Rating: 3 out of 5
I discovered Hart’s Hope by Orson Scott Card while reading a readers digest reference book written by Card. In it he discussed a variety of topics to help readers write their novels and he used his own experiences and writing as examples.
Card is the author of the Ender’s Game saga and a literary icon from what I’ve researched. It only made sense that I read his fantasy novel, to glean some hidden wisdom from his work.
I definitely learned a lot from reading it.
What I learned most was, though I did enjoy the plot of Hart’s Hope, I wasn’t sold on how the story was told.
The kingdom of Inwit, formerly Hart’s Hope has endured a power struggle for over 300 years, through magical and at times divine intervention the cruel king was usurped by Palicrovol a man the Gods deemed worthy to rule, he was then exiled by Queen Beauty, daughter of the cruel king, robbed of her virtue and banished from her homeland she uses the blackest of magic to lord over all.
The Gods through small miracles cause the Hero’s Journey of Orem Scanthips, the only person who can thwart the evil queen.
All the makings of an epic story until you open the book and get slapped by the fantastical names of this world.
There are a few things I didn’t enjoy about Hart’s Hope that detracted from my overall enjoyment of the tale. The first would be some of the names, like our flower princess for instance “Enziquelvinisensee Evelvenin” a name so convoluted I don’t wish to read it let alone trying to understand how it’s pronounced. Changing it to Weasel was probably the biggest favor Card could’ve done for us.
You know this story but, forgot so I’ll remind you.
At the beginning of my reading I noticed the story was a second person narrative. There is a brief paragraph in the beginning of the book that explains this individual is writing to king Palicrovol, in hopes to save the boy Orem’s life.
I have never read a story with a 2nd person narrator that I enjoyed and this particular story did nothing to change that. Throwing in the occasional “you remember that don’t you?” doesn’t change the fact that there are things the narrator shouldn’t know and hiding the identity of the narrator only adds to the confusion.
This new heading means I’m starting a new scene.
Each chapter was separated into cute little vignettes meant to move the story along while covertly jumping through time. At times the headings broke up the story in a convenient way easing you through otherwise challenging sections with strange vernacular. Other times the headings came as abrupt stop signs interrupting the flow and reminding you of why you hate headings in books. (Is that just me?…oh well)
I wonder what kind of story it would’ve been without the headings, pretentiously made up names and second person narrative.
I did enjoy the world created by OSC. As this story was mentioned in the world building section of the reference guide I was pleased to see that his world development skills were phenomenal.
My overall opinion is that this book is neither completely horrible nor is it that great. I can add it to my read pile and that is important.