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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 14 March 2013
This second part of the trilogy moved past at a terrific rate and was exciting throughout. I couldn't put it down and read through in a few days, even though it is over 500 pages long.

Orson Scott Card never lets his style get in the way of the story and we move along on the journey across the world of "Garden", with the main group established and finding out how to work as a team. In fact this could be seen as the main theme of this book, with Card returning to the idea of benevolent symbiosis in alien races, seen in "Speaker for the Dead" and "Xenophobia". Team work between species or amongst the mice,for example - is seen as making the whole, greater than the sum of its parts.

We do have a lot of Card's favourite obsessions here - like Time Travel and its various paradoxes - becoming ever more complex here. We also revisit his interest in how children grow up and whether they are better suited to some task than adults, as we saw in "Ender's Game".

What also makes this book endlessly fascinating is the way we get to discover a different world and how its history has been split 19 ways - how each civilisation, with slight differences, becomes a very different way for human beings to live. Another Card obsession is what it means to be human and this becomes crucial to the plot, as we explore the kind of robot/human conflict that was first explored by Isaac Asimov in "I, Robot".

This is classic Sci Fi, but also has elements of Fantasy novels, which almost make this more of a "quest" story, with a band of heroes travelling across strange lands, using supernatural powers, rather than any technology - which is often wielded against them, by mendacious robots.

All in all, this is a hugely enjoyable read for anybody with an interest in Fantasy/Sci Fi - although of course it helps to have read the first part of the Trilogy. My only slight criticisms would be about the way it ends. The book sets up a satisfying conclusion, but then pulls the rug out and stops abruptly. Of course this must happen, as we know before starting that this is book 2 of a Trilogy, so it cannot end here. But I felt the way it ended was manipulative and didn't feel right. Maybe it will all be resolved in the final part - I hope so and will certainly read on to find out what happens.
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on 12 November 2012
I loved this book and read through it quickly, as it has everything I have come to know and love from this author. It is perhaps not his best book ever, but it really is a very good read, and this series is as good a place to start reading O. S. Card as any other book he has written. Thus five stars, although maybe only just!

So here is some detail: Ruins picks up where Pathfinder left off, with Rigg and his companions having crossed the wall into a whole new wallfold. The wallfolds keep seperately developing colonies apart, and it becomes apparent that each of the original 19 colonies on the planet Garden took some very different lines of development, and the author's imagination shows through clearly as we are introduced to ideas of just how differently they could develop over 11,000 years of history.

The plot moves on significantly in this book, and Rigg and his companions will truly discover their place in the world - why they are here and what they must do. I thought the plot development was very good.

I noted with Pathfinder that Card apeared to be recycling and re-using ideas from his earlier books and short stories, and this book seems to have done that moreso. It is as though card has taken a whole set of his best ideas and tried to entwine them into a new masterpiece - a book that he could never have written until he had written others such as "Pastwatch", "Hot Sleep" and "The Worthing Chronicles", "Ender's Game" and "Xenocide", and even other less well known books such as "Wyrms". The time twisting storyline is clearly found in "Pastwatch" with Card's clever concept of the conservation of causality. However, despite all the development he has applied since Pastwatch, I feel at this point that Pastwatch was the better story.

There were places where this book got so complex that it was as if the author was himself confused.

Whilst trying to avoid spoilers, I would say one of these was a time when the travellers approach a new location to find themselves greeted by a large group of happy people - several thousand of them "including babies" we are told. So the time travellers go back in time a couple of weeks to avoid the welcoming committee and are instead greeted by two less friendly people.

What makes no sense is it becomes apparent that, whenever they had arrived, the plan was to greet them with just the two people - so why were the thousands there? Moreover there should not have been babies (or at least not more than one baby) amongst the greeters.

This part of the story simply made no sense and it is as if the writer wrote the one scene, then put the manuscript away and came back some time later and kept writing, without noticing the discrepancy. Maybe the discrepancy has some later story element that will become clear in book 3 - but it shouldn't have, because that future should now not exist. It ended up just being confusing.

Another example near the end of the book, Rigg goes back in time to prevent himself doing something that he regretted. But Card gets it wrong here - Rigg goes back to an event in his past that should no longer exist because he had already gone further back and changed that future. Conservation of causality was broken on that one.

I suspect it is all but impossible to write completely consistent time travel adventures. One of the reasons I valued Pastwatch was that there was a story that did seem internally consistent. All the same this one was good despite the occasional discrepancies.

Ruins has all the stuff that makes card such an enjoyable writer. Plenty to chew on, plenty happening, some unexpected twists and some clever ideas. Despite any problems, I highly recommend this series and this book.
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on 23 December 2012
As expected from O. S. Card this story is a good and entertaining read. It's the continuation of adventures of Rigg and his friends after they crossed the wall. The story is well balanced, easy to follow but also gives you material to think about in the real world: what's human and what's not? what is the nature of human relations, social ladder?

This story can be enjoyed by teenagers as well as adults, everybody should find something for themselves to build on.
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on 19 February 2013
Thoroughly enjoyed the storyline carries on where Pathfinder left off and takes you into a direction you would have never imagined! There is some Character development for some of the Characters but not much for the others however to me this is about the story as a whole rather than the individual characters. Shame it takes so long to produce a book cannot wait until the third one!
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on 12 November 2012
This is almost certainly intended mainly for the young adult market. I ceased being entitled to the adjective "young" as applied to "adult" shortly after the Beatles got famous, but I mostly enjoyed the story. A previous reviewer has done a good job and so I will not repeat what he has said - I generally agree that it is a good book apart from a couple of inconsistencies. What, however, I did not enjoy was the interminable pontificating, moralising and internal analysis of the protagonists' motives. I suspect that, when I was a young adult, I would have become even more impatient with this than I was at my present age. The author is probably trying to get across a message, but he should perhaps remember what Theodore Sturgeon (I think it was) said about "authors who have sold their birthright for a pot of message". With a bit less of the internal monologues - some is necessary to show the development of the characters - I would have given this 5 stars.
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on 18 November 2013
I enjoyed Pathfinder and really looked forward to this but I was disappointed. The plot has some good elements, and it's exciting to find out how life has developed in the various wallfolds. The characters, however, go on and on about whether they are liked, who likes who, who is worthy to lead etc etc. The ending also fizzles out though perhaps this is to be expected when we know this is eventually going to be a trilogy. So let's hope the final part has less teenage angst and moralizing, and more of the intriguing descriptions of how life can develop over 11 thousand years.
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on 23 June 2013
I finished the first book Pathfinder and thought it was very inventive, if a bit pedantic. The rationale for each character's decision and motivation is laboured on and on and on,

I figured I could just about cope with this if the second book was as inventive as the first but it wasn't; it was less inventive and even more minutely obsessive about justifying every plot element when there was no need. These are really clever stories.
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on 3 May 2013
I've read e-books on Sony Pocket Book for a few years, usually free of charge. This was transferred from Kindle on my pc onto my reader and contains more errors than I should have expected. The loss of a star reflects my personal disappointment; however, reading the original Kindle on the pc is perfect.
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on 28 May 2013
great sci fi story, brilliant concepts of time and gripping narrative. Can't wait for the next book and hate it when they aren't published in one go.
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on 5 December 2013
Very Quick delivery by Royal Mail and the book is in excellent condition. Just hope my son likes this book as much as the rest of the series.
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