humanity's future. Also getting a bit of a sense of the Biblical story of Joseph and his visions and having brothers who resent him. Definitely looking forward to reading more and have not felt le This had shades of Asimov's Foundation series, mainly the parts that I liked without the parts I didn't. I felt connected to characters and sucked in to the interesting culture, loved the bits about how there were archaic sayings that had lost meaning and technology that had been lost this far out into humanity's future. Also getting a bit of a sense of the Biblical story of Joseph and his visions and having brothers who resent him. Definitely looking forward to reading more and have not felt let down by any Card book yet.

  17. 5 out of 5

    John

    This was the first Orson Scott Card novel I read and I liked it a lot. If I remember correctly I went through the five books in this saga (Homecoming Saga) in about two weeks. Several years later I found out that the series is loosely based on the Book of Mormon (Orson Scott Card is mormon). Go figure.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Busch

    Orson Scott Card is a very creative science fiction and fantasy writer! This book (series) is a great look into the philosophy of life on other planets and the possibility of higher intelligences. The last books in the series introduce new characters that are not a likeable as the earlier books and the storyline suffers because of it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Eddie D. Moore

    The story was a little hard to get into in the beginning, maybe since the names are very strange. The biblical parallels are obvious, yet they pull the reader deeper into the story.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Terrence Weijnschenk

    Starts slow in the build up to an intriguing story: people's thinking is being surpressed (genetic manipulation, an implant?, some kind of waves?) but the Powers that Be slowly lose their grip and people are starting to feel free and to think for themselves. But can they? Starts slow in the build up to an intriguing story: people's thinking is being surpressed (genetic manipulation, an implant?, some kind of waves?) but the Powers that Be slowly lose their grip and people are starting to feel free and to think for themselves. But can they?

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ariel

    If I hadn't known the story (Nephi from the Book of Mormon), I wouldn't have finished it. Some of the religious ideas, family dynamics, and the setting itself in another world were intriguing, but overall the story was bogged down in a whiny teenager's hyper-sexualized thoughts. A wearisome read without much payoff. If I hadn't known the story (Nephi from the Book of Mormon), I wouldn't have finished it. Some of the religious ideas, family dynamics, and the setting itself in another world were intriguing, but overall the story was bogged down in a whiny teenager's hyper-sexualized thoughts. A wearisome read without much payoff.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tom Gaetjens

    The world is inexpertly built, the story drags, and Card is seemingly oblivious to his blatant sexism. Will my obsessive need for a sense of completion force me to read the other four books in this biblical patriarch (mainly Noah, but also Jacob) sci-fi fan-fiction series? Who knows?

  23. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Gallup

    More or less by chance I've been reading a lot by Orson Scott Card recently--probably because each title I've picked up seems different enough from the others to make me curious about the author's range. Along the way I've noticed that a fair number of other readers object to the author's themes and messages, calling the writing "preachy," "Mormon propaganda," "religious allegory,' etc. Personally, I wouldn't recognize an LDS message if it bit me on the butt. I do react badly to being preached a More or less by chance I've been reading a lot by Orson Scott Card recently--probably because each title I've picked up seems different enough from the others to make me curious about the author's range. Along the way I've noticed that a fair number of other readers object to the author's themes and messages, calling the writing "preachy," "Mormon propaganda," "religious allegory,' etc. Personally, I wouldn't recognize an LDS message if it bit me on the butt. I do react badly to being preached at in fiction, but have failed to discern preaching in the four or so novels by Card digested thus far. Sure, he reuses some classic/Scriptural themes such as (in this case) hostile siblings, the disdained boy thrust into a man's world, and the necessity of giving up what's known and comfortable in favor of the unknown. And there are moral dilemmas and conflicts, in which one might find a lesson if so inclined. So what? Highly regarded writers have been doing that for a very long time. Everything handed down in our culture is fair game for a writer, and mining that material is not propaganda until the author begins drawing conclusions and passing judgment for us or noting parallels to current-day scenarios. You're free to do that while reading (I often do), but your takeaway and mine could be quite different. So I fail to see what the critics are talking about. The story is set on another planet, in the very, very distant future. It had been colonized by survivors from Earth, who'd established a supercomputer, called the Oversoul, to monitor/direct their activities to the extent that their descendants would never again resort to war. War apparently all but destroyed Earth, although there are hints that some few people may have remained behind there. At this point, little or nothing is generally understood about such ancient history, and even the existence of the Oversoul is questionable. The problem is that now the Oversoul is wearing out. Its influence on human thought and activity is now limited to just a few receptive individuals. The rest are betraying one another and making dangerous choices. Of course, people have always retained the capacity for being disagreeable. One character who has pondered the question explains it thus: "The Oversoul doesn't want to stop us from being human. Including all the rotten things we do to each other. It's just trying to hold down the scale of our rottenness." But without more active intervention, that rottenness is now getting out of hand. Speaking directly to Nafai, the main character, the Oversoul says, "I would help the good people of Basilica. But there aren't enough of them. The will of the city is for destruction. How then can I keep it from being destroyed? ... They are far too few, those who love the living city instead of desiring to feed from its corpse." Apparently the baton is being passed to Nafai and any others able to join the cause. And that more or less covers the arc of the narrative in this installment of the story. It looks like there are four sequels. It's a fairly safe guess that they will involve an effort to reconnect with Earth, which the Oversoul says now has a master computer of its own. (I might read the next volume, but at the moment feel more inclined to go back to Card's Old Testament dramatizations, like Rebekah , if I read more of his work.) Again, I don't see anything wrong with this story. Fantasy is not my genre of choice, but what we have here is a perfectly good tale. I did kind of smile when the enfeebled Oversoul enabled Nafai and the other good guys to slip past hostile guards, because it reminded me of this Maybe that counts as cheating.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Travis Bow

