Book Review - Shadow Puppets by Orson Scott Card

Shadow Puppets (Ender Saga, #7)Shadow Puppets by Orson Scott Card
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I used to be the sort of person who prided herself on not quitting a book. Much as I flit from one project to another, leaving things unfinished, books and movies deserved my full efforts, no matter how abysmal they might seem in the beginning.

Thanks to a run of bad novels, I've changed my mind. Life is too short to finish a book that doesn't grip you. It's definitely too short to finish a book that makes you roll your eyes, chapter after chapter.

I trudged through the first hour or two of this audiobook with little interest. A rambling quasi-love story, it kept my mind busy while I did my duties as domestic engineer. However, I rarely thought about the story after I'd put it away, and it didn't draw me back in, enticing me to do my chores the way pretty much all of OSC's other books have done. This should have been my first clue that it wasn't worth it.

Then came the preaching.

Orson Scott Card, of whose religious and political beliefs I was blissfully unaware until after my first reading of the original Ender saga, claims not to preach through his fiction, unless he says he is (as in the Alvin Maker series, which is based loosely on the life of Joseph Smith). I could give him the benefit of the doubt, but that would just mean he is painfully unobservant of the underlying messages in his own writing.

From a diatribe against gay marriage (the character given this not-so-subtle soliloquy decides that, even though he's gay, he'll marry a single mother and use his pension to support them. Seriously.) to anti-abortion rhetoric that is pounded like a nail again and again, I just couldn't stomach it anymore.

So I've given up. I've got a to-read list a mile, long, and I'm sure most of it deserves more attention than this drivel.

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Book Review - Seventh Son by Orson Scott Card

Seventh Son (Alvin Maker Series #1)Seventh Son by Orson Scott Card
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

No matter my thoughts about his politics, I just can't quit Orson Scott Card. I refuse to pick up his books in paper (or e-paper) form, and insist on listening to them read aloud, usually by voices I've come to know and love through repeated listenings of the Ender Saga. Since Card claims he writes with this in mind, I figure it increases the authenticity of the tale. Besides, it stops me from noticing typos and bad editing, which always pull me from a story.

I know that the Alvin Maker saga is meant to be loosely based on the life of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon religion. I can't decide if it's better or worse for me that I don't know the details of LDS history. Better, probably, because I'm not constantly analyzing the plot, trying to spot the preaching (which I do with the latter Ender books, and it always tarnishes them a little for me). Though I wonder what lovely allegories I am missing. Though not a Christian, I'm always interested in the Christian allegories I find in popular literature. So maybe they're worse for it.

Maybe it's better just to take the book as it is, a tale like so many of Card's, of a bright young boy with a fantastic talent and too much responsibility for his age. The setting of 18th century colonial America almost doesn't matter to the plot. Sure, there is a certain amount of naming convention (with kids named Vigor, Measure, Waste-Not and Want-Not, and so on) and religious fervor only rivaled by today's neo-conservatives, but really, again as most of Card's work, this is a story not about place, but about people.

I'm hoping the series will hold me over until the release of the next Mithermages and Pathfinder books. It kept me engaged, made the time slip away while I worked on my own household chores, and left me eager to borrow the next book in the series from my library's digital library. Really, what more can you ask for?

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