Read Songmaster by Orson Scott Card Online


A haunting story of power and love--a tale of the man who would destroy everything he loves to preserve humanity's peace, and the boy who might just sing the world away....

Title : Songmaster
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780812532555
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 377 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Songmaster Reviews

  • Spider the Doof Warrior
    2019-02-08 17:17

    But, if you are going to do something to someone that causes them terrible pain should the orgasm shouldn't you TELL them about this? I don't want to read this book again. It's disturbing. But mainly because I'm just not sure gay people WORK like that!This book is like several books crammed into one. It's Ender's Game with singing instead of laser tag. It has a terrible underlying message about being gay too. OSC does NOT understand how gay people work! Or straight people for that matter. I'm sorry, but most people don't look at a kid that way. If they do, they need help. Though there are those older women who want Justin Bieber and Taylor Lautner. But they were in their teens at least. High teens. I don't think it's RIGHT, but they were not prepubescent kids. Gay dudes don't go, ooo, look at that kid *cringes* when he is 15 and frigging looks 11 OR 12!!!??? It didn't seem like any of the other dudes he harped on were teens except when he was a teen, so WTF was up with this? It's so insulting on a lot of levels.In terms of prose it's all tell and no show. I'm not saying books have to be all avant guard but maybe I don't like having everything spelled out to me like I'm a little kid. There's no subtlety. No hints. Nothing you as a read can gather on your own. I like to try to figure things out. I know OSC snubs this kind of writing, but I find it INTERESTING. So, yeah, this book is frustrating. Anyone remotely gay gets punished for giving in and being gay. They either end up with no penis and kill themselves or they end up getting to be celibate forever while folks who follow the rules get married, have kids and live happily even if it makes no sense to marry someone you barely know and have kids with them. Ugh.

  • Emma
    2019-02-07 18:30

    this is truly my favorite scifi book of all time. it's got orphaned children, gay-questioning sex, weird psychic powers, enough tragedy to make me cry, and bards. How could I not love it? well, I did when I was 14. I really should qualify my sci-fi reviews since many of these are from my teenage years and it could be that if I read them now I'd be like huh what is this crap, like when you watch a cartoon movie like The Last Unicorn as an adult and think now why does that tree have boobs? But I bet that since this is Orson Scott Card and he has so many crown masterpieces in his oeuvre that it is still good even as a jaded older person.

  • Rebecca ♥ Ash, Kishan, Magnus ♥
    2019-02-04 19:27

    This book was really nothing like what I expected. Its actually a great deal like Ender's Game. A young boy grows up as a prodigy, a genius, and the best of the best among a group of exceptionally talented children. He has a great talent for reading and understanding people, and even loving his enemies. After he has accomplished what is expected of him, he is sent away, and perhaps there is a little bit of Bean mixed in, because he goes on to rule Earth. What surprised me the most about this book was that the boy, now a teenager, has a brief romance with another man about half way through the book, and it is quite known that OSC is a colossal homophobe. So I was so confused that I had to look into this to try to understand how he could have written this. Not that I wanted to ruin a book that I was enjoying by reading his hate filled thoughts on the subject, but I was just that surprised. OSC said about this book, that the two men had genuine love for each other, but that he wanted to depict how being together ultimately destroyed them. Well I say he failed. I would even be so bold as to say that OSC is so skilled at writing complex and realistic characters that, against his will and intentions, he made me love these two men more than anyone else in the book. He created them as 3-dimensional characters who loved each other, but they were destroyed by the world around them, not through any fault of their own. It was their society and the people closest to them that destroyed them, people like OSC himself. I would have not interpreted any of this from the story myself if I had not known anything about the author beforehand. I would have seen their relationship as short, true, and tragic. Happiness does not come to all.The boy went on to be a man and accomplished great things, but never loved again, had what he thought was a fulfilling life, and died old and happy. But I found the story to be very sad. His life was long, and hard, and lonely. I loved this boy, Ansset, and I was captivated by his life, and by his heart and generosity.

  • Lisa (Harmonybites)
    2019-01-30 20:39

    I can't help but find this a remarkable book in many ways. The characters really live for me, and several are quite complex--certainly not simple to evaluate as good or evil. And I loved the world Card created of the Songhouse. This is a place where even common communications are made by song. I fell in love with Orson Scott Card's writing after discovering his Ender books. The theme of those books is tolerance, and trying to understand the "Other." And the theme of this one is love--of all kinds. The children brought to be trained to the Songhouse are orphans; when the young and gifted Ansset, who this novel is centered upon, is brought there, another child comforts him with the house's "Love Song" which is repeated at key moments:“I will never hurt you.I will always help you.If you are hungryI'll give you my food.If you are frightenedI am your friend.I love you now.And love does not end.” Including by the way, love between two men, and I don't mean platonic. Especially given this book was published in 1978, the novel is incredibly liberal and accepting in outlook. And yes, you might know that Orson Scott Card is now infamous for public statements against same sex marriage so vehement it's hard to believe it's just a matter of conviction, rather than bigotry. I know some reviewing this novel can see only hostility in its depiction of a relationship between two men--but I suspect they read this book in light of Card's remarks, and read into it what they were expecting. I only know that when I read this for the first time as a teen, that's far from what I took from it. And it's notable that those reviewers expressing anti-gay sentiments are angry at Card for his depiction, not happy with it. I found a remark of Card's over a decade after the book's publication defending the novel where he claimed:What the novel offers is a treatment of characters who share, between them, a forbidden act that took place because of hunger on one side, compassion on the other, and genuine love and friendship on both parts. I was not trying to show that homosexuality was "beautiful" or "natural" -- in fact, sex of any kind is likely to be "beautiful" only to the participants, and it is hard to make a case for the naturalness of such an obviously counter-evolutionary trend as same-sex mating. Those issues were irrelevant. The friendship between [them] was the beautiful and natural thing, even if it eventually led them on a mutually self-destructive path.The relationship isn't the central focus of the book. I wouldn't belabor the issue so much in this review, except that Card's views on homosexuality (expressed in ways much more extreme than in the quote above) so shocked me because it seemed so contrary to the spirit of what I had read by him and knowing those views now taint how I read his books. So rereading this--trying to decide whether or not to keep this book on my shelf or not has only deepened my bewilderment. How can he believe that, but write this? Maybe it's because in the end, Card is too good a writer to write caricatures--that his subconscious can counter even strongly held and expressed views as they're typed on the page. Just as Shakespeare may give us a Shylock that while reinforcing anti-Semitic stereotypes, at the same time has him cry, "Hath not a Jew eyes" demanding us to recognize his common humanity. I only know that I still can't reread Songmaster and remain unmoved. So despite feeling a bit embarrassed to admit Card still sings to me, it's true--the man's a bard.

