Great stuff for fans, but definitely not a place to start with Ender (well, the original novella is a great place to start, but that's just a third of this download). Without knowing some details from the books, the resonance of these first meetings would probably be greatly diminished. Without an understanding of the larger structure, some listeners would likely not appreciate the full story.
I'm including an open plea to all audiobook producers: Please please please, if you must include music that overlaps the narration, LISTEN TO IT BEFORE FINALIZING THE PRODUCT! Often, this is a minor annoyance. In this book, it absolutely ruins the end of the Ender's Game novella. You can't hear half of what's being said. So a meaningful quiet moment is completely spoiled. I've never read a review where someone likes these musical overlays: I'm begging you to stop using them. It created a sad, sour experience at the end of an otherwise enjoyable listen.
Fans of <U>Ender's Game</U> and <U>Speaker for the Dead</U> will definitely want to hear <U><B>First Meetings: Four Stories from the Enderverse</B></U>. As I have stated with most of my short story reviews, audio books and short stories are made for each other and for fans of Ender, these four short stories construct a beautiful bridge between Ender's past before <U>Ender's Game</U> and between <U>Ender's Game</U> and <U>Speaker for the Dead</U>.
The original novelette format of <U>Ender's Game</U> is the third story in this four part collection and it is a great story, even in this pared down format. It just proves that <U>Ender's Game</U> is a terrific story that re-engages listeners everytime they play it. The remaining three stories are the best part of this collection though and my favorite is <U>Teacher's Pest</U>.
<U>Teacher's Pest</U> is the story of the meeting and very brief courtship of John Paul Wiggin and Theresa Brown. The very intriguing couple who become the parents of Peter, Valentine, and Andrew Wiggin.
<U>The Polish Boy</U> introduces us to the "non-compliant" Wieczorek family and the brilliant John Paul, whose genius will alter the course of the future, for both his family and the entire <B>Enderverse</B>. John Paul Wieczorek of course becomes John Paul Wiggin in <U>Teacher's Pest</U>.
This is a great collection of stories that is spectacularly narrated, as usual, by the Fantastic Audio crew. My only criticism of the audio production is the bumper music used at the beginning and ending of each story. I do believe my ears started bleeding at some point and the bumpers overlap the narration too far so that it is very hard to hear for several seconds at the beginning and ending of these stories.
Again, I can't recommend any group of short stories enough but these are terrific, especially for Ender fans. Enjoy!
I'm 52 and enjoy sifi, history, funny romance, fantasy type books. I give my views as to how a book is based on my emotions.
...in a few parts, the music was overpowering the voices, you could hardly hear the reader and when they spoke low, impossible. Who ever put this book and music to audible did a poor job.
If you (audible.com) want better reviews on this one, redo the sound or take the music out.
Other then that, I liked it. Gave an insight into a few areas I didn't know about. Such as where Jane came from, and Enders parents meeting.
For those already immersed in the "Enderverse" this is a fun listen. Probably the weakest of the four stories was the "Ender's Game" novella, only because the novel completely eclipses it -- but for those who have not read the short story and like the book, it is interesting to see the evolution of the narrative.
For those like me, who have re-read these books over and over again, the two stories about Ender's parents might hold some very slight anachronisms, but nothing that keeps you from enjoying them.
I most particularly enjoyed "Investment Councilor". It was a neat little insight into Ender's world and travels in-between "Ender's Game" and "Speaker for the Dead".
I have to agree with the other reviews that the "music" at the end/beginning of a section is to much it overpowers the book and you can barely hear the book at that point all and all it is not a bad series, the Ender's Game novella was not needed though.
If you're an Enderverse fan, this is a great collection of short background stories that fill in some gaps that had been left open in earlier books. Each story covers a couple big gaps in the series without getting bogged down by the development of too many characters.
My only complaint with the whole series is the use of music in the recordings. Orson Scott Card, if you are reading this review, PLEASE for the love of humanity don't let your producers put music in the recordings!!! It's terribly distracting and it almost completely drowns out the words. I could hardly hear the last conversation between Anderson and Graph due to the piercing music. At least I think that's who the conversation was between. Since I couldn't hear them, I just had to assume they were planning out how to live their golden years after the Bugger War.
Bottom Line: the music can ruin and otherwise great addition to the Enderverse.
I enjoyed the stories themselves. It was kinda cool to see how Ender's parents got together. I also enjoyed the glimpse at Ender as a young man. The short story Ender's Game was fascinating to hear and compare to the book.
The one thing that I could not stand was the LOUD music playing over the storytellars at the begining and end of each story. Whoever it was at Audio Renaissance that thought this sounded good needs to have their head examined. Not only was it difficult to hear, but it was terrible music. Personally, I would prefer it if they never did this again, but if they had to, at the very least it should be set in the background and low enough so that it doesn't interfere.
If you have read Ender's Game, this is a must read! I admit, there are a few things that do not exactly coincide with Ender's Game, but they are barely even noticable. I really enjoyed them and I hope you do to. If you have not read any of the Ender's Game series, do not start with this one.
Having been a long-time fan of the Ender series, it was really neat to listen to these stories as they filled in some of the details of the Enderverse. This book is highly recommended for anyone familiar with the series. The narration is top-notch, but the music that overlaps the beginning and end of each story almost drove me insane! The music was SO loud that it was almost impossible to hear what the narrator was saying. Please don't let this one flaw prevent you from listening to this otherwise fantastic audiobook. Great stuff!
Al the stories were interesting, although, the background on Ender's father was a little incongruous with the book, Ender's Game. If you liked Ender's Game, this is worth listening to.