Xenocide by Orson Scott Card

Xenocide by Orson Scott Card: The third book in the Ender Wiggin saga was not originally intended to involve Ender at all, and it kind of shows. Most of the story revolves around a couple “god-spoken” denizens of the Chinese-ish world of Path, who believe the gods tell them what to do in between demands for absurd and humiliating purification rituals. The characters are generally either uninteresting or unlikeable, but Card’s writing is good enough that it isn’t too tiresome. However, the metaphysical, philosophical, and religious discussions get old, and too often Card falls into the trap that ensnares so many male SF/F writers: making women self-righteous harpies in lieu of actually giving them personalities. Ella alone escapes this fate, though that may be due to her lack of romantic interests. While I enjoyed the more in-depth discussion of the descolada virus and Jane’s origins, I could have done without Ender’s unrealistic marital problems and the deus ex machina of “outside.” (Those who have read the book will know what I mean.) I sincerely hope the next (and once last) book in the series, Children of the Mind, will bring some closure to the ridiculously tangled story going on here. Otherwise I’ll probably wish I’d stopped after Speaker for the Dead.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

  1. I love the whole series, but it definitely peaked with Speaker (which is probably my favorite novel right now). I caught this one one audio the first time, and the Audio Renaissance version is so good (with the exception of the characterization of Wang Mu) that it kept me listening. I’ve now read it in print a coupla times and really enjoy it, although the discussions about philotic physics get a bit old.

  2. That’s too bad. I’ve read two of this series and really enjoyed them, but I had heard they weren’t all as good. I do like the way Card writes. Maybe I’ll find the audio version.

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