I find Orson Scott Card to be problematic. On the one hand, he is clearly a deeply talented writer. On the other hand, I find a lot of his personal views to be bigoted, closed mined, and offensive. But his best work is always about how through love comes understanding and if Mr. Card himself doesn’t always live up to that, well, he’s only human so I’ll forgive him as much as I can and enjoy his books while I may.
Ruins tells its story using multiple narrators, which can be very hit or miss as a narrative device.* But Mr. Card uses the device in the proper way, to give us new viewpoints without retreading too much of what already happened. The whole multiple narrator thing was furthered in the audiobook version by having each viewpoint read by a different actor. It’s a fairly interesting thing to do, since each actor gives the other characters different tones/vibes/nuances/shades of meaning that might not be present in the other viewpoints, adding many layers and dimensions to the whole thing.
What did not add anything positive was all the talking. Talking, bickering, discussing, arguing, just, all the time. ALL THE TIME. Wedged in between the talking was some plot but it was weird plot. Part of it was that OSC seemed like he threw all the sci-fi tropes at the book just to see how many would stick and part of it was just that some of the plot was fucking weird. And not a little gross sometimes. All that said, I’ll probably still read the third book when it comes out because Ruins was engaging enough that I want to know what happens next and he’s got a good enough track record that I’m willing to give him more time.
If the only other OSC book you’ve read is Pathfinder, Ruin might not be the book for you. Go read The Worthing Saga (his best book, even better than Ender’s Game in my opinion) and Hart’s Hope so you have lots of OSC goodwill built up. Then come back and read Pathfinder so you’ll see the potential that’s there, behind all the talking.
*I recently tried to read a book called Dearly, Departed that used multiple narrators and it kept the action stalled in a very major way and it was so boring I had to give up on it, with no intention of ever going back. Which, I can’t remember the last time I did that, so yeah, don’t read Dearly, Departed.