Monday, February 21, 2022

Review: Wakers by Orson Scott Card


by Orson Scott Card
Margaret K. McElderry Books
YA Science Fiction
400 pages


From the New York Times bestselling author of Enders Game comes a brand-new series following a teen who wakes up on an abandoned Earth to discover that he’s a clone!

Laz is a side-stepper: a teen with the incredible power to jump his consciousness to alternate versions of himself in parallel worlds. All his life, there was no mistake that a little side-stepping couldn’t fix.

Until Laz wakes up one day in a cloning facility on a seemingly abandoned Earth.

Laz finds himself surrounded by hundreds of other clones, all dead, and quickly realizes that he too must be a clone of his original self. Laz has no idea what happened to the world he remembers as vibrant and bustling only yesterday, and he struggles to survive in the barren wasteland he’s now trapped in. But the question that haunts him isn’t why was he created, but instead, who woke him up…and why?

There’s only a single bright spot in Laz’s new life: one other clone appears to still be alive, although she remains asleep. Deep down, Laz believes that this girl holds the key to the mysteries plaguing him, but if he wakes her up, she’ll be trapped in this hellscape with him.

This is one problem that Laz can’t just side-step his way out of.



Written with grabbing details and background, this is a dystopian read which more than hooks into an alternate world.

Laz can spring from one world to another to correct decisions or change them as he wants. He's used the shifts since he first understood what was happening and has warped those moments in his life he didn't like. But this time is different. He wakes up in a strange facility, lying in a type of capsule bed among rows of beds just like his. He finds he's still on Earth, but everyone has died long ago. He's alone and, somehow, must survive because while side-stepping still works to change the small things, it doesn't take him from the new reality.

To say that the author has done his research is an understatement. I think this one is even better laid out and support with real explanations than the author's other works, and that does make it a treat to read for fans of science. And it goes beyond that. Laz is caught up in a seemingly impossible situation with no real way out. He faces danger upon danger, makes unexpected discoveries, and rounds it all off with a tense and exciting end. 

I did enjoy the details and was surprised at how much thought went into the world and situation. So much of the world around Laz was very well laid and slid along the harshness only reality can offer. So, a huge thumbs up on this end. While this was all more than well based, there were still holes in the general plot and characters' awareness or decisions. I'm not going into specifics (no spoilers), but from the very first 'I'm a clone' decision to several other big moments, Laz seems to decide something is fact without any solid evidence to strongly support it. These felt like forced plot-tweaks and did bother me a bit.

Laz's character is very well done, and we also get to know the others as they trickle in with time. This does take awhile, since the first half or so of the read is about Laz settling, more or less, into the world. And this part did draw out, especially for those who aren't into science and survival details. I also never warmed up to his later 'friend', but she was well fleshed-out. The last third-or-so of the read is where the real action finally begins and leads to an intriguing twist with all of the tension a read like this needs.

This is a very well done read, which will especially grab the interest of time travel, alternate reality, and physic fans. For more relaxed readers, it may or may not be the right read.

And here he is...

Orson Scott Card is the author of numerous bestselling novels and the first writer to receive both the Hugo and Nebula awards two years in a row; first for Ender’s Game and then for the sequel, Speaker for the Dead. He lives with his wife and children in North Carolina.

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