  • Hamster
    2019-02-03 18:35

    Every time I see an Orson Scott Card book, I think, "Hey, why haven't I read that yet?" There are in fact dozens of his books that I have not delved into, and today I was reminded why I'd lost my enthusiasm for this talented writer.Songmaster, is one of his earliest novels and I found it disturbing on so many levels. Oh, it starts out benign enough, with life in the song house as Anssett learns to sing. As soon as we get into this story, however, it's over and Scott has begun another plot which at first seems related, and then takes a wild turn into left field. After that plot is more or less resolved, he writes a third story using many of the same characters he used in the first two thirds of the book, but with absolutely no recognizable connection to the first two stories.If this were the only problem I'd had with this book, I would've given it four stars. Although episodic and graphically violent in places (Scott needs to figure out if he's writing a romance, a coming of age, murder mystery, or a horror novel and stick with it) I found the characters deep and interesting and the scenes dramatic (some a little over the top) and full of emotion.I could have over looked all that if it hadn't been for....(some may consider this a spoiler, but I would've wanted to know this before I picked it up).(view spoiler)[How is OSC going to bear his testimony of the LDS church principles in his blog (he's pretty good about that) and in public declare his pro-family stance on marriage and then publish a book like The Songmaster?In the last quarter of the book, for no reason that I can discern, he writes about a homosexual's struggle to be loyal to his wife and kid. I'll let you know that he's not exactly successful and Scott included a homosexual sex scene for us, involving a 15 year old boy.What is wrong with this man? If you're going to write gay romances, fine, but change your name and spare the world your affiliation with a church whose focus is Christ-centered, traditional family values. Perhaps OSC would say he's showing how much pain this causes and therefore it's the perfect sermon against giving in to same-sex-attraction. Maybe there's a moral at the end of the book, but I guess I'll never know, because I couldn't finish it. Even if he is so inclined to write such a preachy, controversial lecture on the evils of homosexuality, CALL IT WHAT IT IS. Don't engage us with a completely different story and then throw this in as an afterthought. (Although I will say he does mention child sex slaves quite frequently in the first half, so I guess I should've seen it coming.)I don't care what he think's he's accomplished by writing this type of literature, but he's not doing anything to improve the reputation of the church and as a temple-attending member he has promised to make that his top priority. He's also not doing anything for his own reputation. (hide spoiler)]

  • Rachel
    2019-01-31 15:28

    This is a very, very strange novel. I've been a fan of OSC since I was very young, and since I was a young teen I've been very disturbed by the almost violent intolerance of homosexuality he expresses in his essays. This attitude seemed so at odds with the values woven into the stories of Ender and Bean - stories of children who are different, but good, and catch a lot of crap for it but save their tormentors anyway.This book answered some of my questions. No spoilers here, but suffice is to say that one of the only truly sympathetic characters in the novel is an openly gay man. OSC's treatment of this character and his associates paints a more complete picture of OSC's views on homosexuality, and I found it very, very interesting. (This has been a favorite topic of mine for a while - there are explicitly queer characters in much of OSC's fiction, most often struggling against themselves - but there is nothing simple or moralizing in his portrayals, as there is in his essays.) More study is needed. :)

  • Clarence
    2019-02-20 21:29

    This is, hands down, my favorite fiction book of all time. It's unfortunate that it is usally classified (and shelved) as science fiction, which it is not. The occasional travel from one planet to another does not science fiction make. This book alone made me an Orson Scott Card fan for life, and because of it I can forgive him the various other authorial sins which, IMHO, he has committed in his career since.I'm pretty sure I sought this out after reading "Mikal's Songbird" in a (science fiction!) magazine. Over the years, I've pressed it on several people I thought would be well affected by it. A dear friend, years and years back, wasn't much into reading and I knew I wouldn't be able to get her to read Songmaster, so instead I read the entire novel onto ninety-minute cassette tapes and gave it to her as a present. It was slow going because reading aloud always makes me yawn a lot, but the ending started to get ridiculous -- it took me several days to get the last three or four pages down, because I kept having to pause to let the tears well up, as they always do every time I read it.I have a much longer review (90% synopsis) on Everything2, from which I want to draw one sentence: You know it's not your usual story when a sentence like this suffices to describe Ansset's life as Emperor of the Galaxy:So Ansset was crowned and reigned for 60 years.Hmmm, it must be four or five years now since I read it last. Time to indulge again.

