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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.
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on 3 July 2013
It reminded me of Frank Herbert's Dune series - stunning first book is head-spinningly brilliant, second book has maybe a little less verve and swagger but nevertheless delivers and then the third one starts to suffer from Lorenzian urges and just loses impetus under the increasingly suffocating swathes of irrelevance and invention for its own sake. It flies off to the left and right like a kid with Tourette's, barking here and howling there but never engaging or startling as Ender's Game did. By now I'm a little sick of Andrew Wiggins (and starting to think how sad it would be if the universe were indeed multiply saved by someone called Andrew Wiggins) and feeling he's something of a smug wee prig.

I liked the Chinese girl idea, but again the execution became wearysome. By the time we discover faster-than-light flight (by sitting in a cardboard box and rubbing the side of our noses) I've seen visions of Paul as a sandworm - a book I last read over 30 years ago - and remembered the frustration of a legendary saga that hit the ground running and then just started digging until it ran out of steam.

A shame, that...
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on 21 May 2016
First let me clarify, I *loved* the first two books. They moved along at a good pace, with Ender filling the typical “chosen one” role, but bringing something new each time. In the first book he was a child prodigy, the second he was the Speaker of the Dead, a writer of wrongs… thoroughly enjoyable.


Around 70% of this story was taken up with pseudo-philosophical debates that went in circles before going NOWHERE (GAHHHHHHHHH!), arguments between Ender’s step family that went NOWHERE, and normal conversations that went on TOO LONG. e.g:

(Jane and Ender)
Ender: Do it
Jane: I’m not sure I should do it
Ender: Well [reason why you should do it]
Jane: I’m not sure
[See line 1, and repeat for several pages]

Now imaging this formula done with philosophy in EVERY chapter, mixed in with family-feuds in EVERY CHAPTER.


This piece of crap was around 20% longer than the previous installations, and it had about a quarter of the story!!!! GRRRRRRR!! I am so annoyed!

Much like the second and third Matrix films, it seems as though the author has started believing his own press and tried to add too much philosophy and hidden meanings to the point where an “okay” story has become bloated and irritating.

A favourite quote of mine (after I’d put up with all of this **** for about 75% of the book):

“…my adoptive nephew, it is wild philosophy we need…”


This has got to be the first time I have finished a book out of pure spite. I did it because there was a story buried in there, and unlike the second Robin Hobb book, good things did eventually happen, even if they did happen all at once at the very end (*fume*).

Ironically, I AM going to read the next book (having already bought it when I bought book 3). I can only hope that he manages to rescue the series after this monstrosity.

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on 23 March 2014
The third book in the Ender saga takes a bit of a dive. It's closer to Speaker for the Dead than Ender's Game (Speaker being very different to Game to start with.)

Set mostly on Lusitania, the strange near-failed human colony with two other sentient species (well, two at the start, anyway) it answers all the threads set up in the narrative arc but seems much more complex and confused. Where Ender's Game was a straightforward clear-as-glass sci-fi novel, Xenocide is a big-canvas. The Chinese-themed colony does have a reason to exist in the novel (two reasons actually - one to comment on the nature of religion, and secondly to throw Starways Congress into sharp relief) but they're not very big ones, and a huge chunk of the text is set on a world getting to know characters that don't really do much.

Where it shines is in continuing the sheer nastiness of Novinha and her children, although it's a bit over the top to think this deeply troubled set of siblings can get over their squabbles after a few chats from the Wigginses (Ender being known to them for over thirty years by this time.) However, the character of Jane gets given more space, becoming more essential than in "Speaker".

That said, OSC's writing remains absorbing and fast-flowing; he knows how to spin a yarn. Talking of yarns, though, the biggest flaw for me was a matter of personal taste: there's too much "magic" in the physics.

The philotics, the Outside, Jane herself: good sci-fi takes today's science as its starting point, and there's no evidence at all to suggest these concepts could ever be real. Any writer who ignores physics is writing Fantasy, not Sci-Fi. So this was the hardest thing for me to accept. After all, OSC had already proven his hard-sci smarts in a very rare manner: by not allowing his starships to use magic (hyperdrive) to get around. With that gone, the universe's solid feel went, too.
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on 1 April 2017
This storytelling skill is the very opposite of the'columbo'style,
Where you see the end at the beginning,the ability to keep so many plates in the air is awesome,the ideas included in the narrative are so 'out there',that that version of 'out there' does not exist yet,I hope that as you go on you can keep up this stellar standard ! !
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on 14 May 2016
Ender's Game was a marvellous beginning to a sci-fi series, and Orson Scott Card followed through with Speaker For The Dead. Xenocide though, felt like a very different book, much more static and less heroic than the previous two, and a lot more infused with religious and metaphysical thoughts, which doesn't really help it.

Card's writing is still great though, deep without being too complex, and while the strange ending to Xenocide doesn't really make me want to continue reading the series, I might just be hooked till the end now.
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on 25 November 2013
The book is the continuation of the Ender saga and continues in the style of "The speaker for the dead". The third book is just a little less of all the positives of the previous book for me. While still drawing you in, this instalment is just a little less intriguing and a bit too blunt and straight forward sometimes. Some revelations just pop up a bit too fast and arbitrarily perhaps.

It's more a feeling than a fact, but to me this book is just a notch down from the two previous books in pretty much every way. Still a good read though!
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on 18 June 2015
Enders Game was brilliant, and Speaker for the Dead a decent and logical progression of the story, which for once actually addressed dealing with the aftermath of making difficult decisions.

Unfortunately, whilst there are some interesting ideas in Xenocide - mostly in the background of the planet's native species, the storytelling is uneven, characters unlikeable, their viewpoints at times illogical, and towards the end of the book it degrades into a deus ex machine free for all.

Do yourself a favour and read John Scalzi instead.
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on 6 April 2016
The wonderful thing about this book and well this author in general is that you develop a true understanding of the characters emotional standing to different situations. This means a deep level of understanding of a situation or conversation develops allowing the reader an immersive experience, Because of the emotional understanding of characters that is created, this awareness of scenes and their impact is achieved with ease making it a fluid and pleasant read.
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on 24 January 2018
Not as interesting as the first two but then I don't have a degree in physics or biology
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