Review

Pathfinder

by Orson Scott Card

Rigg has been trained for a specific role since he was born; he just doesn’t know it yet. His father raised him in the forest and taught him numerous languages, how to survive in the wild, how to interact with people at all levels of hierarchy, and how to logically think through any and all situations. Rigg has also learned how to hone his special skill. He’s a pathfinder, which means he’s able to see the paths left behind by people, animals, and even plants. He can find paths brand new of creatures recently passed by or paths hundreds of years old. His pathfinding skill is about to be put to the test.

Rigg’s father is tragically killed in a forest accident, but leaves Rigg with one last important message: Go and find your sister and learn the truth of where you came from. Rigg is shocked to learn he has other family and that he possesses immense wealth in the form of valuable jewels. He begins his journey with Umbo, another boy who also has a unique talent --- time travel. Together Rigg and Umbo can travel to the past along specific paths that Rigg locates. Their first stop at a local inn secures another partner in their quest: Loaf, a former military soldier.

Loaf, Umbo and Rigg agree to sell one of Rigg’s jewels for money for their voyage. Unbeknownst to Rigg, the jewel he sells belongs to the disgraced and power-stripped monarchy. Rigg immediately comes under suspicion for stealing from the royal family and for laying claim to the throne. Whether or not he is the long-lost prince, Rigg has one mission: to find his sister. As he’s taken prisoner, Loaf and Umbo escape to regroup and help save him. After he finds his sister and learns that she also possesses a special ability of taking micro-leaps into the future, Rigg plots their escape. Escape won’t be easy, however, and he must put all of his training to use in order to save those he cares about most.

As readers follow the escalating tribulations of Rigg, another story is occurring in the past. This one follows a starship pilot, Ram Odin, responsible for the safe travel of sleeping humans looking to colonize a new planet. Ram, along with the robot expendables, looks to enter a fold in space and leap into a new star system light years away. Despite the careful calculations of the computers and Ram, the leap through time results in an unpredictable anomaly. Ram’s ship is transported into the past and duplicated 18 times. He and the expendables struggle to try and formulate a plan to colonize the new planet while maintaining order and prosperity.

How are Rigg’s and Ram’s story related? The answer lies within the book and will keep you flipping pages until you find out. Orson Scott Card, the bestselling author of the Ender’s Game series, brings out the best that science fiction has to offer. Expert storytelling is mixed with technology, physics and discovery. Time travel is featured predominantly and may cause extra head scratching as you puzzle over the startling complexity of it all. The heart of PATHFINDER, though, is Rigg’s journey of self-discovery, and it’s far from over. Card promises to explore the next phase in this new and thrilling series.

Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on November 23, 2010

Pathfinder
by Orson Scott Card

  • Publication Date: November 23, 2010
  • Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult 12+
  • Hardcover: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse
  • ISBN-10: 141699176X
  • ISBN-13: 9781416991762