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Comment: A well-cared-for item that has seen limited use but remains in great condition. The item is complete, unmarked, and undamaged, but may show some limited signs of wear. Item works perfectly.
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Pathfinder Paperback – October 4, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 422 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Pathfinder Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

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. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

*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. Grades 8-12. --Debbie Carton --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Series: Pathfinder (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse; Reprint edition (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416991794
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416991793
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (422 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First things first: this book is being marketed as a young adult fantasy novel. It is no such thing, though I see no reason why any young adult would not enjoy the book. PATHFINDER is science fiction, though at first glance it does appear to be a fantasy story. Orson Scott Card has a dual mastery of both the science fiction and fantasy genres--few authors can bring worlds to life like Card can, and it speaks to his strength as a storyteller that through the very different mechanics of worldbuilding in the two genres, he never struggles. You will find all the things in this novel that you find in many of Card's best books: a prodigy of a child hero, Rigg, too smart for his age; political intrigue with Rigg in the thick of it; heavy theoretical and philosophical conversations between characters, etc. The conversations in PATHFINDER often deal with the nature of time travel as it is possible in the realm of the story. Indeed, if the Shadow series was Card's political science series, the Ender series his first contact saga, or the Alvin Maker series his fantastic alternate history series, then this book begins his "time travel" series.

And boy does Card do time travel well. Slow to start, the world of this book envelopes you through its 600-some odd pages. I finished it three days ago, and my first reaction was, "Well, that wasn't Card's best work. But not a bad story at all." My brain has not left the wallfold, however, and my imagination continues to be captivated by the story of PATHFINDER. I absolutely cannot wait for the rest of this series to be released. It has been a very long time since I have been as excited about new work from Mr. Card as I am for the continuation of this series. PATHFINDER will grow on you, if you do not fall in love with it immediately.
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Format: Hardcover
I went into Pathfinder as a relative OSC novice. After having read Ender's Game just recently, I was excited to hear that a new Card book was coming out! It certainly did not disappoint. This is a complex look at the tried and true sci fi theme of time travel and time manipulation. We meet Rigg, a young boy who has recently lost the man he has always known as his father and is now off on a quest to discover his heritage. Along the way he picks up Umbo and Loaf, and together they head off to discover the secrets of Rigg's inheritance and his strange ability. At the beginning of each chapter, we also meet Ram, the only human astronaut awake aboard a ship full of sleeping humans off to colonize a new world. I must admit that I didn't figure out exactly how these two stories connected until about 200 pages in when a light bulb went off and I finally began to see some connections. These are all great characters and the author does quite a bit of world building by just letting us in on what is going on in their heads.

Rigg's relationship with his father and his then masterful handling of the political intrigue that he finds himself immersed in are a shining testament to the power of not merely education, but an education in critical thinking. Reading the character of Rigg is highly entertaining. His verbal sparring with bankers, politicians, and even his friends is so incredibly well written, it turns a book that is essentially driven by a scientific concept into a compelling page turner that I did not want to put down.

This is an adventure tale told in a fashion that will be a bit subtler than some teens are used to. There's plenty of excitement, interesting science concepts to ponder, and memorable moments to keep any sci fi fan reading away.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Let me begin by saying that I am a huge Orson Scott Card (OSC) fan. I think OSC's work is as good as it gets when it comes to exploring ethical dilemmas and character development in the context of a hugely entertaining story.

By OSC's lofty standards, Pathfinder is pretty pedestrian and would probably deserve about three stars. However, if it is placed in the context of the work produced by the best active 20 SF writers, I think it deserves a solid four stars.

Pathfinder is aimed at a young audience. The sentence structures used in the first couple of chapters have been simplified. I can't comment on whether this carried forward throughout the book, since I became more engrossed in the story and stopped paying attention to the grammar. On the other hand, the vocabulary didn't seem to be restricted.

Some other reviewers have complained the book and/or the way time travel operated was so complicated as to detracted from the story. I did not find this to be the case. The way in which time travel paradoxes are resolved is not any more complicated than any other SF novel that features time travel and attempts to resolve those paradoxes. I also didn't find the way the two plot lines came together to be especially obscure. I thought it was pretty clear how they related to each other about 10-15% of the way into the book.

The good (in no particular order):

Pathfinder is an entertaining story. It is aimed at a juvenile audience but I would also recommend it for adults.

Character development is good by most standards but falls short of other OSC work.

There is some exploration of ethical dilemmas and human motivation (more below).
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