  • Jamie
    2019-02-09 21:19

    I wanted to like this book, honestly, I did. I'm a fan of Card's 'Ender' books, and the synopsis to Songmaster was one of the most intriguing I've ever come across. While reading however, I found myself constantly questioning the point of the plot. "Songmaster" is quite frankly a poor story. Poorly composed, and poorly told. It's little more than a series of uninteresting things occurring, one after the next, with no larger story arc, and virtually no entertainment value.The various sexual themes/content are also rather unnerving, mainly because there doesn't seem to be any need for it. Anyone who knows anything about Orson Scott Card, knows he's a Mormon, and huge anti-gay whackjob. Why he feels the need therefore, to inject so much homosexuality into this story, is peculiar to say the least. I suspect his purpose was twofold; to make the reader feel uncomfortable about homosexuality, and to portray gays having bad things happening to them. I mean, what would a desperately boring story be, without some unnecessary bronze age preaching to go along with it? This is symptomatic of the puritanical fear/obsession with homosexuality, that small-minded faith-crippled cretins such as himself suffer from.Despite his preposterous religious beliefs, Orson Scott Card is a very talented writer, and story teller, although you wouldn't know it from reading Songmaster. The book showed so much promise, but ended up leaving a sour taste in my mouth, and the knowledge that I'll never get this time back.

  • sologdin
    2019-02-01 15:18

    Nutshell: school for the Euterpean arts involves itself in galactic politics, leading to homophobic crimes, coups d'etat, &c., 20,000 years in the future. Principal is a pre-Ender wunderkind, a victim of child trafficking. Euterpeans know the victim status and the location of the grieving parents, but elect to ignore it all (69). In addition to being scum, they're also stupid, insofar as their constitution selects the new schoolmaster by virtue of whoever finds the corpse of the current schoolmaster; finder picks new boss (32). Principal is hooked up with several galactic emperors in the standard device to place the narration at the center of the entire setting. Yawn.Focus for the Euterpeans is "Control," a form of mental discipline: the "object of Control was not to remove the singer from all human contact, but to keep that contact clear and clean" (43). Advanced Euterpean arts produce "possession, ownership, dependence, self-surrender" in untrained listeners (80). It's all very Dunyain, especially when used to "read the flickers of emotion in his voice" and thereby know the thoughts of others (116). In addition to mind control, principal acquires superhuman kung-fu. I have therefore found RSB's Hidden Source.Emblematic of the whole: "The longer [the eels] wiggle the more they pee and the better they taste. This pond's full of them. Connects right up with the sewer system. They live in the sewer. Along with worse things. [The city] produces more turds than anything else, enough to keep a million [eels] alive" (56). There's FTL transit (no system of FTL rules, though), laser guns, and whatnot. But otherwise, for 20,000 years out, it's looking very 20th century. It's therefore more of a Fantasy of the Present Moment, projecting current facts, including our own science fiction content, into the far future. Not sure if the ineffectiveness is a result of the genre or the specimen.Bizarre random love triangle. Bizarre random palace intringues. Love triangle reveals that principal is afflicted with an "orgasm torture" drug (300); his homosexual lover is castrated (312). Principal ends up, also randomly, at apex of imperial power, so, yaknow, there it is. Recommended for those pretty enough to be catamites, Kinshasans from the southern tip of Africa, and writers of theses and dissertations, feces and defecations.

  • Jason
    2019-02-15 14:29

    Spoiler Alert! Piece of trash. I've gotten more enjoyment from reading the back of a box of cereal. Orson is a homophobe and just proves it with his disgusting treatment of homosexuality in this dank and dark book. Everything in this book is all about pedophiles for the first half. The first supposedly gay character screws a woman first thing (I think Mrs Card is a little confused about the word homosexual). Ultimately, he pays for his abomination with castration and suicide. The main character is a completely unrelatable character who finally gets up the nerve to bang a dude and is punished by pain instead of pleasure at orgasm and then forever rendered impotent. The politics are crude and juvenile. The characters are all either perfect and punished for it or horrible people. There were a few somewhat interesting musical concepts floating around, but Mercedes Lackey and many others have done much more with better style, class and humanity. Also, in case you were wondering, I called him Mrs Card on purpose. Between this and Ender's Game, it has become painfully clear that Orson is a self loathing homosexual with serious emotional damage brought on by his infantile religion. Hope that dude gets laid and gets over himself and his big bag of crazy. I tried to like him regardless of his personal beliefs, but there is nothing there worth respecting and nothing there in his body of work that can't be found elsewhere with better quality ingredients. Two very definite thumbs down. Icedragons Snowqueen wrote a better love story.

  • Metaphorosis
    2019-01-30 15:23 5 starsThe Songhouse trains singers - such good singers that the House is by custom inviolate. Yet when the tyrant Mikal requests a Songbird, the Songhouse gives him one, risking its long reputation for probity. Mikal's Songbird Ansset, who knows only how to sing, ends up at the focus of change in the Empire.I first read Songmaster in a Futura edition with 23 pages missing out of the middle. Intensely annoying, especially because I thought the book was so good, and because those pages were crucial. It probably helped to highlight the book's impact.I recently included Orson Scott Card's Songmaster in a list of my top five SFF books. When someone asked why, I realized I hadn't read the book in so long that I couldn't answer in any detail. So, I reread it, and I'm happy to say my view hasn't changedSongmaster brings together the separate concepts of "Ender's Game" (youth with talent and control, an impassive master), Capitol (needful destruction, tyrants with depth), and "Unaccompanied Sonata" (purity in music). Each of those works was first class, and Songmaster proves to be an equally worthy synthesis.It's hard to point to specific moments in the book that demonstrate its quality. The fact is that, throughout, Card achieves an almost perfect balance of prose and feeling. All the notes are right, all the emotions credible, all of it very human. What takes the story beyond the ranks of merely 'excellent' is Card's ability to follow through. Many writers can bring a story and reader to an emotional crescendo, a satisfying ending. Very few writers are then able to pick up the pieces and keep going. Card achieves this deftly and surely, and with perfect balance.There are a couple of missteps, of course, and one key plot element that's weakly handled. But overall, this is one of the finest SFF works of the last century. If it's hard to point out exactly why, it's because Card achieves the impact not with gimmicks or clever ideas, but with honest-to-goodness polished, effective prose. It doesn't have the flash of Vance, or the poetry of Zelazny, but it has more human characters than the one, and more emotional depth than the other. Card may not always be good, but this book is among his best.Note: When I first read Songmaster, I knew very little about Card. I took the actions and desires of individual characters as the actions and desires of individuals. On this re-read, I still know very little about Card, but it was impossible not to consider his well-publicized and disagreeable views about homosexuality. It's certainly possible to read this book and come away uncomfortable with the way in which homosexuals are treated. That may reflect Card's worldview; I hope not. Nonetheless, even with this knowledge in the back of my mind, in my re-read, I still took the characters as individuals, and not intended to represent one or another group. Read in this way, the book is excellent. If you go looking for a fight, I think you can find one here, but I don't think you have to.

