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This Star Shall Abide (Children of the Star, #1)
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This Star Shall Abide (Children of the Star #1)

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  240 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
Now back in print, the award-winning first book of the Children of the Star trilogy. Noren knew that his world was not as it should be -- it was wrong that only the Scholars, and their representatives the Technicians, could use metal tools and Machines. It was wrong that only they had access to the mysterious City, which he had always longed to enter. Above all, it was wro ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published 1979 by Aladdin Books (first published 1972)
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This book affected me very, very strongly as a young teenager. The themes in the book of expected blind belief, and striving for truth in spite of the (perceived) consequences struck deep into the core of me.

Noren's quest for the truth of *why* his society is set up how it is still moves me despite the fact I already know the end as I have read the book before.

Noren perceives that something is wrong in the rigid, non-evolving society that he's grown up in. Why are machines sacred, and who are t
Mar 12, 2010 Josiah rated it really liked it
I am utterly amazed by this book. I would definitely push the rating to four and a half stars.

Sylvia Louise Engdahl is one of the finest masters of science fiction writing whom I have ever come across, and This Star Shall Abide is a work of dizzying significance, questions of strikingly profound ethos and its connection to ultimate truth protruding far beyond whatever borders would have governed the reader's thoughts before picking up the book. This is a novel that extends past the parameters
Jun 27, 2008 Michele rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who likes books that make them think
I read this back in junior high school (we won't say how many years ago) and still go back and re-read it on a regular basis. The story itself is excellent in terms of plot, character, pacing, etc, but it's the philosophical and ethical questions -- both personal and social/political -- that bring me back repeatedly. All of Engdahl's books have these elements, but this one seems to crystallize them in a way that's both readable and thought-provoking. How can a system built on unquestioning obedi ...more
Apr 02, 2011 Mitchell rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Sylvia Engdahl is known primarily for her YA book Enchantress from the Stars for which she received a Newberry Honor. She is known less for the Far Side of Evil a better and much darker not quite YA sequel. This Star Shall Abide is better than both and apparently quite lesser known.

The edition I read it is paperback bound with it's two sequels. I got it from the local library for which they had exactly one copy and I waited months for it. And yet it was pretty obvious by the condition of the boo
Craig Fisher
Oct 10, 2014 Craig Fisher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am delighted to have discovered this book again. I read it in Primary School, grade six or seven, and expected it to be in my High School Library. It wasn't. I have been searching for it for thirty years. The main problem being that I misremembered the name, "Heritage of the Star" as "The Heretic Star."

A wonderful book, including a powerful, well realised world setting and a main character with whom I truly identified. I am off to Amazon to buy a copy. The two sequels I was not aware of and th
J.L. Langland
May 14, 2014 J.L. Langland rated it it was amazing
Ok, this book and the two that follow are the reason that I have avoided libraries since sometime near the end of High School, when I had money to buy books.

In Junior High, and continuing into High School to feed the reading habit that my wallet couldn't satiate at a bookstore using my lunch money...I read hundreds of books from both the public library and school libraries.

I read these particular books several times from my local public libraries and loved them during 5th and 6th grade and some
I read this book as a teenager and at the time it totally blew me away. I never forgot the storyline, but I did forget the name of the author and the title. I'm glad to say I have tracked these down thanks to the group "What's the Name of That Book" and can now add it to my shelf.
Jul 15, 2014 Cliff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm floored by Sylvia Engdahl once again. This Star Shall Abide does a stellar job of telling a tale that is both psychologically intriguing and thought-provoking. This book falls into the same category (and feels remarkably similar) as the better known book The Giver by Lois Lawry. In fact, I think that may be exactly the reasoning Lawry wrote the introduction to the re-release of Engdahl's Enchantress From the Stars. But where Lois Lawry's tale devolves into what I can only describe as a non-r ...more
The first time I read this book, I felt, when I had got to the end, the need to go back and read it again, to see if I could trace the clues I missed in the first reading.

I would recommend to another first-time reader to go much more carefully the FIRST time. Note, for example, the fact that rain always falls at the same time of day.

I haven't, unfortunately, got a good copy of this to review fully. I keep looking out for one, but no luck so far.

