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Hart's Hope

3.44 of 5 stars 3.44  ·  rating details  ·  3,046 ratings  ·  155 reviews
A dark and powerful fantasy from the bestselling author of Ender's Shadow.

Enter the city of Hart's Hope, ruled by gods both powerful and indifferent, riddled with sorcery and revenge. The city was captured by a rebellious lord, Palicrovol, who overthrew the cruel king, Nasilee, hated by his people.

Palicrovol, too, was cruel, as befitted a king. He took the true mantle of k
Paperback, 300 pages
Published August 2nd 2003 by Orb Books (first published 1983)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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6.0 stars. One of my All time favorite novels. I am a big Orson Scott Card fan and this is my favorite book of his (Speaker for the Dead is second and Ender's Game is third). This is an emotionally devastating novel that will leave you thinking about it long after the book is done. Card himself calls this his best writing ever and I completely agree. It is a very "dark" fantasy so don't go into this looking for a "feel good" book. That said, this is an amazing piece of writing that I think gets ...more
This book defies description. It must be one of the most underrated books in its genre, because it is so great I can't understand why it's not more well-known. As may be apparent from my book list, I'm a big fan of fantasy, but I'm also extremely picky and can't abide the Xena Warrior Princess nonsense that is so abundant on fantasy shelves. Orson Scott Card is just shy of Tolkien greatness. I love that this book doesn't hold your hand. You have to immerse yourself in the language and live with ...more
Normally, I'm a big fan of Orson Scott Card. I find him an intelligent, imaginative writer and excellent at creating real, multi-faceted characters. I also love his common themes of family, parenting, and religion. And while Hart's Hope contains all of these, it is so crude, vulgar, and downright foul in so many places that I can't imagine who would actually like reading this book. It was obviously written by a young Card--not only is it not as well constructed as his later novels, it simply ree ...more
My least favorite of his books. It is his first stab at fantasy, and feels like it. The violence feels gratuitous. I had a hard time liking the characters.
Jun 10, 2009 Miriam rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: pedophiles
Shelves: fantasy, tenebris
If this book hadn't been so short I don't think I could have finished it, there were so many revolting scenes of cruelty, child molestation and perversion.
Orson Scott Card (OSC) needs little introduction for anyone that has ever read a menagerie of Sci-Fi. OSC is responsible for the "Enders Game" series which has won him both the Nebula and Hugo award and thus making him the only author to consecutively win both awards. Although I have never read the "Enders Game" series, I am familiar with it's celebrity and have a general idea of what it is about. He also is a life long Mormon, who has advocated loudly in favor of the church. It just so happens ...more
"if only we could stand outside our lives and look at what we do, we might repair so many injuiries before they're done."

When I was younger I considered this my favorite single OSC book (yes, even above Ender's Game). It's been many years since I've re-read it, and it wasn't quite able to hold on to that top position (yes, back to Ender's Game).

I described the book to someone else on goodreads as:

his most dark and yet most beautiful book.

I think that description still stands. It's certainly dar
Dan Post
I really need a negative star rating for this book. I consider the sex and violence gratuitous and I'm a Clive Barker fan. I know my review won't be much help but something about this book struck me as being so wrong that I felt compelled to put something down. I can't say for sure what triggered my repulsion but for me this book felt like wallowing in the lowest form of porn. No, I didn't finish it.
This is not indicitive of my reaction to all of Orson Scott Card's work. I'd read several other w
A good Card classic. Intricate, well thought out plot with strong well developed characters. A little graphic for my tastes...but hey.
Gerardo B.
Una jodida obra de arte, de inicio a fin.
Richard Kelly
Warning!!!! This book is dark! Ridiculously dark! It contains abuse, humiliation, degradation, torture, imprisonment, possession, rape, incest, and much more. But to emphasize my point, these things are not the reason it is so dark. It is the way these subjects are broached, described, and carried out that makes it so disturbing.

If the purpose of a novel is to allow the reader to experience things in life without having to have lived it, maybe Hart’s Hope is a magnificent piece. But, if the purp
Mike Copeland
Very intense, and it is a little bit of a tragedy. No one is completely good or completely bad, but there are clear lines of good/evil dilineation. The religious/cultural inter-play is facinating. The women have their own religion, and the men debate between two others, but often actually follow both. The whole story is wrapped up in lineage, in fertiltiy, in growth and power. Thus there is alot of sexual inuendo and actual action, but it is not superfluous. It plays into the relifious and essen ...more
What's all this fuss about "darkness"? Pay no mind, fantasy fans; there's nothing here worse than what you'll find in Goodkind or GRRM. There is, however, delicate prose that seems to hold great meaning. Reading the book almost feels like unrolling a tapestry (though that tapestry may hold centuries of torture, all bodily fluids, and immeasurable hate). Beauty and ugliness in all their forms are equally as common in Hart's Hope, strengthening the impact of each. Characters' motivations are explo ...more
Another fantastic early book by OSC.

Written in the form of a letter to a king on the verge of making a difficult decision, Hart's Hope is a dark fantasy which creates a world rich with religion, moral dilemmas, and some of the basest examples of human behavior. I also think that there's more to this morality tale than meets the eye. This book probably deserves a second reading to see if I can catch any more subtleties of meaning.

All that said, I can't give this 5 stars. Oh, I enjoyed it immense
Jul 18, 2007 Dan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People with strong stomachs . . .
When the author signed my copy, he wrote "For Dan: a tale of sweetness and light".

