I just re-read Ender’s Game, for about the fourth or fifth time in the past 15 years, and Speaker for the Dead. I’m about three-fourths through Xenocide.
The original Ender series, where Andrew Wiggin is the protagonist, starts off strong with Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead – two very different books, but each great in its own right. The series stumbles a bit with Xenocide, whose story is perhaps equally compelling, but moves at a much slower pace. But the series runs off the rails with the fourth book, Children of the Mind, which is just bizarre – it departs from the strong narrative that characterized the three earlier books, and descends into speculative metaphysics. I won’t be re-reading it when I finish Xenocide.
The Shadow books return to the world of Ender’s Game, but follow the other characters – particularly Ender’s lieutenant, Bean, and Ender’s older brother, Peter Wiggin – in the world immediately following the events of Game. (The other books in the Ender series occur three millenia later, after Andrew Wiggin has lived through the intervening years by traveling around the colonized universe at relativistic speeds.) The storytelling in the Shadow series is strong and direct – perhaps not on the level of Ender’s Game, but definitely not bad. The series has been selling well, so I am hoping for others. I read the latest, Shadow of the Giant, a few weeks ago, and was quite impressed.
There is one other book that fits into the Ender universe: First Meetings, a collection of short stories about how certain key players in the Enderverse – for example, Ender’s parents – first met.