Cover Image: Wakers


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Orion Scott Card does it again. In Walkers we follow the choices of Laz and Ivy as they try to find a time stream where the world is not going to be destroyed by a cataclysmic event. Luckily Laz and Ivy have the ability to work together to step into other timestreams where other choices were made. The story takes a side step when the characters find out they are clones brought into life to save the world again. Racing against time Laz and Ivy have to learn to trust each other and work together to save humanity.
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Stars: 2 out of 5.

DNF at 70%, so you darn right I'm leaving a review for this, since I put so much effort into this book!

I am very disappointed. I loved The Ender's Game by the same author so I had high hope for this story as well. 

And the beginning was pretty good actually: intriguing and suspenseful. I was along for the ride with Laz, and even his constant monologue and the tendency to over-analyze every little thing to death wasn't all that annoying at first. He was looking for answers, after all, and we, as the reader were looking for them with him. Yes, the pacing was rather slow, but I was willing to forgive that as long as I got the answers I was looking for in the end.

Then Laz finally wakes up Ivy... and things took a nosedive from there. 

First of all, the pace, which was already slow, became glacial. I mean the story progression grinded to a halt to be replaced by pages and pages of mindless and mind-numbing dialogue between two obnoxious teenagers. It was pointless. It wasn't interesting. It didn't bring ANYTHING useful to the story. It made my eyes roll back in my head and make me want to take a nap every time I opened the book. 

It's an endless stream of verbal vomit between two people who I found more and more unlikeable the further in the book I got. Because most of the book is written in these horrible dialogues, the author does a lot of telling, but almost no showing. The characters debate scientific theories, explain to each other things that should be self-evident for them just so the reader can catch up with the science here. Problem is, the reader has checked out ten pages ago. 

I got no sense of the world, because the descriptions are almost non-existent. It's all just Laz made a snide remark, Ivy retorted with something the author meant to sound smart, but just made her sound like a spoiled brat, Laz retaliated in the same fashion, blah, blah, blah.... twenty pages later we still haven't learned anything new and the story hasn't progressed an inch. Heck, I don't even know what the dogs in the pack of four look like because mighty Laz didn't care enough about it to talk about it.

I understand that this is a YA book, but I still didn't particularly appreciate how all adults are described as complete idiots. Seriously, Laz and Ivy have this "better then everyone else" attitude to them when they talk to anybody else that would never have worked in the real world. You might be smart and possess a unique ability, but you are still a teenager, no you are a clone with fake memories, so if you talk to me this way, you will get smacked. I think that's my biggest pet peeve with the author's approach - you CAN create smart and resourceful teenagers without making them disrespectful at the same time. 

It made me hate the main characters more and more, and by the end I didn't care about them or finding the answers to the big questions enough to read through the last 30% of obnoxious dialogue.

I will not continue with the series. I will definitely not recommend this book. And if this is the author's new style of writing, I doubt I will try any of his newer book going forward. I'd rather re-read the Ender's Game.

PS: I received a free copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Wakers was a super interesting read. I liked Laz right away, but even still, it took me a little while to be especially invested in the story. I found it interesting, and I wanted the answers to Laz's questions as much as he did, but it wasn't until other humans began to enter the story that I got truly sucked in. Once Laz and Ivy were together, I finished the book in about a day. I found the overall story very compelling, and thought there were plenty of clues to suggest the answers to the "unsolved mysteries" left at the end of the book. Overall, I found it to be a very compelling read!

I was provided a copy of this book via NetGalley. My review is my own.
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I was really excited about reviewing this title. It is a science fiction novel with a good premise. The thing is, I had a difficult time getting through the narrative. I struggled through the first chapter. It felt so much like I Am Legend, featuring someone who appears to be the last person on earth. In this case, the last person is a teenager who wakes up in what seems like a coffin. He's all alone and has to survive on his own. The other cool part is that this young man can jump from different dimensions/timelines - so he can basically go to different versions of himself. It's like of like the multiverse where someone can jump to another reality. That's what Laz does. When he comes upon an obstacle, he can visit other timelines and see if he can find a solution or a better version of reality. See, great idea. The narrative is so clunky for me that I had a really hard time wading through it. The author feels like he's switching from First Person narrative to Third Person, even on the same page. It was difficult for me to get through it, but people with better focus might have better luck.
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I never really know what to think when I dive into a new Orson Scott Card and this was no different. 
It held the same amount of wtf is happening but also did a great job of giving tons of hints to help you figure it out. I look forward to figuring out the full mystery.
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*Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC. All opinions expressed are my own.*