    Classic Orson Scott Card... doesn't sound that interesting from the cover blurb, but the execution of the characters makes it a great story in spite of a somewhat brainy and heavily allegorical story line. Got me thinking about some issues: -What it means to have faith and obey a deity even when you don't agree with or understand why you should... does this make you an idiot/robot, or a very good person? -Utilitarian ethics: Is it better to do an evil thing to stop an even more evil thing from h Classic Orson Scott Card... doesn't sound that interesting from the cover blurb, but the execution of the characters makes it a great story in spite of a somewhat brainy and heavily allegorical story line. Got me thinking about some issues: -What it means to have faith and obey a deity even when you don't agree with or understand why you should... does this make you an idiot/robot, or a very good person? -Utilitarian ethics: Is it better to do an evil thing to stop an even more evil thing from happening? -Is it true that some (most) people love control so much that they are constantly, mostly unconsciously, trying to tear others down? Cons: although the awesome characters and interesting issues kept me turning the pages (or keeping my audiobook playing for hours at a time at least), this wasn't an edge-of-your-seat, can't-wait-to-get-back-to it kind of book. Also, the ending was a little meh and didn't leave me particularly excited about the next book. Favorite quotes: Nafai knew the rules: When a man acts like a child, he's boyish, and everyone's delighted; when a boy acts the same way, he's childish, and everyone tells him to be a man. The Oversoul has some great purpose here, plans within plans. We listen for its voice, we heed the visions it puts into our minds, be we're still puppets, uncertain why our strings are being pulled, or what our dance will lead to in the end. It isn't right, thought Nafai. It isn't even good, for if the followers of the Oversoul are kept blind, if they can't judge the Oversoul's purpose for themselves, then they aren't freely choosing between good and evil, or between wise and foolish, but are only choosing to subsume themselves in the purposes of the Oversoul. How can the Oversoul's plans be well-served, if all its followers are the kind of weak-souled people who are willing to obey the Oversoul without understanding? I will serve you, Oversoul, with my whole heart I'll serve you, if I understand what you're trying to do, what it means. And if your purpose is a good one. Who am I to judge what's good and what isn't? The thought came into Nafai's mind, and he laughed silently at his own arrogance. Who am I, to set myself up as the judge of the Oversoul? Then he shuddered. What put such a thought into my mind? Couldn't it have been the Oversoul itself, trying to tame me? I will not be tamed, only persuaded. I will not be coerced or led blindly or tricked or bullied-I am willing only to be convinced. If you don't trust your own basic goodness enough to tell me what you're trying to do, Oversoul, then you're confessing your own moral weakness and I'll never serve you. It all spoke of the willingness of people to hurt each other, the burning passion to control what other people thought and did. So many people, in secret, subtle ways, acted to destroy people-and not just their enemies, either, but also their friends. Destroying them for the pleasure of knowing that they had the power to cause pain. And so few who devoted their lives to building other people's strength and confidence. So few who were true teachers, genuine mates. That's what Father and Mother are, thought Nafai. They stay together, not because of any gain, but because of the gift. Father doesn't stay with Mother because she is good for him, but rather because together they can do good for us, and for many others. Side note: finished listening to this book just as I was reaching the top of Mt. Fuji.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Annette

