Pathfinder - Orson Scott Card Okay, so, this is . . . probably not a bad book. There, I said it. It's not written abominably, and the premise is not entirely without merit. I didn't personally enjoy it, but far off in the distance I can see the glimmers of what makes so many other people enjoy it. Thus, I'm giving it two stars. I've read worse. But I've definitely read better.

Why? The easiest explanation I can come up with is this: you know the worst of those old Star Trek episodes, the kind that involve time-travel? The ones that involve so many plot-holes, time-paradoxes, twists and turns and inconsistencies that you almost feel your brain trying to tie itself in knots to comprehend what cannot possibly be comprehended? (I actually like Star Trek most of the time, but this book epitomizes a lot of the worst and most idiotic parts.)

Time travel never, EVER makes sense. I understand this. But I've seen it done well a few times, where other things are interesting enough to take your mind off the plot-holes, and/or the time travel is represented in such a way that you can overlook the obvious issues. This book, sadly, didn't manage this--in fact, it seems to me like this book exists mainly to point out the problems with time travel, and the author found the subject so fascinating that he spent six and a half hundred pages explaining it over . . . and over . . . and over again.

After a while, it gets dull, I'm afraid. By the time I'd read what people did in the future, so they have to do now but can't, but will be able to because they already did it, so they know they can eventually, but they won't have to because they already did do it, so things are different now and they'll never have to do it because they already did it and it taught them that it's possible, so they should learn to do it soon----ARGH!----for the eight hundredth time, I had a throbbing headache that was sheer disbelief and annoyance.

Aside from the exhaustive and repetitive time-paradox analyses, I had other problems with the book. For instance, it was predictable. Time-paradox or no, I'd figured out most of the book two hundred pages before any of the characters in the book had figured out the first bit of it. And there wasn't that much to figure out, either--ninety-five percent of the book was either philosophical analyses, random dialogue, or traveling scenes.

The characters were flat and two-dimensional, and usually they were infuriatingly childish (I mean the adults, too, not just the children). But Rigg, our oh-so-special Rigg, is Absolute Master. He's thirteen, and he's more knowledgeable than Aslan, he's more charming than Aphrodite, he's more tactful than Dumbledore . . . the list goes on. He's one of the most ridiculously perfect characters I've ever encountered, and there's hardly a character in the book (if there is one at all) that he didn't have wrapped about his little finger. But he's a moron. As I mentioned, he's childish--like, whiny tantrum-throwing, head-scratching three-year-old childish. And he's stupid, because he didn't figure a single thing out unless he analyzed it from every angle in front of me for three pages, minimum.

Also, the names. Oh, good grief, the names. A main character in this book is called Loaf, and I'm not even kidding. So, unless you can stand to see a character named Loaf lumbering around for more than four hundred pages, I suggest you not read this book. (Also, Loaf's wife is named Leaky. eeeeeew.) And the main character's name is Rigg. I mean, really? Rigg? That's the extent of the author's stunning imagination and originality?

The humor was also very . . . lame. It was thin and repetitive, and often it was crude. Not the worse I've seen, but slightly sickening and very annoying.

There were a number of times in this book when the author would stop to mention certain bodily functions, sometimes for a whole page or even longer. I don't need to know about these things, and I really, really wish they had been edited out. They didn't help to move the plot along, they didn't help with characterization, and I think they were only left in there because so little of this book was show instead of tell. When more than nine-tenths of your book is spent in speculation and dialogue, I suppose it makes sense to zoom in on the characters searching for a bathroom, right?

No. No, no, no, no, no, no.

Ahhhhh, well. As I said, it's not really worth one star. I've read more offensive, more annoying, and altogether worse books. I wouldn't recommend it, but if you feel like giving it a try, go right ahead, and I hope you enjoy it more than I did.