  • Cmadler
    2019-02-09 14:11

    This stands easily among the best of Card's works, and although many reviewers have compared the protagonist, Ansset, to Card's best-known character, Ender Wiggin -- the similarities seem to me to be mostly superficial -- I found this to be very much of a piece with Card's two novels that preceded it: Hot Sleep, and especially A Planet Called TreasonOf all Card's characters, Anssett is surely most similar to Lanik Mueller. Both Anssett and Lanik were raised in privilege, with the expectation of performing some large duty, but each found his life twisted by circumstances beyond his control. Each suffered tremendously, grew through the suffering, and accomplished more than could have been originally imagined. In the end, although each dominates and eventually reshapes his world, both find the greatest satisfaction through quiet servitude.For as much as this novel has attracted attention for its brief references to man/boy love and child molestation, and the actual inclusion of homosexuality, the principal themes are honor, loyalty, belonging, and non-sexual love. A major secondary theme is political power and great art shaping (and attempting to outright control) each other.

  • Ryan
    2019-02-22 14:28

    Since this was one ofOrson Scott Card's pre- Ender's Game books, I didn't quite know what to expect. It is science fiction in that space travel and multiple worlds are involved but it is nearer to fantasy since, for me anyway, sci-fi/fantasy both share a need for something other-worldly, hi-tech invention or magic respectively. Songmaster's other worldly aspect is the music itself and since it really doesn't count as invention or magic it can safely straddle the two genres.I didn't care much for the homosexual references; although since homosexuality seems so prominant in musicians (more so in theatre though) I suppose it could be an integral part of the story. Interestingly enough none of the singers in the book are homosexual though.Part of me wishes I could give the book two-and-a-half stars, since it really is better than two, but not three.

  • Nancy
    2019-01-28 19:21

    I've read and enjoyed most of Orson Scott Card's books. 'Songmaster' is not an exception. It's funny, though, that although many of Card's novels contain dark elements and portray gentle people who are compelled by circumstances or their own moral decisions to commit acts of great violence, this particular novel was really harrowing to read. Ansett, the novel's protagonist, is similar in many ways to Card's most famous protagonist, Ender Wiggen. Exceptionally gifted, required to bear heavy burdens while still very much a child, asked to forgive more than anyone should ever have to, Ansett is both broken and remade by the circumstances of his life. Although 'Songmaster' was written long before the Ender Saga, Card was more successful with Ansett than he was with Ender in demonstrating the terrible toll Ansett's life took on him and Ansett's ultimate redemption. A good book, but hard to read.

  • Lana
    2019-01-27 18:31

    This was one of four or five books that I started the year with, all reading at the same time, in different spots in my home. Once I got past the first chapter or two, I felt compelled to finish this, to the exclusion of others.Songmaster is set in a world with Earth, but significantly different from the world we know. Earth is both the armpit of the universe and the home of the Emperor of Everything. What a dichotomy! Earth is a government of continents, not countries, and the US is divided into Western and Eastern America. Some American nameplaces are familiar, and a few references are made to other recognizable places on Earth.Communication at its best is done by Singers, and Singers are trained in the Songhouse on Tew, which is a planet. People still talk, but Singing communicates at a subconscious or subsonic level and affects people's feelings, attitudes, actions. Frankly, I'd hate to live in a world where I could not sing (I CAN sing, but you really don't want to have to listen to it), even to myself. In this world, only Singers can sing (unless you are very small and don't know better), and you can only become a Singer by being raised in the Songhouse.OK, enough about that.The book follows main character Ansett, a supremely gifted Singer, from his beginning as he is separated from his mother, to his death, and slightly beyond, in vignettes, some longer, some shorter. Details are never glossed over, but neither are unimportant things included. I don't need to know the minutiae of his life, endlessly recycled, to know that three years have passed. You understand?At times I found myself identifying with Ansett. He was by turns pampered and abused, praised and vilified. I was able to get into his skin, so to speak, and memories would scamper across my mind, much too quickly to be conscious, but passing through and leaving food for contemplation. Reading this was similar to reading Stranger in a Strange Land by Heinlein many years ago. I find myself mentally chewing on something days after reading, and learning things about myself I did not know.Orson Scott Card is famous for his Ender books in particular. I've read Ender's Game, which left me glad I'd read it, though I was confused throughout. I've tried reading other Orson Scott Card books and been unable to get into them. Without a doubt, he has a way with words, and sometimes, my brain is just not ready for that train yet.If you've liked other Orson Scott Card books, I recommend this one without reservation. If you've never tried an Orson Scott Card book, this might be a good one to start with.P.S. Others have tagged this gay fantasy or gay romance, and though it does exist in this book, it's mentioned in passing, in a chapter or two, definitely not part of the main plot. If you're not into that, this shouldn't discourage you from reading this book, and if you are, just remember, it's a very small part of Ansett's life. Personally, I loved that it was so casually a part of the background, and not overthought.

