Ender in Exile

So I’m up to the 10th book in the Ender’s Game series, technically the 11th released but I haven’t read the short story collection First Meetings which was published between Shadow Puppets and Shadow of the Giant.  Maybe I’ll pick that one up and read the stories in between Wheel of Time books when I start my re-read in a couple of weeks.  Oh well, on with the review.

Book Stats

455 pages

Science Fiction

10th book in the Ender Series

Characters

We’re back to Ender as the main character in this book, and after several books with other main characters, I was glad to read another one about Ender.  Ender might be the greatest character I’ve ever read in any book, and he does a perfect job of demonstrating pretty much everything that I wish I could be.  He’s incredibly competent, patient with everyone, and perfectly able to work with other people.  This book once again shows that Ender is able to be exactly what the person he is dealing with needs.  He really is a wonderful character and the way that Card writes his characters is the reason that there are so many wonderful books in this series.

Setting

Battle School and Eros for the first part of the book, then the colony of Shakespeare, and then the planet Ganges.  Basically, several of the places that Ender visited early on as he began his travels that take place between Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead.

Plot

This book is filling out what happened between Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead.  This is another example of what Card did with the plot lines of the Shadow Series (books 5-8).  You know pretty much how everything is going to end up, but he’s now going to go back and show you how it all plays out.  The book shows how Ender helped to start the Colonies on the road to their own independence, how he found the Hive Queen Chrysalis, and why he decided to begin the 3,000 year journey that ultimately led him to Lusitania where Speaker for the Dead takes place.

Enjoyment

I would imagine that one of the hardest things to do in writing is to write a book where nearly everyone who reads the book already knows what happens at the end.  It’s hard to worry about whether Ender will die when you already know there are three books about him that take place long after this book.  Where is the fear in wondering about the future of the Formics when you already know that they will be able to live on Lusitania and from there go out and repopulate themselves among several different planets throughout the universe (and taking the pequeninos with them).

For me, so much of the enjoyment of reading a book comes from the surprise of the ending.  I’ve said during reviews before that the ending of the book has greatly changed my overall rating of the book – specifically The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood was well on it’s way to getting a 4/10 until the ending rescued it and I bumped it up to a 6/10.

It almost seems like this is the exact opposite of what you would want a book to do, but Card’s characters are so wonderful that even though this book does nothing but fill in backstory that many of the other books don’t really need, it’s still a wonderful read.

Overall Grade

Another book in the Ender series, and another good score.  Even if you’re not a big fan of Science Fiction, these are absolutely wonderful books.

8/10

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10 Comments

  1. I’m impressed not only that Orson Scott Card could keep the 10th book in a series interesting, but that you are still enthused about reading about it! I’ve not dabbled in his work yet, but sounds like these books have a real pull.

    Reply
    • Part of the reason that they’re still so interesting 10 books in is that they’re not all telling the same story. Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow are similar since take place during the same time period, but then books 2-4 are completely different in tone from those books. Books 6-8 go in another different direction, but still keep up with the same wonderful characters and level of intrigue.

      It’s different from some other series, even some series that I enjoy have some problems. Take the Xanth series by Piers Anthony for example. I really like the books, but a lot of the later books are very formulaic and it’s not very enjoyable to read a bunch of them in a row because it feels like you’re reading the same story over and over again. I had the same problem with some of Agatha Christie’s Poirot books, but then again I read 6 or 7 of them in about 2 months, which can easily end up being a problem.

      (As a complete aside, I started reading your book today after I finished this. I’m just a few chapters in but I’m definitely intrigued.)

      Reply
    • That makes more sense. I must add it to my ‘to read’ list. I understand, by the way, that Christie ended up hating Poirot’s guts, so it doesn’t always work for the author either!

      Thanks so much for taking your time with my book – hope it continues to intrigue! 🙂

      Reply
  2. My husband loves this series and has read all the books. I recently read Ender’s Game (which I read like 17 years ago) and it was every bit as good as everyone says. It is good to see that a book so much further into the series is still getting high marks.

    Reply
    • I’ve only got a couple more to go before I’m caught up to the series, and there are also a bunch of short stories set in the Ender universe that I’ll have to read as well. They’re all very enjoyable.

      Reply
  3. I’ll be reading this one straight after reading Ender’s Game 🙂

    Reply
    • I’m reading all the books in the order they were published rather than chronological order. No matter how you read the books, they’re all quite good.

      Reply
  4. Sorry if this is the wrong place for this but I didn’t know where else to put it.

    I nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award! Check out http://chaosmechanica.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/one-lovely-blog-nomination-one-for-me-15-for-you/

    Reply
    • This post is a fine place for it, I’ll get to doing my part of accepting the award tomorrow evening.

      Reply
  1. September 2012 Month in Review « Reviews and Ramblings

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