But I should say that, on reflection, it's about mu
Dusk Peterson
Jul 23, 2010 Dusk Peterson rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Young adults and adults; readers of science fiction and fantasy.
Volume 1 of the Children of the Star trilogy. Growing up on a planet with a Stone Age culture, Noren vows to battle against the Scholars, high priests who control all knowledge and machines and who are rumored to subdue heretics through torture. But Noren soon learns that the road to heresy has unexpected curves.

Though the literary style can be prosaic at times, this novel and the two novels that follow it have so much that I enjoy in a story: friendship, romance, mentoring, rebellion, imprisonm
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by AdrienneBe for

The future is never written in stone, or so the saying goes. The sands of time may fall, but what stops someone from building a dam?

In the future, knowledge, and therefore thought, is totally controlled. Noren is one of the few who decides that thought and knowledge are important, and that everyone should be able to exhibit both freely. He knows the difference from what is right and completely unfair, even when his world tells him differently.

The only p
Oct 16, 2012 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Susan Henn
Jun 11, 2011 Susan Henn rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
6/2011 Written in 1972, this book still resonates with readers today. It won the Christopher Award – given for “affirmation of the highest values of the human spirit”. I kept finding the title on readers’ lists of most influential books and decided to read it. The question presented in the book is – Would there ever be a justifiable reason for a truth honoring, equalitarian society to withhold the truth from the masses and purposefully create a caste system? The book would lend itself to great d ...more
Lindley Walter-smith
This hasn't really stood up to the test of time. The writing is heavy on narrative summary, constant reiteration of the main phiosophical points, and characters standing around telling each other what they already know. And it reads uncomfortably like a justification of fascism. The stars I've given it are for the fascinating setting and concept.
Dec 19, 2007 Sylvia marked it as written  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Teenage readers and adults
This is Book 1 of my Children of the Star trilogy. Unlike Books 2 and 3, it is available in paperback separately as well as in the omnibus. The cover of the current edition, but not the book itself, was changed in July 2015.
Feb 28, 2014 Lauren rated it really liked it
Finally, an older scifi novel that's not hopelessly dated and masochistic. Reminds me a bit of Lois Lowry books.
Pat Olver
Apr 10, 2015 Pat Olver rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This dystopian YA novel was published in the early 1970s, which shows that no storyline is as new as we think it is. From our 20/20 hindsight view, the adolescent Noren rebelling against his family and village/clan to live and think independently seems like a well-worn pattern, but Engdahl was one of the pioneers of this type of fiction and deserves all credit for it.
Engdahl's book has some beautiful mobius-like twists in its plotline that leave even the modern reader unsure what will happen ne
Dec 10, 2014 Yve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sff, 1970s, 20th-century
Sylvia Engdahl is very skilled at representing the subtleties of belief: from the consequences of commitment without full knowledge, the dangers of extremism in any direction, to the complex moral struggles lying behind what might seem a simple system. This Star Shall Abide reminded me of her other novel The Far Side of Evil in that it really wasn’t character-driven, instead the plot moved forward and people were defined by their ideas. As a result, the dialogue sometimes tended toward the dense ...more
Apr 04, 2013 Karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
I picked this book up because I loved the cover(I know...I know...don't judge a book...etc.) and I'm glad I did.

Basic story: A race of humans, whose sun is going nova, moves a group of scientist to another planet. The planet is not ideal and many dangers await the new arrivals.

I think this is written as a young adult book, there's little violence or sex and it's not needed anyway. The characters are fairly predictable...there's a young hero, his girl and a mentor that takes our hero under his
Apr 24, 2011 Jenn rated it liked it
Thanks to the novel _Among Others_,I've started a campaign to read early sci-fi - the novel mentions approx. 9 billion 1970s sci-fi books, none of which I've read. _This Star Shall Abide_ is my first attempt at reading early sci-fi, and if others on the list are as good as it, I am in for an enjoyable ride.

The writing is a bit sparse and Engdahl does a bit more telling than showing, but overall, I really liked this book. It's a bit heavy-handing in the moral of not accepting everything you're to
Piotr Reysner
I can't do it. I just can't. I tried to like this book. I really did. I've tag internal books by Engdahl and loved them. But the writing was just awful. It was beyond repetitive. Yes yes, I get it, knowledge should be shared. But do you have to proclaim it on nearly every page?