 Because he was a teenager, and teenagers take pleasure in exploring wacky ideas, Laz Hayerian had wondered since the sixth grade whether we are the same person when we wake up that we were when we went to sleep.
-first line

The idea of a person who can sidestep into different time streams intrigued me and had amazing potential, but the book just didn’t live up to my expectations.
When Laz wakes up in a cloning facility alone, he explores the empty town. He wonders where all the people are and what exactly happened. As he tries to figure things out, he moves to a different time stream whenever something bad happens. Eventually, he finds another clone, wakes her up, and then they work together. When they finally find out why they were cloned and what is expected of them, it becomes an almost entirely new story.

The beginning of the book is a bit slow but still fascinating. Laz reflects on how he has always been able to sidestep his way out of trouble - get lost, sidestep into a time stream where you went another direction, get a bad grade, sidestep to one where you got an A, get into trouble, sidestep to one where you made different choices or didn’t get caught.

It took me forever to get through this book, because while the premise is compelling, the storytelling is a bit clumsy, and the dialogue is awful. The back and forth between Laz and Ivy is irritating, to say the least. I like Laz’s sarcastic nature and while Ivy can be a bit prickly, I didn’t mind her character either. The problem was that anytime they had a conversation, I wanted to throw the book across the room.
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Orson Scott Card is the author of my favorite book series: the Enderverse. I was really excited to read something new by him, so I read "Wakers" right away. While this isn't my favorite of his works, "Wakers" has an interesting premise. I believe if I hadn't ever read another Orson Scott Card book, I would have had a slightly different outlook. Where the average YA reader would tap out is the lengthy explanations. YA sci-fi fans would hang in there. So give this to your hardcore sci-fi readers. They'll love the fact that the book treats the reader as intelligent, the new world created, and the constant action.
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2 stars. This book was really not my thing. Surprisingly, I’ve never read Orson Scott Card before, so I’m not sure if it’s his writing style or just this book in particular, but I didn’t like the POV shifts or the way the story was told at all. 

For one, there was NO emotion. The characters never revealed how they felt about anyone or anything except through dialogue. We don’t see these relationships form but are instead TOLD about them. It felt very hollow. I also never came to understand how the timestreams worked, although it was overexplained quite a bit. I was bored and frustrated by this novel, not least because I didn’t find one of the main characters likable or interesting or even particularly a good protagonist as a whole.
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To preface, I haven't read any other work by this author. When I requested Wakers, I did so solely on the synopsis. It's been so long since I've read a good Dystopian survival story. The Scifi elements made it sound even better. I epsecially love clone stories. I don't really like time-travel, at least in books, because it can get over-complicated. And so is the case here. Although, it's more of a parallel universe than real time-travel in Wakers. Laz can 'side-step' into a different reality for literally any reason. And mostly it was stupid stuff like feeling awkward or making small decisions he doesn't like like putting on the wrong shirt. To me personally, that's annoying and not great storytelling. And by the time Laz finds another  'survivor', I just didn't care anymore. And, again, I have no idea how this compares to any of the author's earlier work, but at the moment, I'm not in a rush to pick anything else up. The closest things I would compare it to is Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson meets the Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence movie, Passengers. I'm sure this book will be greatly received by many. I just wasn't a big fan. 

Thank you for the opportunity to review Wakers.
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This was a great, page turning book. I really like the storyline and characters. Plan on buying a physical copy.
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I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinions.

Wakers is the equivalent of mental Twister—a mind puzzle.

I love this type of read where I end up thinking and pondering the story.
For me, I saw themes of humanity, loneliness, environment, and survival.

Laz wakes up in a cloning factory. He's working on basic survival and talks to himself, and eventually some dogs. What do you do when no one else is around? The other clones were dead. Except one other clone seems to be alive.

I was left with a few questions on how long it takes for some items to deteriorate like canned food, plastic, and other necessities. Does the same substance vary? I don't know, but I'll leave that question to you scientists out there.

