Songmaster
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Songmaster

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  5,143 ratings  ·  222 reviews
Kidnapped at an early age, Ansset has been raised in isolation at a mystical retreat called the Songhouse. His life is filled with music, and having only songs for companions, he develops a voice that is unlike any other. But Ansset's voice is both a blessing and a curse?for it reflects all the hopes and fears of his audience, and, by magnifying their emotions, can be used...more
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Published November 1st 2006 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published 1980)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Emma
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 b...more
Monica!
The reviews I’m reading about this book seem to fall into two categories.

1: The reviewer says, “So I went into Songmaster knowing that Card was a homophobic jackass, and I have not changed my opinion. What a jerk. Way to suggest that homosexuals are pedophiles. I hate you, author. I hate you with the fire of a thousand suns.”

2: The reviewer says, “My GOD, I have never been so horrified in my LIFE! There were GAYS in this book! GAYS AND PEDOPHILES!! Orson Scott Card why are you promoting Homose...more
Clarence
Mar 15, 2008 Clarence rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Romantics
Shelves: favorites
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 fictio...more
Rachel
Dec 30, 2008 Rachel rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in OSC, queer stuff, or OSC+queer stuff
Recommended to Rachel by: Leah
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...more
Ryan
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...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
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 kind...more
Jason
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...more
Cmadler
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 Treason

Of all Card's characters, Anssett is surely most similar to Lanik Mueller. Both Anssett and Lanik were raised in privilege, with the expectation of...more
Synesthesia
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
sologdin
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 scho...more
Jamie
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 theme...more
Nancy
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 burde...more
Seregil
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 becau...more
Ryan
Apr 10, 2007 Ryan rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: singers who like sci-fi/fantasy
Since this was one of Orson 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 f...more
Tonchi
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 de...more
Denae
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...more
Matthew
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 t...more
Seth
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 very skewed perceptions of what living and interacting with other people means. There are...more
Lana
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 int...more
Sessily
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...more
Rícar Blasco martín
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 Wil...more
Allisyn
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 e...more
Joshua Mitchell
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, le...more
Jon Devos
Feb 21, 2014 Jon Devos rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jon by: sister
Amazing, this book has 6508 reviews. Obviously it creates opinions! That being said I am sure this review, being like the 6509th, is an exercise of self-catharsis.
To begin with I am here because for the last two weeks I was trying to remember what this book was after describing to my daughter this story I had read once. As this fact and the number of reviews attest, love it or hate it, Songmaster is a powerful story.
Apparently it is very controversial, controversial mainly because of the autho...more
Zoe Zuniga
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.
Dallas Funk
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.
Keara Christine
January 31- I initially chose this book because of the majesty that is Ender's Game. I had also heard that this book involved a homosexual character and I'm interested in LGBT+ representation in literature, plus I knew that Orson Scott Card was a raging homophobe and I wanted to know how he would treat the subject of homosexuality. So far (page 115) I cannot see how Card can treat the subject poorly. In Ender's Game, the MC was so kind and understanding of others that it's hard for me to believe...more
Katherine
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.
Stephannestacey Stacey
OSC has amazed me again. What an incredible story teller. Such a beautiful way to express one's emotions, experiences, life, death, love, hate, pain, or whatever through song. I know, I know.... this is not original, but I tell you they way Card tells the story is so perfect that you wish you could hear the songbirds. You crave to hear Annset's songs. Yearn to feel what the others were feeling when he sang.

Now for what pains me to say.. If you have any problems with monstrous deception, killing...more
Wendy
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.
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Orson Scott Card is the author of the novels Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, and Speaker for the Dead, which are widely read by adults and younger readers, and are increasingly used in schools.
Besides these and other science fiction novels, Card writes contemporary fantasy (Magic Street, Enchantment, Lost Boys), biblical novels (Stone Tables, Rachel and Leah), the American frontier fantasy series Th...more
More about Orson Scott Card...
Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet, #1) Speaker for the Dead (The Ender Quintet, #2) Ender's Shadow (Ender's Shadow, #1) Xenocide (The Ender Quintet, #3) Children of the Mind (The Ender Quintet, #4)

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“I will never hurt you.
I will always help you.
If you are hungry
Ill give you my food.
If you are frightened
I am your friend.
I love you now.
And love does not end.”
97 likes
“all living things are manipulated as long as there is a will, it is bent and twisted constantly. Only the dead are allowed the luxury of freedom, and then only because they want nothing, and therefore can't be thwarted.” 4 likes
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