Book Review - Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card

Pathfinder (Serpent World, #1)Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As seems typical of Card (at least lately), this book is almost more fantasy than science fiction, at least in the beginning. As the story progresses, we see more and more of the sci-fi aspect and the fantasy elements take on a different perspective.

I have yet to "pick up" a Card "book" that I wasn't immediately engaged in, which didn't keep me cleaning my house long after my feet were sore (I only listen to audio versions, and I listen only while cleaning - keeps me motivated). Pathfinder was no different. Rigg's gift, his relationship with his father, and their relationship to the land drew me in quickly, and I was eager to see where it all led.

As the story progressed, new characters were added with rapidity, yet enough was told about each to allow you to connect with them. Never did I feel I learned too much about a character, nor that Card shouldn't have bothered with one at all for what little they added to the story.

By the time the book ends, you care about every one of the characters, and if you've been paying close attention, you have figured out where it's all going. Still it is a relief to actually get there, to hear what resolution there is, and then to read the Acknowledgement section and find out that yes, you did understand it correctly after all.

I'm looking forward to the next book, and hearing what the remaining characters do with their discoveries.

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Book Review - Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore by Stella Duffy

Theodora: Actress, Empress, WhoreTheodora: Actress, Empress, Whore by Stella Duffy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An engaging piece of historical fiction, Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore took about 50 pages to get going. But once I crested that hill, I kept coming back for more.

Theodora's mother never wanted her to enter the entertainment world, but after her father was brutally murdered, there was little choice if the family was to survive. And like her mother Hypatia, Theodora is nothing if not a survivor. Her talent for dance is only average, but her penchant for comedy launches Theodora into a spotlight career that takes her from brother back rooms to faraway lands, on a religious pilgrimage, and home again to become the Empress of the entire Byzantine Empire.

Duffy's fictional tale, which undoubtedly takes many liberties with the deeper aspects of Theodora's life, touches on many aspects of the sixth century, from politics to religion (which were deeply intertwined), and the acceptable roles of women.

Though Theodora's exploits fascinated me (I loved the bit where she takes up spinning - I myself have started recently to spin!), I was particularly touched by Duffy's commentary on the nature of relationships, from family and friends to God and spouse. These are skillfully woven and absolutely believable - not least because they touch a chord of recognition in me at some of my own experiences.

At 300+ pages, Theodora is definitely worth every minute.

This is a compensated review for the BlogHer book club, but the opinions expressed are solely my own.

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