Hart’s Hope by Orson Scott Card

In typical Orson Scott Card fashion, Hart’s Hope does not disappoint. One of the things I love about Card is that each one of his books are entirely different, yet they are instantly identifiable as a book that he authored. What’s even better is that he always exceeds my expectations. I could build up a book of his in my head for five years, and it would still be better than I could ever imagine. The man is magical with a pen (or a computer) and with Hart’s Hope, he has written a truly magical tale.

Orson Scott Card has described Hart’s Hope as the most classic fantasy novel he has written, meaning that the book holds all the elements of a traditional fantasy. It takes place during an unstated time, yet seems medieval in fashion. It involves magic, sorcerers, kingdoms lost, kingdoms fought for, kingdoms saved, vengeance, kings and queens. It’s quite the epic novel wrapped up into a little under 300 pages.

Hart’s Hope is the story of Orem, the unknown son of the king, Palicroval. Palicroval has killed the current king and taken the king’s daughter as his wife. The king’s daughter then decides to take vengeance on Palicroval and becomes “Queen Beauty” through a truly horrifying ritual of blood and sorcery. Queen Beauty in turn has put the king, Palicroval under a horrible spell and is able to see his every move. The Hart is a stag of 100 horns, a god of power. The Hart leads Palicroval to a woman who fathers Palicroval’s son, though Palicroval is unaware of it. The child is named Orem and has powers that are unknown to anyone, even to himself. All of these storylines interweave into a very complex but surprisingly easy to understand plot of revenge that takes us on a truly magical, wondrous, and at times horrifyingly graphic, yet beautiful story.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve never been disappointed with Card. I’ve read nearly his whole library and find it very hard to rank books of his in order of which I like best, though I must admit that my favorite book of his is still Speaker For The Dead, the sequel to Ender’s Game. The great thing about Card’s novels is the love we feel for his characters. He has a gift of bringing a touch of humanity to all of his characters. I care about his characters like no other author’s. Hart’s Hope was no exception.

I enjoyed this one very much and would recommend it to any fans of fantasy. And for those that aren’t crazy about that genre, you may still like this book. The writing and the story itself stand alone without being classified into a genre. Beautiful book!


11 Responses

  1. Great review! I’m adding this to my read-it-soon list! Interesting tidbit: Card grew up in Orem, Utah. It’s a nice name for his character.

  2. Ah! And I thought I knew everything about the man ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the trivia, I’m always looking for new facts. I think you’ll enjoy this one. It’s great!

  3. Sounds like versions of Greek myths in a medieval setting. I’m going to add it to my list, along with a re-read of Ender’s Game!

  4. You have a knack for making every book you enjoy sound unbearably wonderful, Chris! I’ll have to look for this one. I’ve only read those first two from the Ender series and I liked Ender’s Game better than Speaker for the Dead, but I so agree about the detail and the humanity of the characters. Even after several years, Ender has stuck with me.

  5. Jenclair, It does have quite a few references to Greek Myths. I think you’d really like this one. And Ender’s Game is always a great re-read ๐Ÿ™‚

    Bookfool, Thanks so much ๐Ÿ™‚ If I don’t like a book, I can also make it sound unbearably miserable :p, just hasn’t happened yet this year. Speaker for the Dead was very different from Ender’s Game. He started to go in more of a philosophical direction with that one and the next two in the series (Xenocide and Children of the Mind) are even more so. I loved them all! Ender’s one of those characters that just sticks with everyone ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I’m so glad to hear you liked Hart’s Hope. It’s one I want to read. I’ve read several of Card’s and liked them.

  7. Booklogged, I hope you enjoy this one! If you liked other Card books, you’ll like this one. It’s one of his older books so the style of writing is more similar to Ender’s Game.

  8. I read a Card book years ago that I didn’t care for. Can’t even remember the name. This year I read “Enchantment” and thoroughly enjoyed it. Your review makes “Hart’s Hope” very appealing to me. I picked up on the name and wondered if it had ties to Orem, Utah. I’m adding this to my list along with “Ender’s Game.”

  9. Great Framed! I loved Enchantment. One of my favorites of his. Ender’s Game is great. I love that whole series. It’s sequel, Speaker for the Dead, is my favorite book of Card’s.

  10. Very good review! I haven’t read anything by Orscon Scott Card yet, but I’ll be reading “Enchantment” for the challenge.

  11. Great Nymeth! I love Enchantment, one of my favs of his.

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