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Wyrms Paperback – April 5, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With his recent novels, Ender's Game (winner of the Hugo and Nebula awards) and Speaker for the Dead (a nominee for this year's awards), Card has joined the front rank of SF writers. His new fantasy adventure is again a progress toward enlightenment that severely tests its protagonist. Teenage Patience has received a worldly education beyond her years but it may not save her when she belatedly learns that she is "seventh seventh seventh daughter," the person who has been prophesied to save or destroy the world of Imakulata. Her journey to the Unwyrm, the native lifeform that has waited thousands of years for her, is by turns a romantic, comic and nightmarish education/final exam/rite of passage in a world of noble goblins and idiot savants, where the dead guide the living and where human and alien have intermingled in bizarre and now inseparable ways. A wonderful, textured fable.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

YA Another outstanding science fiction novel from the prize-winning author of Ender's Game (Tor, 1986). Lady Patience is a memorable heroine, equally skilled as a diplomat and as an assassin. She is also the rightful Heptarch of the kingdom of Imakulata. Summoned by an irresistible call to Cranning, where the Unwyrm waits for her, she must either destroy or save the world. This is a fast-moving, absorbing story that asks readers to consider the relationship between government and the governed and between so-called superior and inferior races. Rosemary Smith, Albright Middle Sch . , Houston
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Orb Books; Reprint edition (April 5, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765305607
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765305602
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,637,113 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Shepherd VINE VOICE on July 13, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Slavery comes in many forms. Patience, the 13 year old protagonist of this novel, is a nominal slave to the Heptarch, ruler of this far-future world that was colonized by humans thousands of years ago. She is also the seventh seventh seventh daughter of the first Starship Captain, and as such is the subject of a prophesy declaring her to be either the savior or destroyer of the world. In the end, she is more slave to the prophecy than to the Heptarch.
Trained from birth in the arts of ruling and courtly intrigue, Patience is an intriguing character, whose real voyage of self-discovery starts with the death of her father. For this world has many different types of denizens that are almost human, gaunts, dwelves, and geblins. As Patience travels the world in search of the Unwyrm, she is forced to meet and interact with each of these races, and finding that each has their own right to life, their own ways of living, even if each of these races seems to be an incomplete copy of humans, and all are subject to overriding desires and commands that originate with the Unwyrm, the true slave-master of the world.
Card's themes of free will and moral imperatives to help others are nicely brought forward through his characters' interaction with each other, though at a couple places where he directly explicates some of this philosophy in the discourse of the giant Will, in comes across as a little bit preachy. The world and its biology is a fascinating if somewhat disturbing look at just what life really is, from the perspective of the genes, which folds into and on top of his free will ideas as a built in imperative that none may escape.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By sam woelk on March 14, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Please don't let someone tell you that Wyrms is just another of Card's super-child books. Also, please don't let them scare you off by saying that it has a gross ending and it's offensive. There is a reason, and if you've read Card before, you surely know that he is never prurient for fun.
Wyrms IS a lot like ender, and songmaster, and even Herbert's dune. That doesn't mean that it's the same. Card uses the exceptional child motif to deal with many different themes. In Ender, Card explores self-respect and guilt over things that are or are not your responsibility. In Songmaster, Card explores power and love, and also communication. In Wyrms, Card explores Free will and temptation.
The impact of the climactic scene seems to cause such a reaction among people, as it should. However, Card surely used such a wretched situation to even further bring home his point, being that that which often seems and feels so right to the participant can be so wrong in reality.
Throughout the book, we are made more and more aware of the influence that the wyrm has on different characters. It takes what it wants and manipulates as it will. It destroys lives. The wyrm can be considered evil. Perhaps not inherently, but definately in it's attitude towards the other inhabitants on the planet. When it sets it's desire on the young girl and she suffers the cranning call, we are given the opportunity to witness one person's struggle with what she knows to be right and what she wants. The desirable is despicable on purpose. That which we want is often that which will destroy us.
Card brings the girl to the point where she faces her tempter, and he begins to use her for his purposes, as is his nature. The only problem is that she wants to be used.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Sheena on October 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
Without recounting the plot which has been summed up by other reviewers, this book is interesting because for a change the hero is a girl. On the whole Card's heroes have two main characteristics: 1)possess some rare talent which has been honed to perfection though training 2)they are thrust into circumstances that require the wisdom of Solomon. Most times they are male- for examples see Ender series, Songbord etc, so its interesting to see what how Card developes Patience, the heroine in this case.

True to form Patience is raised and trained to deal with larger than life circumstances in austere circumstances, but the difference between Patience and Card's other female lead characters is her awareness of her sexuality.

Patience's destiny is that she is to be the saviour or destroyer of of the world by being the mother of Kristos. The looming prospect of motherhood obviously means that she is forced to confront physical desire and sex. Patience's calling is to mate with the all powerful Unwyrm.

From a mythological perpective there are shades of Persephone in the Underworld and Beauty and the Beast as Patience is summoned by Unwyrm to the caverns of ice for the mating. Unwyrm's call takes the form of the need for physical release and sexual arousal.

Most readers will agree it's a thorny subject when applied to adolescent girls. Many writers err between denying desire to girl-women and indulging in fantasy. Card however negotiates these fine lines are better than most and creates a character who remains centrered to the last.

When all is said and done, this is not an adventure story for children, though it will speak well to older teens who are themselves grappling with issue of self, life direction and most importantly sex.
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