Thanks to everyone here who has recommended this book in various threads. I kept seeing it pop up and finally went out and got it.
It blew me away. I was surprised that I allowed myself to become so engaged in a story that is so hard and bleak. To tell the truth, it did make me a little depressed, but on the whole I loved it. I had to laugh at a review on Amazon that criticized the book for extolling war and genocide. Talk about missing the point!
Are the other Ender books of a similar quality? And in what order do I read them?
If you liked the book, coming soon to a theater near you: Ender’s Game, the movie.
That thing’s been “coming soon” for well over a decade now, and shows no signs of life.
That was my feeling. Someone gave me an old copy of it and I settled down to read it. The first couple of chapters almost made me give up, but I kept with it. I wouldn’t say it’s a favorite of mine by any means, but it has affected me strongly. I want to re-read it now, but I lent it to someone, and I can’t remember whom.
I wish I had read it earlier in life. I would have been more impressed by the revelation that:
Ender was controlling real troops, not just playing a game.
But as it was, I had a lukewarm, I’ve-seen-that-before reaction.
At least Jake Lloyd is too old to play Ender.
The other Ender books are completely different (except for the Shadow books, perhaps… haven’t read them). They also steadily decline in quality. Speaker for the Dead was pretty good, but by the time you get to Children of the Mind, they’re pretty unreadable.
The order goes:
Speaker for the Dead
Children of the Mind
There’s also a parallel series of books:
Shadow of the Hegemon
Well, ‘Speaker for the Dead’ is pretty dang good. Note, it is very different than Ender’s Game but a great book. The order, I believe, is ‘Speaker for the Dead’, ‘Xenocide’ and last ‘Children of the Mind’s Eye’.
I liked ‘Children of the Mind’s Eye’ and ‘Xenocide’ but not as much as ‘Speaker for the Dead’.
I haven’t been to impressed with the other Ender books (Ender’s Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon etc)
I liked the book, even though I knew what the “plot twist” was. However, I was a little put off that, far from “extolling war and genocide”, the later part of the bookseemed to insert far too much of the author’s religious/political views (e.g. trans-racial ecumenism) into the book, in a very unrealistic way (although I don’t know what the author’s actual views are). Also, he puts far too much credence in the power of Internet trolls to change the world, but hey, this was before there even were Internet trolls so I’ll cut him some slack!
I loved Ender’s Game. So much. But I became more and more dissatisfied with the rest of the series as it continued. The problem, for me at least, is that you really feel for the children of the Ender’s Game. After Ender’s Game the impetus is over. The story is about the repercussions of adult responsibilities on Ender and the other Battle School children. The great end is really just an added bonus.
That is why I really liked Ender’s Shadow. I thought Bean was a very compelling character and it interesting seeing the same events from another perspective. It is like reliving Ender’s Game again. I think if you don’t read any others in the series you should read Ender’s Shadow to understand a little more of Ender and because Bean is a delightful character.
Actually I like all the Shadow books because they are from an outsider’s view. You can see things that Ender would not have been able to point out because he was so involved in his own story.
Of the rest of the series involving Ender, I only really enjoyed Xenocide. It was a little preachy but I found the story to be interesting.
All-in-all, Ender’s Game is true sci-fi: action, armies, warfare, plus great character growth. The other books begin showing a little too much of Scott Cards’ philosophical views. And Ender is older, so not as sympathetic a character. For me reading the rest of the series was more for completion, not really expecting to gain too much enjoyment.
That being said, I am looking forward to reading the final book in the “Shadow Quartet.” I hope I am not let down.
Card is a devout Mormon, Ludovic. Which may explain why you noticed what you did. He was also active online quite early on, and has always been surprisingly accessible to his fans both online and off. I like his Ender books better than some of his later series that were (very) thinly disguised religious preaching, however.
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.
I am amused to read that so many people have read this book after having a friend lend it to them. This is exactly how I came to read it about ten years ago. I also almost quit after a couple of chapters, only to become engrossed soon after. I have read many books that I would recommend more strongly, but this was one of the few science-fiction books that I really found interesting.
MARGE: But you loved Rashomon…
HOMER: That’s not how I remember it.
I just finished re-reading Ender’s Shadow and I enjoyed it very much. Bean is a very engaging character and his perspective adds a great deal of depth to the portrayal of Ender.
I also enjoyed Speaker for the Dead very much, although it is very different from Ender’s Game. The xenobiology and xenoanthropology are fascinating, plus it’s interesting to see how Ender goes about atoning for his genocide.
It was OK. The twist at the end one could see coming from a mile away - when you’re 3/4 of the way into the book you start thinking…
[spoiler]“When are they going to fight the bugs for real? I’m almost done and all they’re doing is training in these increasingly complicated, increasingly… oh.”
The Peter/Valentine suplot was interesting and ludicrous at the same time - Not many adults I know can convincingly argue against their own beliefs, but to think that a couple of pre-teens can do so regularly, and do so well that they become global political powers of their own while still in high school?
Not. Buying. It.
I really liked Ender’s Game the first time I read it. I was surprised that I liked Speaker For The Dead and Xenocide better - they’re a lot different from the first book, but more up my alley in general (more philosophy, less military). And I was really surprised that I hated Children Of The Mind. I really got the feeling that there was a lot of deus ex machina stuff in thatone… just frantic tying up of loose ends, never mind if they make sense. I found Ender’s Shadow very very disturbing, so that’s when I gave up completely on the series.
I really like Ender’s Game, but it went down hill to unreadable from there. Ender’s Shadow was good. I have the next one, but haven’t read it yet. It’s been on my desk for forever.
Speaker for the Dead was my favorite of the whole lot. Naturally, it’s the only one I don’t own.
Word. What I liked best about EG was the way we got into Ender’s thought processes, got to see how he broke down problems and worked them over. Only ‘Ender’s Shadow’ does the same (although I haven’t read the other shadow books.) Avoid Speaker For the Dead, etc., unless you have a macabre desire to see an otherwise great character destroyed by irrelevance and bad writing.
Ender’s Shadow was IMO even better than Ender’s Game. I like the Shadow series a lot, but the last book (2nd to last in series, the final hasn’t been written yet) wasn’t as great.
I enjoyed Speaker for the Dead and the other books in the Ender line too, I read it 4 years ago and still think about a lot of the philosophy from it even today like
Adding the obsessive-compulsive gene into the genome of the geniuses to keep them in line. I think about this everytime I do something OCD-ish