This is one of the best books that I have read in a very long time. It is a blend of fantasy and science fiction that features two story lines woven together. Rigg has had an isolated childhood with his fur trapper father. An accident leaves his father alive long enough to tell Rigg to go into the capital city and find his sister. Hmmm. He didn’t know he had a sister. His friend, Umbo, goes with him. Thus begins the buddy/quest storyline. Both Umbo and Rigg have special abilities that make the journey a fun twisting and turning adventure. The plot is so cleverly written and the dialog is witty – charming and witty and clever. Rigg has elements of Card’s other characters – Enger Wiggins, Alvin Maker and Danny North (The Lost Gate).
The beginning of each chapter opens with the alternating story of Ram, commander of a spaceship, off to colonize a planet. Half way through the book, I cheated and read all of Ram’s story and then went back to read the rest of the novel. I had figured out the connection between Rigg and Ram, but became so engrossed in Ram’s story that I simply could not wait for each chapter beginning to pick back up with it. I put this book on my middle school reading list, see Texas Classics tab, as the challenge book. It is long and complex, best for avid readers. I can tell when they bring the book back with a grin that they got it. I have already pre-ordered the next book in the series, Ruins, due out on October 30, 2012.