  • Osiris
    2019-01-28 16:11

    De cierto modo este libro me recordó a Let the Right One In, y no porque sea un libro sobre vampiros, en este no hay vampiros, ni porque se desarrolle en Suecia, porqué tampoco es así, de hecho en ambiente y trama no tienen nada que ver el uno con el otro, pero lo que tienen muy similar es el hecho de que, les ambos son historias de amor hechas y derechas y no mafufadas (jojojo, que palabra tan más graciosa) cursis.El libro trata sobre Ansset, un niño que posiblemente tenga la voz mas hermosa del universo en toda su historia, quien es educado en la Casa de Canto (literalment LA casa de canto de todo el universo, donde aprenden a hablar con el canto y a magnificar los sentimientos por medio de el) y es elegido para ser el Pájaro Cantor del emperador Mikal (quien es ni más ni menos emperador del universo) por lo cual, Ansett deberá vivir desde los 9 años hasta los 15 años con dicho personaje.Una de las cosas que me gustó mucho es el concepto del canto como un lenguaje, con la capacidad de expresar ideas completas solo con su tono, ritmo y melodía, así como de influenciar en las personas al hacerles sentir emociones, si bien no es posible plasmar como es el canto (puesto que no se puede escuchar al estar leyendo), el hecho de utilizar las reacciones y las emociones de tanto el que canta como el que está escuchando hace que uno sea quien pueda llenar el cómo es dicho canto con su propia imaginación, con lo cual, pues cada quien lo puede imaginar diferente.Por otro lado, el libro fácilemnte podría ser muy malinterpretado y levantar cejas, muchas cejas, por los temas que aborda, principalmente el hecho del amor como un ideal puro, no sexual (algo así como el concepto platónico) sin importar edad y género, y es justamente en eso que me recuerda mucho a Déjame Entrar.Eso si, este libro se escribió muchos años antes que Déjame Entrar.

  • Adrian
    2019-02-23 17:31

    La Casa de Canto enseña a los niños a cantar las canciones de la gente, de la vida, de la muerte… crea voces que generan sentimientos, moldean ideas y hacen sanar las heridas.Un libro como Maestro cantor toca temas como el abandono, el poder, la homosexualidad, la bisexualidad, la música, la traición, el terrorismo, la humanidad, el perdón, el amor puro… todo desde el punto de vista de 1 niño que se hace hombre con cada página…El libro tiene 5 partes:-la primera es la introducción, y es la peor para mi, larga, lenta, tediosa… pero necesaria para entender que es un Pájaro Cantor y como se “crea” su voz…- las tres siguientes partes nos hablan de la vida del pájaro en la corte, y en el mundo exterior (la Tierra), para mí las mejores.-La parte final nos habla de un pájaro cantor que ha vivido toda una vida y regresa al hogar humildemente deseando alcanzar todo para lo que estaba destinado (emotiva y con un final digno).Si no fuera por el inicio lento y pesado tendría una mejor nota, pero esas primeras hojas me hicieron plantearme dejar la lectura del libro..., por suerte no lo hice y el resto me encantó.

  • Seregil
    2019-02-20 21:28

    It's a very touching and amazing story. At least twice the story could have ended - everything was tied up nicely and at a pleasant point - but then the story starts again after a few years have passed and something happens that changes everything. Sometimes it's just about growing up and needing to move forward, other times it's something terrible that changes the character's life. Nothing lasts forever, the book seems to point out, yet, at the very end we are left with hope and happiness because even if nothing lasts, neither does anything truly disappear. The legacy of an individual lives on in the collective mind, in humanity's soul.I liked that the Songmasters valued control, but never forgot how important it is to know how to let it go. Having Control meant being able to chose when and how not to be in control.A very beautiful book that left me the feeling of reading a myth.

  • Allisyn
    2019-02-07 17:13

    It's been a while since I've read anything by him and I'd definitely forgotten how beautiful how world building is. His prose is so lovely and he'll contrast it by writing in an event or something so horrible or ugly that it sometimes takes another read or two of the passage to comprehend what exactly happened. Songmaster follows one man from events that make his existence significant to his death. The young man transforms from a gifted young singer in an isolated school to the companion of an emperor to a man of great consequence in his own right and finally his return to the home of his youth. There is love, both familial and romantic, cut-throat political maneuvering, bold kidnappings, and whirlwind fight scenes. I really enjoying reading this novel.

  • Dallas
    2019-02-03 22:32

    This is perhaps my favorite Orson Scott Card book. It has a richly developed universe and characters and covers the entire lifetime of the main character. I did not want to put it down and when the book was over, I felt as if I had been in the presence of a great person and was happy to have joined him on his journey. This book is a science fiction, but has a similar feel to a lot of epic fantasy, so would probably be good for fans of either genre.