I couldn't quit reading! The characters were fascinating. The big picture left me wanting to know more. I cannot spoil this for you, so let's just say, it was well worth my time. I highly recommend this book!
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I’m always ready to read something by Orson Scott Card. This book, however, was not one of his more gripping ones. Aimed at ages 14 and up, it features a teenaged protagonist trying to solve problems that impact all of humanity. A teenaged protagonist, though, does not guarantee a good teenaged read. This book hangs with Card works such as Xenocide and Children of the Mind. It is much more philosophy focused than action focused. Pondering the workings of alternate universe theory can be headache-inducing at the best of times. Had this had the pacing of Ender’s Game or the Bean books, it might have been a different story.

I find it curious that Card has no mention of this book anywhere on his Hatrack River website. It’s almost as if…he doesn’t want us to know about it?

The first third of the book has Laz alone, attempting to survive as possibly the last man on earth, so there’s not much dialogue. Once Ivy is awakened, there’s much more to see and do, of course, and the pace does pick up a bit. Their quest to solve the problems presented to them, despite withheld information and questionable motivations, is interesting, although not gripping. And of course, there’s no resolution, since this is the first of a planned trilogy.

Possible Objectionable Material:
Dicussion of bodily functions. References to sex, nonspecific and definitely not graphic. Some kissing. Some animals are hurt. Hunger, loneliness. Taking items from stores in an abandoned city.

Who Might Like This Book:
Fans of the conundrums of alternate universes, those who like apocalyptic fictions. Those who like stories with difficult friendships.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an ARC in exchange for my thoughts.

This book is also reviewed at
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Wakers by Orson Scott Card is a young adult science fiction fantasy novel. Wakers is listed as the first book in the The Side-Step Trilogy although this first book read as if it could of been a standalone story.

When he was younger Laz discovered that he had the ability to side-step. Laz could jump his own consciousness to alternate versions of himself in parallel worlds. This ability came in quite handy to Laz fixing mistakes he made in his life by finding a reality with the outcome that he wanted to happen instead of the choices that could have bad consequences in his life.

One day Laz wakes up in a strange box not knowing what or how he got there. Laz discovers that while he feels like himself he is in a cloning facility so Laz is actually a clone of his former self. To make matters even worse Laz finds that the town he woke up in is abandoned and has no idea what happened to the world around him.

First, I will admit I was a little leary picking up Wakers by Orson Scott Card due to reading quite a few books with alternate realities and finding them usually confusing. Finding one by such a well known and loved author though I couldn’t resist checking out Wakers and I’m glad I did. The beginning is a tad slow but I still found myself engaged and wondering more and more what would happen and by the time the story takes off I was hooked. Definitely a fun read and I would certainly return to the series.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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Wakers by Orson Scott Card, 400 pages. Margaret K. McElderry Books (Simon & Schuster), 2022. $20.
Language: PG13 (22 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: PG13; Violence: PG
Laz (17yo) wakes up alone in a box in a lab. Getting out of his box shows that there are other boxes with people in them, but they’re dead. Leaving the lab only raises more questions when Laz discovers that he’s the only living person in the city and that there isn’t any writing anywhere – no books, no magazines, no ads, no trash. Is this all a coincidence, or is someone putting Laz through this on purpose?
Orson Scott Card has done it again – need I say more? Somehow, Card is able to strike a balance between complicated plots and scifi imaginings without overwhelming his readers. While I can’t honestly say that everything made sense and none of the theorizing went over my head, the questions that I have compelled me to keep reading to figure out the answers. I have enough questions left for a sequel to be a welcome continuation, but the ending of Wakers is also conclusive enough to be satisfying and let me ponder my remaining questions on my own. The mature content rating is for nudity and innuendo; the violence rating is for descriptions of corpses.
Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen
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Thank you to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for providing this ARC.

DNF 20%

The premise is interesting and the is certainly some potential for world-building, mystery, and ethics, but it is unfortunately bogged down by an unlikable main character. Having an unlikable protagonist isn't necessarily a bad thing, but for the first fifth of this book, and potentially longer, he is the only character. It is also difficult to build any kind of meaningful tension in a book when the main character is blessed with godlike power. 