And for the love of all things holy, stop with the exclamation points! Seriously, they were everywhere. And they were usually completely unnecessary. Do you have any idea how an exclamation point can affect the internal r
Jan 19, 2012 Steph rated it it was amazing
Shelves: formative
I recently told my mother that I thought it was odd she recommended this book to me when I was younger, since she's a devout Christian and would have preferred strongly that I remain one myself. She said "Well, I didn't think it would it would matter, because our God is real."

Anyway, it's a great scifi/fantasy book about a young man's journey from the beginnings of doubt, to heresy, to the truths that lay beyond, and the sacrifices he had to make along the way. "Young Adult" category so it's a v
Gabriel C.
Oct 02, 2012 Gabriel C. rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi, among-others, 2012
For a book about questioning what you are told, the book is pretty dogmatic in its conviction that there's only one way to solve a problem. It was clearly written at a time when the future was a Jetsons future, when progress was a slow perfection and there was no room for improvement of old ways without advanced technology. I don't believe that and neither should any of these people.

Extremely male-dominated. For whatever reason, this reads much more problematic for me here than it did in the Ne
Apr 24, 2013 Priti rated it really liked it
I read this book in junior high, and it was highly influential to me... it is about a world in which non-believers are sent away to recant and be punished. But then, all is not what it seems. I loved it as a kid, and more recently read the book again along with the other two books in the trilogy (which I did not have as a kid) and I still loved the first book, and the other two were just good (and perhaps a bit disappointing in the end).
Feb 22, 2010 Raj rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, childrens
Only the Scholars live in the City and have access to Machines and Power. Noren believed that their knowledge should be available to all, and sets out to disprove the Prophecy that has the people in thrall.

I enjoyed this children's adventure story. It's a coming of age tale with a well-sketched protagonist and enough depth to hold your attention. There's a little bit of dubious astronomy but we can probably let that slide.
Katherine Youngblood
Nov 08, 2013 Katherine Youngblood rated it liked it
Shelves: to-read-scifi
The foundation for the reason why the caste system was set up in this book, I have a problem with b/c I don't believe it would play out that way. I can't say anything beyond that without giving spoilers. However, this book was a cerebral sci-fi. There is more contemplation and discussion about the role of religion and government in our world (present and future) than there is actual "science fiction". For those of you that like Vonnegut or Heinlein, this is a great book.
Jul 28, 2016 Natlyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This turns out to have been a reread. At first I thought maybe I had read similar books, but about two-thirds in there was a sentence that I remembered because it had struck me as an excellent way to indicate how different from Earth the world was.

I gave it four stars because that's probably what it would have been when I first read it decades ago.
Jackson Beck
Feb 09, 2011 Jackson Beck rated it it was amazing
This book teaches us to challenge what seems wrong, even when everybody else seems to think it's right. In addition, it illustrates the importance of demanding knowledge and always wanting to be informed. It's hard to say much more about these themes without giving the plot away. I will say that it's unlike any book I've read and very thought-provoking.
Jan 03, 2013 Chris rated it really liked it
Very interesting, if talky, exploration of a seemingly tyrannical world ruled by religion. It does an excellent job of setting up the society only to turn everything you thought about it on its head. Well worth the read.
May 19, 2011 Tavie rated it liked it
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Although she is best known as an author for Young Adults, Sylvia Engdahl's most recent novels, the Hidden Flame duology (Stewards of the Flame and Promise of the Flame) and the Rising Flame duology (Defender of the Flame and Herald of the Flame) are not YA books and are not appropriate for middle-school readers. These two duologies are quite different from each other and some readers prefer the se ...more
More about Sylvia Engdahl...

Other Books in the Series

Children of the Star (3 books)
  • Beyond the Tomorrow Mountains (Children of the Star, #2)
  • The Doors of the Universe (Children of the Star, #3)

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“Wherever he went he would be a stranger, for there was no home in the world for such as he.” 3 likes
“But as long as he kept on caring, nothing could touch the freedom of his inner thoughts.” 2 likes
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