  • Matthew
    2019-02-15 19:11

    Part one of this is a review of the book on its own merits, afterward, I will talk about my feelings on Orson Scott Card and his political activities. Songmaster was published in 1980, and as such, it’s the earliest work I’ve read by Card, and this is evident because it is also the worst thing I’ve read by him. It has a strong opening section, that really gets me interested in the premise and had me caring about the characters, but the sections that follow are a seeming random parade of events that lack any real structure and like the film Robocop 2 too much action actually becomes boring when there is no break, and I actually find myself not caring about any of these characters although I identified with them strongly at the start. I had just come off reading two of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation prequels and in Card’s defense, these were both written after Songmaster (although the Foundation series itself is much older) but I really was ready for a change of pace, but sadly, I found this to be a very similar book to those. For one thing the story plays out in short episodes, but also they share many elements, such as an empire in decline, a sympathetic emperor, planned attacks made to look random, brainwashing, a throneworld divided into nationalistic communities, an institution that is exempt from imperial interference and the most unlikely people displaying badass fighting skills. We also see hints of things to come in Card’s work, as Songmaster is particularly reminiscent of Ender’s Game with it’s themes of a child removed from his loving family at a very young age to be trained for a serious task, often with adults conspiring to manipulate his progress without his knowledge. It is a common thing in Card’s work in general for a hero to begin his labor during childhood. (Also see Seventh Son and )Card had a strong premise about the manipulative power of music taken to levels we haven’t seen in the real world, and its role in this future society. If he had stuck with this premise, focused on it, this could have been a great book, but that premise gets lost in a machine-gun barrage of ideas and the chaos becomes dull quickly with abductions, human weapons, statisticians uncovering pension fraud, children thrust into high ranking political office and crippling orgasms. ****I read books as a child, I remember particularly enjoying Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the Oz books and several of Roald Dahl’s books for younger readers. As I grew into my teenage years I got lazy and distracted by less intellectual pursuits until my favorite aunt gave me a gift of Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead. These books hooked me instantly and I am a reader today because of them. Card was my favorite author in those days. It was only in the last few years that I started hearing people call Card a “bigot” although they were being rather general, and my liberal friends seem to show less tolerance toward Mormons (Card is one) than any group except Scientologists. So when I saw something vague on Wikipedia saying that Card was sometimes accused of bigotry because of his far right politics, I let the matter go. I’m not a conservative, but I generally tolerate right-wing opinions if they aren’t unreasonable. I did find it hard to believe he was that hard right considering the themes of his books. For example in Lost Boys (a novel with no relation to the film of the same name) the mane character is the head of a Mormon family (and Card actually cast himself in the role in the short story version.) This character is shown to be very impatient with the older women who are the Mormon equivalent of “church ladies” at the temple his family attends, in other words, conservatives. In The Tales of Alvin Maker franchise, conservative traits are common in the villains of the series, including Confederates, politicians after Indian land and a preacher who’s devoutness leads him to persecute others (and inadvertently serve The Devil.)Anyway, it is with the approach of the Ender’s Game movie that the shit has hit the internet fan and the accusations of bigotry have become much more specific. Orson Scott Card stands accused of being anti gay, particularly in being quite vocally against the legalization of same sex marriage. Furthermore there are claims that he is spending his own money to fund a group who’s purpose is to stand in the way of marriage equality. These accusations strike very close to my heart as a very close friend of mine will be exercising her newly won right to marry this fall, and I take exception to anyone who would condemn this wonderful person for that. So I researched it,’s pretty much all true. Except for claims that he threatened to commit violent revolution. That was a misquote, but everything else is true. In Cards blogs he is a strange contradiction. He starts out very compassionate and understanding towards homos, but then quickly descends into hateful condemnation. He acknowledges that being gay is not a choice. He acknowledges that it is natural. He acknowledges that gay people aren’t bad in any way just because they are gay. Then he turns around and condemns them, demands that the law deny them basic rights and accuses them of trying to turn him gay or destroy his marriage. It’s as if he’s two different people. When I came across the below quote, I decided to read Songmaster to try to understand what exactly is going on in his head. In Songmaster (and also in the third Homecoming novel, The Ships of Earth, the only other place where I have dealt with homosexuality in my fiction) I attempt to create real and living characters. I find it nearly impossible to create a character that I do not end up understanding and sympathizing with to some degree. Thus it should surprise no one that I treat homosexuals in my fiction with understanding and sympathy. - Orson Scott Card, 1990The Ships of Earth is a book about a group of pilgrims. God, who is actually a character in the book, let’s them know that there group must have an equal number of male and female members who must pare off and remain faithfully married in order to repopulate the Earth. Zdorab, a minor character, is a librarian who through sheer accident, finds himself recruited to the group against his will. When he reveals to Nafai, the groups Christ-like leader, that he is in fact gay, Nafai convinces him to resist his own natural drives and he agrees to marry the groups resident ugly chick and procreate with her, because it’s what God wants him to do. The two have a child or two and Zdorab’s decision is treated as his own conscious choice to do what’s right and a noble sacrifice. He’s a hero because he found the will in himself to stop being gay. Through most of Songmaster I found myself wondering exactly what sympathetic portrayal of gay characters Card was talking about, since the only thing gay going on was several adults lusting after an eight year old boy. (Stay classy Orson.) Finally in the last third of the book the gay (and once again minor) character is introduced, Josef, and the first thing he does is seduce a woman. The only thing really sympathetic (more like pathetic) about Josef’s gay aspect is that he whimpers to the girl, Kya-Kya, about how difficult life has been because he’s gay, until she agrees to have sex with him. From here on out they are a couple and basically our “sympathetic gay character” is simply a straight guy with a girlfriend and like Zdorab, he becomes a protagonist since as a team the two proactively start making the world a better place...until. Ansset, the book’s main character enters the equation and Josef is instantly smitten. Up until this point, Ansset, whom I interpret as being severely autistic, has shown no sign of sexuality whatsoever, but as he is want to do, he can read Josef’s desires and wants to fulfill them, which eventually happens. When Josef finally gives in to his desire the consequences are both swift and severe resulting in instant permanent bodily harm to the object of his desires followed shortly to an even worse fate for himself. Card’s sympathetic view of homos is clear to me now. These characters are well meaning, good hearted, even innocent people, but it is their own nature that Card portrays as a challenge to be bravely overcome. Card portrays homosexuality like an addiction. Some people are burdened with it and it is a difficult struggle but they must resist it or it will destroy them and the people they love. God and nature are distinctly separate entities to this viewpoint and resisting nature is what god wants you to do. Card has displayed the ability to understand his fellow human beings, and yet he continues to crusade against a group that had picked no fight with him. I would be more understanding of the six-toothed hillbilly who was conditioned from birth to believe that the word of the Bible is fact, even though he never did learn to read it. That’s just ignorance. Card is intelligent and educated on the subject, he has no excuse. Yet, it also means he has the potential grow out of his hate. He’s smart enough, just stubborn I guess. In the mean time, after all I’ve learned from this, I wonder if I’ll still be able to enjoy his books. I read The Ender Quartet multiple times in my teens and twenties. Since then several more Ender books have come out, including the first three Shadow books that have sat on my shelf for years. If I get around to reading them will the experience be untainted by Card’s assholery? There are other books by him that are not in my possession, that I was looking forward to getting around to, such as The Crystal City, the most recent, and possibly final book in the Tales of Alvin Maker series, which wasn’t out yet the first few times I read through those, and I should be excited that Card is now actually chronicling The Formic War in a series of Ender prequels. Card’s views wouldn’t actually bug me at all if he weren’t actually taking negative action. Since he’s spending his own money to hurt people just because they are gay, if I do buy any more of his books, I’ll certainly buy them used rather than contribute to his livelihood until he sees the error of his ways.Sometimes you think you know someone.

