{Sci-Fi Month} Book Review: Second Foundation

second-foundation

In Second Foundation, the Mule is dead and Foundation and new Empire have found an uneasy peace. Both groups now turn their attention to the Second Foundation. Some believe that the Second Foundation’s a myth, but others have faith that the Mule found it before his death. No one knows how or where he found it, but there’s hope that with logic and a dedicated sweep of the galaxy it can be tracked down again.

Of course, that’s provided that the agents of the Second Foundation don’t interfere with minds or memories as the search gets underway.

Isaac Asimov’s third Foundation novel was a tough one to get through. I’ve enjoyed the series so far, but Second Foundation was rough–mostly because it was stuffed full of red herrings. Every time you thought someone had found the Second Foundation, Asimov was like “NOPE!” It grated on me after awhile. I know there was stuff that the book was leading to (like the First Foundation getting their confidence back), but it was packed with so much filler that it was just frustrating to read.  

It didn’t help that this book dramatically decreased my interest in the Second Foundation itself as the story went along. Before this book, I didn’t have strong opinions about the Second Foundation, but now, I loathe them so much. Are they the heroes? Are they the villains? I don’t know, but I don’t like them. The whole plan about using their mental manipulation and superhuman abilities to lead those without in the next Empire sounded nefarious at best. I hope they aren’t the good guys because that would be seriously messed up. As it is, I’m rooting for the First Foundation to grind them and their superiority into dust.

As for the characters, after the introduction of Batya in the last novel, I had hoped we were moving in a better direction female-characterwise, but that turned out to be a red herring in and of itself. There were three female characters in this book, but they were all awful stereotypes. We got the cliched “Mother” and the fat and stupid and evil “Mistress.” The worst bit, though, related to the teenage girl character, Arcadia. I got so annoyed with the fact that grown men kept saying Arcadia’s father should shoot her future husband rather than subject the poor sap to living with her. Arcadia was a clever, and I repeat TEENAGE, girl.  She outsmarted the men multiple times but was still subjected to being nothing more than a pawn and the butt of other characters’ nasty jokes by the end. I know I said that I was trying to be understanding that this novel was written in another time, but the sexism’s starting to weigh on me–particularly since it was even grosser in this novel than the others.

After all that, I don’t know if I really want to continue on with this series. Second Foundation actually ticked me off at different points–which was a first. I’m going to try Foundation’s Edge, but if it isn’t any better than Second Foundation, I think I’ll give up on this one.

Have you ever given up on a book series?

Image Source: Goodreads

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