He didn't mean it.

This is possibly the darkest, bloodiest, most unrelentingly depressing fantasy I've ever read, and I love it. I've read it six times. This probably says something not very flattering about me, but there you are. It also is beautifully written, thoroughly realized, and haunting. I can't recommend it highly enough, provided you've got a taste for the disturbing.

Which I apparently do.
I feel very mixed about this book.

I liked some of the magic and a lot of the religious aspects of the book (the religions/worship that were present in the book, not that the book is preachy), but overall, a lot of the book felt a little over the top.

This is a very early foray for Card into fantasy, and it does feel like it. He has definitely refined his fantasy writing since this time. It's not a total waste, but I feel like a lot of potential was lost.
Matteo Pellegrini

questa è la storia di Palicrovol, il barone che divenne re spodestando il suo crudele sovrano Nasilee. è la storia di Sleeve il mago, cui venne affidata non solo la figlia dell'odiato monarca, Asineth, ma anche la creatura che questa portava in grembo. è la storia di come le forze del male aiutarono Asineth a diventare una Maga più potente di Sleeve grazie al sacrificio della figlia. è la storia della bellissima Maga Asineth che volle strappare il trono a Palicrovol e torturarlo con incubi orren

Orson Scott Card has written some of my favorite books of all time, so I am so grateful that I did not pick up this book before I had read most of his others. I even considered reading the whole thing, just because I like this author so much, but after the rape of the 12-year-old girl I just couldn't take anymore and decided it would be best to abandon this one.
I've had this on my shelf for years. As a fan of Ender's Game, I guess I wanted to read more from Orson Scott Card and picked it up. I think I had read it years ago and forgotten, and sadly I think that is what will happen yet again.

It's not a bad book, but it's not a particularly great one either. At first I didn't think I would finish, the characters and story just didn't mean enough to me, but then I rarely pick up a book and don't finish, so I stuck it out. As I did, I found that I came to
I didn't like this book. I tried to like it, but couldn't. Getting to know the characters was difficult, and then names started to change. I couldn't align with any of the characters. It was like a story of dark vs dark, evil vs evil. Nobody to cheer for. It was too erotic for my taste as well. Just not a good read in my opinion.
This book is very good. It is however, written rather oddly; more like a compilations of smaller stories than one whole story. It works well though and makes for an interesting read. Warning: the book is rather violent/dark in some parts; it also contains (not too in depth depiction of) rape.
It's been a long while since I've been fully swept up in a solid high fantasy. It's also been a while since I've read anything that can do horrifying and beautiful at the same time. I've missed the old style fantasy voice.
ok, I admit I didn't finish it... I really couldn't, I saw no reason why (although I did read the end), probably the violence was in fact the more 'realistic' side of it but it was too much for me.
Greg Paulson
Read it in the mid/early 2000s. Don't remember much except that I liked it, and that it was set in a the old pagan times.
Total crap and needlessly gory and violent. But if you like rape and baby-eating, then this is the book for you.
Lisa (Harmonybites)
I am a fan of Card's Ender series, but I couldn't warm to this book, an early effort and his first try at fantasy. It's just too gruesome. It has a fairy tale feel in its rather distant, stilted omniscient point of view, written more as a series of vignettes then a sustained narrative. When we think "fairy tale" thanks to Disney we often think of childish, sweet and romantic stuff, where there's a nice bright line between villains and heroes. Of course a lot of the original material isn't that w ...more
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in June 2003.

There is an immense number of ways that fantasy authors have used to depict magic. Usually, particularly in writers who are just re-using the standard accoutrements of the genre, it is basically an alternate way to perform actions, or a way to do the impossible. This reduces it to a narrative convenience, which is not in the end terribly interesting unless it makes it possible for the author to concentrate on other things. There are few novels wh
Mike Shultz
My quick summary is that--in my mind--this book started off at 3 stars, rose to 4, then fell back to 3. It started at 3 because it took 50+ pages until what I deemed the main character was introduced (to clarify, was born.) The entire book also uses some first-person narration directed at a a specific character ("you did this" etc.), which contributed to me feeling lost. I don't mind mysteries but it wasn't a mystery so much as obscurity. Also, every character at the beginning was vile and wretc ...more
This was the first classic fantasy novel I've read by Card, and it was pretty strange. It was a dark reminded me a bit of the movie Heat, where I really liked both the hero and the villain, and I was gonna be sad for whichever character lost. Almost the same deal here.

But the entire setting was dark, with the common folk offering blood sacrifices, different gods for men and women (with different agendas), lots of poverty and crime, lots of intrigue and back-stabbing, with literally
Mar 18, 2008 LeAnn rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Adult readers of fantasy
Hart's Hope is a traditional fantasy novel, replete with pseudo-mythology, map, and magic. In Orson Scott Card's hands, it also has a decent set of characters and, at least after the first 80 pages, a compelling storyline.

Not having read straight fantasy in years, I knew that it might take me personally some time to sort out the conventions and names. And as I expected, the first few pages challenged me, but Scott Card, whom I've read before, managed to capture my interest so that I continued.
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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 about Orson Scott Card...
Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet, #1) Speaker for the Dead (The Ender Quintet, #3) Ender's Shadow (Ender's Shadow, #1) Xenocide (The Ender Quintet, #4) Children of the Mind (The Ender Quintet, #5)

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