  • HiRo
    2019-02-04 18:23

    When I was a teenager, I read a collection of Orson Scott Card's short fiction, and the story that most intrigued me was Mikal's Songbird. Though many of his short works definitely have sinister elements, there was an undercurrent of discomfort in that story that kept Songmaster on my mental reading list for about ten years. And reading it now, there certainly remains something deeply sinister about it. From the very beginning, Card's child protagonist is uncomfortably sexualized, not only by the people around him, but, given the way he is described, by Card himself. He is assaulted, leered at, his body is constantly commented upon, his person and his talents are passed between older men without his input or consent. But, sometime along the line, he regains agency over his body. Almost. And in the strangest way. Had anyone other than Orson Scott Card written this, my opinions on Ansset's homosexuality would be vastly different. His male lover (homosexual by description and bisexual by deed) is presented as a sympathetic yet deeply flawed character... at least at first. Card even comments on the kind of persecution and ostracism gay people face in this world (persecution and ostracism that, if the author and his entire church had their way, would be maintained and even exacerbated). At first, Card seems to describe their love and their acts of lovemaking as tender, natural, as things that have the potential to free Ansset from the trauma of years of nonconsensual sexualization. And then. And then it destroys both of them. Both Ansset and Josif's trauma from the incident isn't attributed to the fact that the sex was between two men. Ansset's troubles would apply to heterosexual sex (though, come to think of it, Esste also engaged in sexual activity abroad and she didn't suffer the same consequences--maybe Orson Scott Card thinks women can't orgasm?), and Josif's trauma is more related to having (basically with her consent, though) cheated on his wife. Had anyone else, or at least anyone who isn't openly homophobic, written this book, I would not find myself mired in trying to interpret any moral condemnations (or condonations) of homosexuality in the subtext here. The gay characters are sympathetic, likable, and definitely punished for having sex with one another, one with pain and impotence, the other with castration and suicide. But despite the bizarreness, the uncomfortable sexualization of a child, the uninterpretable commentary on homosexuality, which is presented as both beautiful and natural but happens to destroy the men who engage in it, Card is still a masterful world-builder and an excellent storyteller. There are some pacing issues in places (i.e. the kidnapping subplot), and some of the syntax was repetitive, and the violence was so absurd I nearly pissed myself laughing several times. But setting aside how hilarious it is that Ricktors basically shits out a neurotoxin by "clenching his buttocks and sliding his foot along the floor" and makes a man vomit so hard his jaw literally unhinges (oh yeah, and there was also that scene where a beautiful eleven-year-old ubermensch Nordic twink literally kicks off the heads of a bunch of African dudes with bones in their noses, which is.... perhaps Card's weird mormon beliefs about race invading his fiction), and setting aside my questions on how perhaps the constant sexualization of singing boys is just run-of-the-mill in mormon choirs, I still read this book in a day, and it still made me feel feelings and since I'm dead inside, that's definitely something. There was too much shit going on half the time, with government fraud and other subplots that are never resolved or whose meaning or relevance eludes me, but I read the thing in a day, and how easily I got through it despite my constant cringing and discomfort is a testament to Card as a writer. I don't know how the hell I'm supposed to feel about this book. I enjoyed it, and I feel guilty for it. I don't know if it was actually worth enjoying, and it didn't make me cry (I am a master of Control), but it confused and intrigued me enough to keep me reading to the end. Probably a solid 3.5

  • Sessily
    2019-02-22 21:16

    I don’t remember when I first read Songmaster--probably early middle school. For several years after I read it, through into high school, it was my favorite novel. I went on to read the Card’s Ender books, some of the Alvin Maker novels, and a few of his other novels, and I enjoyed them as well, but then time passed and I moved onto other authors. At some point I read some of his views on homosexuality and same-sex marriage, and that took away any interest I had in going back to his work. But I still had a copy of Songmaster on my bookshelf.I was home sick and I decided I’d give it a try, to see how much my perceptions of it had changed since the days when I thought it was the greatest novel of all time, and to see how Card handled the sexuality in the novel.I wasn’t too surprised to find that sexuality in the novel was a little problematic, but not so straightforwardly so as I had feared. The gay character is mostly well-drawn, though Card could have spent a little more time with him than he did (and there were a few points where Card described him in a way that implied that all gay men are such and such a way). There are a few aspects of the character that make me uncomfortable given that he is the only gay character in the novel, and what I know of Card’s views, but it wasn’t enough to make me throw the book across the room.What struck me more on this second reading which I’d only partly remembered from my first reading is how common pedophiliac desire seems to be within the novel’s setting (*hundreds* of men and women had lusted after the main character when he was a boy). I wonder how much of it was intentional, and how much of it was Card forgetting how old his main character is--easy enough to do since, much like in Ender’s Game, he’s dealing with a preternaturally mature child.And then there’s the violence, which sometimes seems realistic and in other instances comes off as cartoon-y and over-done.Additionally, Card's writing gets a little sloppy at times, with a line of description followed by a character saying the exact same line (e.g. The birds near him fell silen, instantly sensing that he did not belong among them. I don't belong among you, he said silently.) He also uses direct foreshadowing too often for my taste--along the lines of 'Little did he know he was going to die today', though not quite as blunt as that.So...there are some problematic aspects to the novel.But.The last 40 pages made me cry repeatedly. The novel follows the entire lifetime of the main character and in it he is built up and then torn down again and again, and then brought full circle to reclaim something of his life, and that was brilliantly done, no matter the rough edges.I'm leaving it un-rated for now, because my thoughts and feelings towards it are too mixed. I go back and forth between 4 stars for the emotional connection I have to it and 2 stars for the various missteps. And 3 stars just doesn't seem right.