    This is the first of an older series of Card's I'd somehow never picked up. Based on ease of acquisition - either from the library or the used bookstores - I assumed that it wasn't very popular among his fans, and may not be very good. I was pleasantly surprised. It's a perfectly decent, solid start to what looks like it'll be an interesting series. Many of the classic Card elements are present: dangerously intelligent children, wildly dysfunctional family and sibling relationships, incredible m This is the first of an older series of Card's I'd somehow never picked up. Based on ease of acquisition - either from the library or the used bookstores - I assumed that it wasn't very popular among his fans, and may not be very good. I was pleasantly surprised. It's a perfectly decent, solid start to what looks like it'll be an interesting series. Many of the classic Card elements are present: dangerously intelligent children, wildly dysfunctional family and sibling relationships, incredible moral dilemmas, and a nice sci-fi backing to the plot to tie it all together. As usual, the writing and characterization is way above par. The key to the "Harmony" world, which was settled 40 million years ago, is the presence of the "Oversoul," an orbiting computer with a network of satellites and the ability to communicate telepathically - to one extent or another - with all of the humans on the planet (who were apparently slightly genetically engineered for receptivity to this communication.) The purpose of the Oversoul is not to keep everyone happy and content, "Matrix" or "Worthington Saga" style, but to keep the more dangerous incarnations of human technology from ever developing so that violence will be limited to pre-industrial levels. In other words, they have indoor plumbing and computers and genetics and mag-lev "wheel chairs," but no cars, airplanes, or even wagons. Also no bullets, gunpowder, or large-scale offensive weaponry - or even a planet-wide communications network. It makes for a very odd mix. But as the story opens the computer is breaking down - having outlived its makers' wildest dreams of a functional lifespan - and is starting to lose control. Technology is breaking out. Humanity is still basically evil, and everything could come crashing down in a very short period of time. The Oversoul decides the only thing it can do is try and collect a remnant of its loyal (or at least manipulable) followers and head back to Earth for a service call.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Hughes

