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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)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  295 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Now available separately again, this classic science fiction novel -- Book One of the Children of the Star trilogy -- is enjoyed by readers age 12 and up as well as by older teens and adults who go on to read the other two books (Beyond the Tomorrow Mountains and The Doors of the Universe, also now available as ebooks). It was the winner of a Christopher Award, given for " ...more
Kindle Edition, 254 pages
Published September 8th 2008 by Ad Stellae Books (first published 1972)
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4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  295 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Mar 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 o
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
Jun 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, classic science fiction. When grandstanding philosophical discussions were the norm, and when the most one could hope for in terms of action was walking, talking, thinking, and the occasional bout of deadly violence. This one really took me back to my days of reading Andre Norton and even, in some ways, Ursula le Guin – while Engdahl doesn't match those writers, for me, there's much here to enjoy. Especially if you're into the more contemplative and the philosophical – Isaac Asimov's Foundat ...more
Jul 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Dusk Peterson
Jul 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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 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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 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.
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.
Feb 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally, an older scifi novel that's not hopelessly dated and masochistic. Reminds me a bit of Lois Lowry books.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another beloved bookstore closes, another treasure to add to my shelves for mere pennies – a sad happiness... This story, published in 1972, was a surprise. I enjoyed the unfolding, the philosophical perplexities that are unraveled when the goal of all seemingly distorted or false activities and ideas is the survival of an already greatly reduced human population. So many questions! Just at what point does continued open rebellion against the system end up merely feeding the shadow, the illusio
Tara Johnson
I probably would have given this two stars, but it stirred up some nostalgia from when I was a child reading the Tripod series or the Homecoming Saga . I think 8 year old me might have enjoyed this book. The writing style was very readable, but the main character was ridiculously dumb and the plot painfully predictable. As another reviewer pointed out, the author spent so much energy forcing her character to avoid coming to glaringly obvious conclusion, that the reader has to groan when “shock a ...more
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pleasingly short sci-fi novel which raises the issue of whether religious belief may be, on occasion, a necessary evil.
Pat Olver
Apr 10, 2015 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 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
Karen Allen
Apr 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, completed
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 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Gabriel C.
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
Jan 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Katherine Youngblood
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.
Apr 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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).
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Sylvia Engdahl is the author of ten science fiction novels, six of which, including the Newbery Honor book Enchantress from the Stars, are YA books also enjoyed by many adults. Although she is best known as an author for Young Adults, her 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 t ...more

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)
“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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