  • Seth
    2019-02-04 18:32

    This book is really hit and miss for me, but it might be because I'm not a giant sci-fi fan. I picked it up and read over 150 pages in one sitting. But when I returned to it, I was suddenly turned off by the pacing and felt like the book was just taking forever to go anywhere. Only when there was a very sudden shift in the plot did I become interested again, but then the pages kept turning.Kyara and Ansset have very skewed perceptions of what living and interacting with other people mean. There are some very unique power dynamics in the setting. After all, there are people who can know every inch of a person's driving emotions and motivations by listening to a single utterance of a sentence.There are some very uneasy scenes in this book. Not because of non-traditional sexual politics, but because of the way in which two of the main characters perceive social interactions. It's very well-done. I consider it a great strength of this novel, not a flaw, that it can so unease the reader. The story is sometimes heart-breaking, other times filled with love, but very seldom is anything happily resolved. Don't sign up expecting a different novel. There's little in the way of gunslinging action here, little in the way of "happy" tightly-knit resolutions, and a lot of discussion of feelings. If this doesn't sound like your kind of novel, don't read it.In short, there's beautiful prose, a lot of fascinating characterization, but also very hit or miss pacing...Note: I have no idea why people go on and on about "gay content" in this book. It is very very minimal, and, to be frank, I think it could have stood a little more. The narrative rests so heavily on the reader's ability to empathize and sympathize with the characters, I find it distracting that the erotic elements stay peripheral. It almost felt a little too "safe" to me. I am a little unsure of my 4-star rating for this reason. I hardly think it's appropriate to lower a review based on homophobic feelings though (which I feel like some of these reviews have done).

  • Denae Christine
    2019-02-06 15:23

    I got 85% into it and had to give up. What a waste of time.Ansset is a completely unrelateable character. Not only does he never stay one age for more than a few chapters, but he is estranged from friends, even more than Ender. He is an alien.The culture was too free with sex, too, which is disturbing in the least. And the way they treat children at the songhouse is disturbing. There was little loyalty among friends or lovers, even with "good" characters.I disliked Mikal, and Riktors, and Kyaren, and Josif. I sort of liked Este and Rruk, but I didn't make it to her chapters, so I don't know.While everything was chronological, the time frames kept jumping and everything seemed unrelated, except that the events were somehow onnected to Ansset. Great, he is really, really important for some reason. Why? Why should we like him? Why should we care? Oh, wait, he is beautiful. And I looked ahead to see that he becomes Emperor or something like that. Oh, and he was really good at "magic", for a while.This just goes to show why I should not try to read a book, even by a known author, if I haven't read goodreads reviews. Then I would have been warned about all the illicit homosexuality. Bleh.

  • Rícar Blasco martín
    2019-02-14 15:12

    Me apasionan especialmente las historias que tratan de individuos que a primera vista proceden de familias normales, y son seleccionados por caza-talentos para ser (trans)formados en héroes que finalmente realizarán proezas históricas. Es la teoría sociológica más antigua, que utiliza los mitos y leyendas para representar entre lo que está bien y lo que está mal, un sueño que he tenido siempre: que alguien vea en tí el atributo esencial de la excelencia, lo explote y te transforme (como dijo Will Smith en Men in Black) en "the best of the best of the best" En este caso, el 50% del libro es muy prometedor, como en el Juego de Ender, pero luego la historia se transforma en algo más político y descorazonador. Quizás más realista, que lleva a un escenario no tan idealizado, algo que sorprende y que desde mi punto de vista separa el libro en dos partes algo distanciadas, dejando un regusto agridulce.

  • Joshua Mitchell
    2019-02-13 14:31

    For a relatively obscure novel, it was actually a pretty good read. I was hesitant to read it at first because the description, title, and book cover lacked the wow factor I have had with other books. But alas, it was on my list of books to read, so I began to plunge into it. I don't think it ranks highest among the books I have read by OSC but it was very intriguing, following the life a a human who has the ability to supernaturally manipulate people emotionally and physically through songs, leading him to becoming the most powerful person in the universe. If you plan on reading it, prepare for an 80+ year journey through the empire with a storyline largely formulated around music and voice.

  • Katherine
    2019-01-23 21:11

    For Card, this book was very lyrically written, which I loved. As always, he takes the very long view of humanity in time. However, the story is so intimate, you almost don't realize the broad scope he's writing in until halfway through. It took me a little time to really get into this book, but once I did, I couldn't put it down. The world and characters he created were rich and fascinating - definitely one of my favorites of his to date.

  • Zoe Zuniga
    2019-02-04 15:20

    Card is amazingly creative and I love most of his earlier scifi works though I am not as interested in his recent historical works. It has always surprised me that he is mormon when his books are so open minded and full of possibilities beyond what most people can imagine. My mom is a composer and recommended the book to me. I found it to be very accurate in the portrayal of an artistic person and the sensibility that goes with being musically inclined.

  • Wendy
    2019-02-12 17:20

    This book was weird, but I liked it overall. Orson created a futuristic world where on one of the planets the children become singers like no others. They can control people with their songs or even ruin them, but mostly they try to use them for good. In this book you follow the greatest songbird their world has ever known and the sad tale that is his life.