    General: This story is an interesting hybrid between Sci-fi, Religious-"fiction" (more on that later) and Historical fiction. The first of a series of five, it has a unique feel as both historical and Sci-fi, since it's set millions of years in the future, where humans on another planet are prevented from developing technology (like wheels and atomic bombs). Still, within the city of Basilica, characters have developed extensive technology around the arts, music, and even levitation. It seemed p General: This story is an interesting hybrid between Sci-fi, Religious-"fiction" (more on that later) and Historical fiction. The first of a series of five, it has a unique feel as both historical and Sci-fi, since it's set millions of years in the future, where humans on another planet are prevented from developing technology (like wheels and atomic bombs). Still, within the city of Basilica, characters have developed extensive technology around the arts, music, and even levitation. It seemed pretty unique - with lots of dystopian futures, Sci-fi settings and religious allegory books, I've never read a genre blended story quite like this one. Stuff I Liked: This might be the best set-up for a sci-fi book I've read in a while: a God-like computer called the "Oversoul", which prevents ex-patriate humans on a planet called Harmony from destroying themselves, is slowly wearing down. It recruits a father and four half-brothers to be its hands and feet on the ground. It sends messages to them via artifacts and visions, which they receive because their DNA has been recoded. It eventually wants this family to lead humanity back to re-claim Earth, which was long ago abandoned as un-livable, but is likely flourishing after humanity has left it alone for so long (talk about a depressing thought). All while navigating intra and inter-city politics, the brothers must complete a task for the Oversoul. This premise is awesome. The narrative and dramatic implications of this set up could be enormous. The spinning out of these ideas, both sic-fi and religious in nature, can easily fill the 5 books that were written, and probably a few more at least. I liked the main character Nafai, his brother Issyb, and half-brother Elemark. Nafai is the youngest brother, who begins skeptical, but slowly starts listening to the Oversoul's messages, and eventually puts the will of the Oversoul before his own. He probably has the best moment of religious questioning in the book, when the Oversoul commands him to do something immoral. He must wrestle with the idea of being his own man, or the Oversoul's. Issyb reminds me a great deal of Tyrion Lannister, from A Song of Ice and Fire. A witty but crippled boy, he brightens the first half of the book. He first discovers that the Oversoul has been diverting the attention of humans away from their destructive technological advances. He's probably my favorite character, but doesn't have a lot to do in the second half. Elemark grew on me quite a bit, especially after Card made him a POV character in one of the later chapters. He's trying to play the politics game, but is outsmarted by the chief villain, Gaballufix. Stuff I was Meh about: This book got a lot more interesting to me about 2/3rds of the way through when I discovered it was based on the Book of Mormon. People seem to have lots of feelings about this. I've seen some people saying they knew the plot points and were bored, and others who didn't want to read religious text disguised as sci-fi. I fell right in the middle: I don't know the Book of Mormon, so the story wasn't spoiled, but I'm also not scared of being converted or whatever. I don't mind stories that cover religious topics. One thing to understand though; this is closer to religious text than allegory. Imagine setting the story of Jesus in the 70s (Jesus Christ Superstar), versus in an imaginary land and re-casting him as a lion (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe). Just like JCSS IS (pretty close to) the story of Jesus as told in the Bible only set with 70s music, my understanding is that this book IS the Book of Mormon, only reset on a new planet. By the way, I was also meh about pretty much every other character/plot point: love interests, witches, somewhat weird religious ceremonies, all of it was okay. Not bad, just okay. Stuff I didn't Like: Mebbekew, the fourth brother doesn't have much to do. His chief characterization is that he's an actor. That isn't much, so we also learn that he's also a big spender, but also thinks he's smart (though he isn't, according to Nafai), and is also good with he ladies. He doesn't really contribute to the plot, besides accidentally setting up a trap for Elemark to fall in. I'm sure his actions were all based on the Book of Mormon, but I was uninterested in finding out more about him. The city of Basilica has a "Matriarchal society", which in this world means that women own the land and political power and can renew or not renew marriage contracts with their mate every year, leading to some weird family trees. Only problem is that the men seem to wield the political power, own land, and set the plot entirely in motion, while the women don't do much of anything until the very end. Wetchik, the father of the family, owns a business, buildings and exerts political influence. Same with Gaballufix and a few other named male characters. I don't quite understand the point of the Matriarchy, if men still have most of the political power. If anything, a sequence where the women of Basilica help transport Nafai safely out of the city while Gaballufix hunts for him is subversive, something a ruled party would do to a ruling party. When the plot stuck too close to the religious source material to create good drama, it lost me. I give Card credit for making the ending as dramatic as possible, with Nafai having to make a tough decision to follow or disobey the orders of the Oversoul in a test of religious faith. Still, the result defuses tension just as it should be heightening. Finally, the books biggest weakness - Gaballufix, the chief villain, is terrible. In an era when audiences are used to great villains, heroes that become villains and villains we root for, Gaballufix is a mustache twirling evil man, and that's about all you get. Again, giving Card some credit, he gives Gaballufix a reason to desire power: he wants to make chariots to "protect the city" from a neighboring army. That conflict, though, is not really brought up after about halfway through the book, and is never mentioned by Gaballufix himself. It seems like an excuse for him to seek power, which it is. Unfortunately, all that leaves us with is a man who wants power because power is power. It's not much, and the story doesn't really feel complete as a result. It might have stuck to the source material, but it didn't help the book. Summary: There's a lot of stuff to get excited about in this book - again, the implications of the set up are really cool. Unfortunately, I'm not itching to read the rest of the series. (Full disclosure: I'm not usually a person who will read one right after the other in a series - I prefer a little time, reading each book as its own). I imagine there's a lot of good drama in the rest of the series, but I'm worried the story will again be sacrificed to mirror the source material. Again, I have no problem with the source material, and I think Card dramatized it interestingly, but it doesn't always make the best story.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jacob

