Book Review: Ruins by Orson Scott Card

ruins cover

View from the window seat:
The story of Rigg continues in this second installment in the Pathfinder series. Rigg and his friends have left their home wallfold. Soon they discover the mysteries of other wallfolds as they race to prevent a devastating future for their planet, Garden.

Orson Scott Card is a master storyteller. I know this, and yet somehow I’m always amazed at the intricacy of his plots and the logistics of the worlds he creates. The first book in this series, Pathfinder, establishes the main characters as they learn about themselves and their wallfold, Ramfold. This book widens the scope of the world of Garden, taking us into other, strange wallfolds. The differences between the wallfolds, as the people and creatures evolved in isolation over the years, are amazing. They are nineteen distinct worlds on a single planet.

Though the world is fantastically drawn, Card manages to bring a sense of reality to the story through the relationships and interactions between the characters. Rigg, Umbo, Param, Loaf, and Olivenko all have varying ties to each other, ones based on love and loyalty. I found it to be so realistic that they wouldn’t all get along all the time. In fact, the spend much of their time arguing, insulting, or undermining each other. I loved their struggles to accept and understand their roles in their group and in their world.

Perhaps the most complicated aspect of the novel is that of the expendables and the starships. The expendables have shaped the course of human history inside each wallfold to a greater extent than anyone imagined. Can they even be trusted? They say they can’t harm human beings or lie, and yet they seem to do that constantly. Rigg and his friends try to figure these machines out only to be stumped, never quite sure if the information they receive is the truth.

Overall impression:
I am thoroughly enjoying the Pathfinder series. I can’t wait to see what happens next.


Note: I received this ARC from the publisher at the 2012 ALA Annual Conference.


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