Tag Archives: ender

Shadow of the Hegemon by Orson Scott Card

Shadow of the Hegemon by Orson Scott Card: The League Wars are over, but the struggle continues between various world powers. Someone kidnaps all the Battle School kids who served under Ender during the Bugger War. Bean alone escapes this fate. Though he must go into hiding, he seeks out the only person who can help him free the others: Peter Wiggin. Most of the story revolves around Bean and Petra, but I didn’t feel like I got to know her any better than I did in Ender’s Game. Of course, I’ve noticed Card’s difficulty with writing realistic female characters before. The continuation of Achilles’s tale was kind of interesting but not especially believable. I hear the series improves as you go along. Not that this is such a bad book – it just didn’t do much for me.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card

Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card: This is more or less the same time frame covered in Ender’s Game, only from Bean’s point of view. It begins with his life as a street urchin in Rotterdam and continues all the way through the end of the Bugger War. There is some overlap between the two books, but since it’s from another point of view it doesn’t feel repetitive. Bean’s train of thought is fascinating and I enjoyed the new characters that were introduced like Achilles and Sister Carlotta. I think of all the other children at Battle School, Bean was the best choice to get his own story, but Ender is still my favorite character. And despite Card’s hope for this book to work on its own, I don’t think I’d enjoy Ender’s Game as much if I’d read Ender’s Shadow first. A lot is lost if you already know the ending. Ender’s Shadow seems almost predicated on audience understanding. That said, it’s still a worthy addition to the series, and I look forward to reading the other books and learning what Bean’s adult life has in store for him.

Also posted on BookCrossing.com.

Children of the Mind by Orson Scott Card

Children of the Mind by Orson Scott Card: This final book in the Ender Quartet spends most of its time tying up loose ends from Xenocide than moving the story along. The fleet still threatens the planet Lusitania, Jane still faces imminent destruction, Miro is still angstful about his love life, and Ender’s still going a bit mad. Everything is tied up neatly at the end, but by and large these latter two novels – Xenocide and Children of the Mind – feel superfluous. I admire Card for his amazing SF ideas, especially the development of the Piggies, but there wasn’t much point in putting all the aiua business in the Ender universe. But that’s okay. Now I know how it ends, and if I care to reread the series in the future, I’ll simply stop after Speaker for the Dead.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

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.

Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card

Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card: I consider this less the second book in a series or even a mere sequel than the second half of Ender Wiggin’s story. What began with his troubled childhood in the Battle School concludes on the planet of Lusitania, where the first intelligent alien species in 3000 years has been discovered. The Piggies, as they are affectionately called, are full of mysteries and questions, but they seem friendly enough. However, when two xenologists are found brutally slain by the Piggies, fear and suspicion begin to spread through the human colony. It’s another solid story about understanding alien societies, full of memorable and realistic characters. As an added bonus, most of the questions raised in Ender’s Game (how did the video game know about Peter, what happened to the Hive Queen etc.) are answered. Definitely an excellent book. I’m surprised people don’t praise the pair of novels as much as Ender’s Game alone, actually. I’m glad I read this. Highly recommended.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card: I first read this between fifteen and twenty years ago and remember really enjoying it then. This time was no different. Ender is a brilliant child soldier, drafted into Battle School at the age of six. He and his comrades are training to fight the Buggers, a hostile alien race who have invaded Earth twice already with terrible casualties. Though it sounds from this two-sentence description to be your standard military science fiction, it is something quite apart from those. This is not about the glories of war, but rather the troubles of a young child forced to grow up before he’s even reached puberty. It’s also the story of his two brilliant siblings, left on Earth to deal with their own troubles. Ender is extremely sympathetic; even when he was cruel I only pitied him. This is definitely one I will be reading again someday.

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