    A fascinating re-imagining of a story from the Book of Mormon (actually, only the first few chapters of the first book). Card's creative engagement with a familiar text opened new possibilities and gave me an even greater appreciation for the depth of the original story that I had taken for granted. In imagining a more detailed account of the story, he was able to read between the lines of the Book of Mormon, exploring what might have been, and probing theological subjects in non-traditional way A fascinating re-imagining of a story from the Book of Mormon (actually, only the first few chapters of the first book). Card's creative engagement with a familiar text opened new possibilities and gave me an even greater appreciation for the depth of the original story that I had taken for granted. In imagining a more detailed account of the story, he was able to read between the lines of the Book of Mormon, exploring what might have been, and probing theological subjects in non-traditional ways. For example, here's how Card approaches the idea of baptism: "See?" she said. "You're forgetting already how it really was." "No I'm not," he said. She turned away and headed down the road toward Back Gate. He wanted to call out to her and say, You were right, I was forgetting how it really was, I was remembering it through common ordinary eyes, I was remembering it as the boy I was before, but now I remember that it wasn't me being weak or me being naked, or anything else that I should be ashamed of. It was me riding like a great hero out of prophecy across the magical lake, with you as my guide and teacher, and when we shed our clothing it wasn't a man and woman naked together, it was rather two gods out of ancient stories from faraway lands, stripping away their mortal disguises and standing revealed in their glorious immortality, ready to float over the sea of death and emerge unscathed on the other side.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    Decent sci-fi lacking some impact...: Orson Scott Card knows how to tell a story. This book is nothing more than the prologue for a five issue epic about our distant relatives on a distant planet in the distant future. Card develops the characters nicely and the story never gets boring - it's an easy and enjoyable read. But it lacks the incredible imagination Card displayed in "Speaker for the dead", maybe because this time, there are no fascinating aliens present. Instead, we get a society proh Decent sci-fi lacking some impact...: Orson Scott Card knows how to tell a story. This book is nothing more than the prologue for a five issue epic about our distant relatives on a distant planet in the distant future. Card develops the characters nicely and the story never gets boring - it's an easy and enjoyable read. But it lacks the incredible imagination Card displayed in "Speaker for the dead", maybe because this time, there are no fascinating aliens present. Instead, we get a society prohibited to think about war (or the necessary means to wage one) by a giant computer in the orbit of the planet. The main character is a 14 year old boy destined to help this computer in returning humankind to Earth - a tough task considering the people on planet Harmony don't even know how to build airplanes.The book certainly makes me want to read the sequels. But still, it failed to really overwhelm me: The main characters are too often lead by the (no longer) allmighty computer and therefore, they never seem to be in real danger, though Card succeeds in giving at least the feeling of danger. The story lives from its characters interacting and especially from the feature character and its family. I am really eager to see how it will turn out in book 2-5!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tricia

    If you’ve never read Orson Scott Card before, I wouldn’t start here. Having read all of the Shadow books currently published, the Enders Saga, and the Formic War novels I was already a huge Card fan. I loved the writing in this novel, as usual; Orson brings to life a whole new world and incredibly in-depth characters. That being said, this novel felt a tad “preachy” to me, and dragged in certain spots as much as an Orson Scott Card book can. I loved the hierarchy of women and wish it had been ex If you’ve never read Orson Scott Card before, I wouldn’t start here. Having read all of the Shadow books currently published, the Enders Saga, and the Formic War novels I was already a huge Card fan. I loved the writing in this novel, as usual; Orson brings to life a whole new world and incredibly in-depth characters. That being said, this novel felt a tad “preachy” to me, and dragged in certain spots as much as an Orson Scott Card book can. I loved the hierarchy of women and wish it had been explored more. I didn’t enjoy that religious communion was achieved through pain for both genders. I could take or leave most of this novel but I still read it in three sittings because Card really knows how to string a sentence together. So, if you’re just looking for more Orson Scott Card books to get you through the day, this novel (and I’m hoping this series) is worth the read. If you’re looking for more Enders Game action or Ender’s Shadow enjoyment, you might want to find another book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Casey

    Wow. Where to begin. I really don't want to rant and rave. I debated giving this 2-stars because I generally reserve 1-star for things I really hated, but the problem is, I did not really like this novel at all. I am not indifferent or apathetic to it, but it isn't quite hate. But certainly would never recommend it to anyone. So 1-star it gets. Why? Well, it is boring -- a friend of mine called it "dull and lifeless" which is as an apt description. The characters are totally unlikable. ALL of the Wow. Where to begin. I really don't want to rant and rave. I debated giving this 2-stars because I generally reserve 1-star for things I really hated, but the problem is, I did not really like this novel at all. I am not indifferent or apathetic to it, but it isn't quite hate. But certainly would never recommend it to anyone. So 1-star it gets. Why? Well, it is boring -- a friend of mine called it "dull and lifeless" which is as an apt description. The characters are totally unlikable. ALL of them. I wanted to reach in and smack them all around at one point or another, or rather, let me say when I did not want to do so was a rare occurrence. I finished it because I kept hoping there would be some denouement. Of course that would mean that the book had some sort of actual climax to resolve. HA. Having read a number of books by Card over the years and liking most of them, I find myself disabused of the notion that I want to read all of his books from the last two [the other being _Hart's Hope_] I have read. I certainly shall not be pursuing this series any further.

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