Book Review: Wakers by Orson Scott Card

Book Review: Wakers by Orson Scott Card

Rating: 3 out of 5.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Enders Game comes a brand-new series following a teen who wakes up on an abandoned Earth to discover that he’s a clone!

Laz is a side-stepper: a teen with the incredible power to jump his consciousness to alternate versions of himself in parallel worlds. All his life, there was no mistake that a little side-stepping couldn’t fix.

Until Laz wakes up one day in a cloning facility on a seemingly abandoned Earth.

Laz finds himself surrounded by hundreds of other clones, all dead, and quickly realizes that he too must be a clone of his original self. Laz has no idea what happened to the world he remembers as vibrant and bustling only yesterday, and he struggles to survive in the barren wasteland he’s now trapped in. But the question that haunts him isn’t why was he created, but instead, who woke him up…and why?

There’s only a single bright spot in Laz’s new life: one other clone appears to still be alive, although she remains asleep. Deep down, Laz believes that this girl holds the key to the mysteries plaguing him, but if he wakes her up, she’ll be trapped in this hellscape with him.

This is one problem that Laz can’t just side-step his way out of.

Publication datePagesMy rating
Feb 2, 20224003/5 stars

I’ve heard a lot about author Orson Scott Card across the sci-fi corner of the internet, so I had to give this book a try. It wasn’t all good, it wasn’t all bad, but I would say he did all right.

I found the concept of time-stepping to be a pretty compelling take on time-travel theory. Rather than displacing to another point in time, it’s more of a shift to a parallel world with an alternate history. Think reality-shifting. Card introduces time-stepping from the very first page and it remains very consistently present throughout the book. It was tangible enough for the opening of the book and definitely became easier to understand as the book went on.

The ending left me pretty content, and it certainly works as a standalone story. While conclusive, it did feel abruptly rushed compared to the rest of the book as Orson was trying to wrap up any loose ends to the storyline.

The biggest drawback of this book is Orson’s stifling depth of analysis. There was minimal plot development for long stretches of the book and instead an extremely zoomed-in focus on the characters’ day-to-day lives. SO many pages were spent on Laz deciding where to sleep, where to eat, how to eat, where to use the bathroom, how- yeah you get the idea.

The general discussion focused on how things affected the characters, how they felt about those things, how they felt about each other, how they felt about their situation, even how their dogs felt, it was just too much and became pretty frustrating.

It’s definitely a light read – yes the weight of the world is on Laz’s shoulders – but the slow pace of the plot made it seem relatively low stakes. If you’re looking for a no-tension yet intriguing metaphysical exposition, I would definitely recommend it – just be aware that you’ll need to set aside a little more time than usual to get through it 🙂

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