Such a disappointment from Orson Scott Card.
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WAKERS by Orson Scott Card is the first book in the new Side-Step trilogy set in multiverses. As a clone in an alternative universe, Laz struggles to survive in a barren world with a pack of dogs and a sleeping companion. He must solve the mystery of his existence and figure out how to move among parallel worlds. Fans of Card will enjoy the new universe and novice readers will be quickly drawn into his intriguing world-building. Adults and teens alike will enjoy the fascinating premise, compelling characters, and deep science.
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After reading Ender's Game, I was super excited to receive a Netgalley review copy of this book. Laz wakes up in an unfamiliar place, and quickly realizes that he is alone and something bad has happened in the city and maybe the entire planet. With no one around to give him information, and no books, papers, or internet, he struggles to survive and learn all he can about what has happened. Eventually, he figures out that he is a clone. I love stories involving cloning, so I was hooked from the beginning. He later finds one other clone who is alive, but she has not woken up yet. Through the first part of the book, you find out that Laz has the ability to "side-step" into other time streams. Insert groan here. I'm not a huge fan of time travel science fiction, but I kept reading because I wanted to see how Laz, and maybe the female clone he found, were going to survive and if they would figure out why they were cloned and left in an empty city.

Ivy, the female clone, wakes up and they start to unravel the mystery. Basically, the survival of the human species is in danger, and it's up to Laz and Ivy to find a portal to a different time stream where the planet is not in danger of annihilation. I enjoyed some of the banter between Laz and Ivy.

I did not enjoy the last half of the book, however, because it focused a lot more on the details of side-stepping into the different time streams. Laz and Ivy have to experiment to learn how to navigate the time streams. There are some other characters, lots of secrets, and a few questions that don't get answered by the end of the book.

Don't get me wrong. If you like stories that involve parallel worlds and time travel, you will probably enjoy this book more than I did! The story is great, it's just not my favorite kind of reading. I am still a Orson Scott Card fan!
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Clones, parallel worlds, and a teen with the ability to “side-step” into those worlds. I was eager to see what this author did with the concept.

After Laz wakes up surrounded by hundreds of dead clones, his loneliness is palpable. Although he remembers living in California, he finds himself in Greensboro, NC and seems to be the only human around. A pack of four dogs he comes across are his only friends until he discovers one other clone who survived. Once she wakes, their primary goals are one, to survive, and two, figure out why they were cloned.

The first part of this novel fascinated me, and I marveled at side-stepping and everything it entails. Laz can step into another version of himself in a parallel world and retain his memories while also absorbing the memories of his new self. Pretty cool, right? Some of his stories of when and why he’d chosen to side-step are amusing. Awkward moment with a date? Side-step. Get into too much trouble at school? Side-step. Once he and Ivy learn why they were cloned and what’s expected of them, the story takes a turn.

The banter between Laz and Ivy is sometimes witty but can go on for pages, and I occasionally struggled with pacing. The same can be said about the science of their combined abilities. Especially in the last 40% or so, the dialogue becomes very science-heavy and can be difficult to keep up with, but the high concept held me enthralled.

With incredible world-building, a likeable, sarcastic main character, and a clever concept, this is a book I enjoyed, but I would only recommend it to true sci-fi fans.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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Laz has just woken up and found himself in a cloning facility.  No one else is around, except a girl who is still in her cloning pod.  He has memories of his life but doesn’t know why he has been cloned or who woke him up.  Laz also can move into the consciousness of himself in a parallel world.  He has memories of doing it “before,” yet him being alone in an abandoned world cannot be fixed with any side-stepping.  Laz thinks that the girl in the other pod will be the answer to why they are left alone.

Wakers is a stand-alone science fiction novel that was unique without being confusing.  There were a lot of scientific theories embedded throughout the story, yet it wasn’t enough science to distract readers who didn’t fully understand them.  The post-apocalyptic story was far-fetched and completely possible at the same time.  Card created characters that were easy to relate to and I found myself wishing the book would read a little faster because I wanted to know how it was going to end.  A fun read that might be a good start for a new sci-fi reader.
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So with this book I had to put aside my love for his Ender’s Game series in order to not compare it. It’s a new work and new world and it is beautiful. The loneliness of our main character is sad he talks to himself and the dogs and has debates with himself on whether or not he should wake the only other person he knows to be alive. He’s left pondering on the morals and he explores the town he’s left in with his newfound pack of dogs. Finally has no choice but to wake her up and they learn from each other. Once awake they hide from the New Place and try to figure out why they are cloned. They eventually are told what they are meant to do , but not what they’re originals had done. All I can say without spoiling anymore is this is going to be next required high school reading in another couple of years. This is such a great book!
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