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Inflicts 'sequel fatigue' towards the end
on 10 May 2015
I can't say for sure that each of the three Ender's Saga books I've read has been better than the last - they're all too different to really invite easy comparisons. I will say though that I thought Speaker for the Dead was much better than Ender's Game, and I think Xenocide is every bit as good as Speaker for the Dead. It has the same contemplative, introspective philosophising as SftD but with an entirely different focus. It also benefits from introducing a new thread of the story, centred on Qing-Jao and her father - the Godspoken of a colony planet called Path. I began feeling somewhat cold towards this part of the tale, but as it went on it grew to be my favourite lens through which to view the actions of the main protagonists. It offered a view of the bigger picture of the ongoing political context that deepened the more intimate portrayals of the main story.
If the book suffers from anything, it's a kind of 'sequel fatigue' - at the end of the third Ender's book, I was ready for the whole thing to be wrapped up. I was somewhat disappointed that it continues onto a fourth book since it seems that it could so easily have been an extremely good trilogy rather than a somewhat stretched out quadrology. A particular 'plot twist' at the end removes any real hope of a satisfactory conclusion and sends the series spiralling off into a direction that veers dangerously into the territory of its own posterior. The final chapter of Xenocide is as poignant as any I've read in science-fiction, and it would have been a fitting capstone for a tremendously well constructed body of work. Whether I still feel that way after Children of the Mind remains to be seen, but I can't say I've started that with anything approaching the enthusiasm with which I started Xenocide.