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Songmaster Paperback – December 6, 2002
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From Library Journal
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Card understands the human condition and has things of real value to say about it. He tells the truth well--ultimately the only criterion of greatness.” ―Gene Wolfe
“Orson Scott Card is a fine writer, with great insight, great idealism and love.” ―Science Fiction Review on Songmaster
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Top Customer Reviews
Bryon T. Smedley - email@example.com
Ansset is assigned to be the Songbird for the Emperor Mikal, a brutal man who thinks nothing of wiping out the entire population of a planet to further his ends. But the end Mikhal is driving toward is lasting peace throughout the galaxy - a truly benevolent dictator. It is just this moral ambiguity that Ansset sees and understands, just as he can understand, accept, and reciprocate the love of Josif, a bisexual who can only be attracted to one person at time.
In fact, there are no hard and fast moral laws laid down in this book. Fraud, kidnapping, assassination, murder, homosexuality, pedophilia, devotion, political machinations, and, yes, even true love all receive an examination here, and each item is shown in more than one light. A good part of this book's strength lies within these examinations, which are shown by the events and people Ansset is exposed to, rather than by any sort of expository dialogue. The rest of the strength lies within the raw emotion that sings throughout this book, an almost poetic handling of what would be in lesser hands a very ugly set of happenings. Characterization is excellent, for not just Ansset but also all the players around him: Mikal, Ricktors, Esste, Kya-Kya - each are unique individuals that breathe life into this work.Read more ›
There's no denying the similarities between this book and Ender's Game. Yes, the main character is a male prodigy who struggles to learn and grow in emotional isolation. But all four of Card's major series begin with such a character (Ender, Bean, Alvin, and Nafai), and it's when he's writing about these remarkable children that Card does his best work. They're far more interesting than his adult characters because they genuinely don't know what to do when facing a problem -- every important decision they make is based on the information they have at hand, not any prior set of beliefs. This, plus their genius, makes them remarkably unpredictable and allows us to re-evaluate out own beliefs. Ansset, the "hero" of Songmaster, is no exception.
Card explores homosexuality in this novel, a topic he hasn't really braved since then, and an interesting choice given his Mormonism. The results may initally seem ambiguous -- after all, bisexual Josef suffers tremendously and commits suicide as a result of his failed encounter with Ansset.Read more ›
In addition, Card brings in incidents of homosexuality that seem forced and out of place in the larger context of the plot, almost as if he threw them in just for added conflict, or because they were very controversial and perhaps even uncomfortable topics. These parts of the book felt very unnatural and didn't really advance the plot. The book could have done without them without changing any of the actual story, which indicates to me that they were not necessary to have included in the book.
Finally, the ending of the book, like more than a few of Card's endings, felt like it rushed to wrap things up. The book jumped forward in time by a substantial amount -- whole decades were skipped and summarized in just a few paragraphs, leaving me wondering what was missed and why the rush to wrap things up. The ending left me fairly unsatisfied as a reader.
In conclusion, although I will probably, at some point in my life, read every single one of Card's books just because I love his writing so much in general, this didn't rank anywhere near the top of the list for me.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was the first ofCard's to take me awhile to get involved in, but once I did, it was very engaging. A very different tale.Published 1 month ago by Michelle Deneau
It was so hauntingly beautiful. Definitely not as science fiction as the genre misleads you to think except for the locations of the story and definitely a wonderful read for all... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Cara
This book is enchanting. Sometimes soft and beautiful, sometimes terrible, but always rich with emotion. Young Annset is a songbird, a singer with incredible power in his voice. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Kindle Customer
Okay read. Not Orson Scott Card's best work. Poor 3 way love triangle.Published 5 months ago by Bernard F Turner
Orson Scott Card, what is wrong with you? No normal, stable human being looks at a prepubescent boy this way. Maybe the women who fancy Taylor Latner, but he's a teenager. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Akemi
While the book seems to match Card's usual style (younger lead character forced to deal with crisis), the book just isn't up to his usual standards. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Robert V