OK look, this book AND Xenocide must be read/listened to together; they are essentially one book. So if you cannot make it through Xenocide then there is no real reason why you should continue on through Children of The Mind, even though C.o.T.M. IS a better book. It would be stretching the truth if someone said these two were solely about Ender. Yes, Ender is in them and he plays a very pivotal role but it's also about his family. (A Very VERY dysfunctional family) There are some VERY useless characters these two books, in fact the whole Chinese thing in Xenocide could be axed completely.
The whole point of these two books is for Card to relate and discuss philosophy. Why are we here, who are we, etc. IF YOU'RE NOT PREPARED OR MATURE ENOUGH TO HANDLE THIS MUCH DEEP THOUGHT IN PHILOSOPHY THEN THESE ARE NOT THE BOOKS FOR YOU. If you're just reading these books to finish the Ender story you WILL be disappointed in the story but you will be satisfied in knowing what becomes of Ender. I listened to these books to finish the story and found myself wondering why useless characters were arguing over silly subjects; A LOT! Until you take a step back and accept the philosophical discussions that take place you will have a hard time continuing through the books.
Realize this, Card wrote Xenocide in '91 and Children of the Mind in '96 and states in his audio version of Children that there will be another book that will tie in to the Shadow series and wrap this up. Expect a wait.
As for the Audio presentations for both Xeno and Children, the voice actors were EXCELLENT. The only problem I had was the randomness of musical interludes in Xeno and the randomness of who was reading in Children. Although I very much appreciated the spacing out of sections read, even though they weren't tied to chapters. It felt like they read enough for someone driving to and from work.
I loved the ending and Children was a very redeeming book compared to Xenocide.
Reading the reviews, I found two prevailing views. "Bravo" and "Boo!". Little in between. The "Bravo"'s enjoyed a thoughtful and insightful tale telling. The "Boo"'s missed the action found in the first novel of this series Ender's Game.
Read what the auther says . . .
. . ."I have never found it surprising that the existing sequels -- Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, and Children of the Mind -- never appealed as strongly to those younger readers. The obvious reason is that Ender's Game is centered around a child, while the sequels are about adults; perhaps more importantly, Ender's Game is, at least on the surface, a heroic, adventurous novel, while the sequels are a completely different kind of fiction, slower paced, more contemplative and idea-centered, and dealing with themes of less immediate import to younger readers." . . .
He further went on to separate the two tales. Saying that Ender's Game stands on it's own. The following 3 books are their own tale.
Bottom line: They are all great books, but if you seek action stop at Ender's Game. Good thought provoking writing continues in the other books in the series, but much less action oriented.
Children of The Mind is the best in the 4 part series. It put a fresh twist on reality that is both fasinating and enjoyable. You have to read the first three for this one to make any sence. I am disappointed that he asn't come out with another book in this series. It leaves you wanting more. The story should go on!
I continue to enjoy these books and their narrators. The story has changed so much from the original Ender's Game, but I enjoyed this one as much -- for very different reasons.
I have read some of the reviews here so far and I have to assume that they are mostly written by children. Card is one of the premier fiction authors of our age. In a genre such as science fiction, it is not common to find an author who can articulate the human experience while developing unique, interesting speculations on science and philosophy. In all of Card's works, he breathes life into the characters and creates palpable tension throughout the story. The acid test is this: do you care about the characters and find what they are doing relevant? There is no doubt that Card can pull this off with aplomb and style.
Ugh. Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead were two of my favorite books because each presented a new "aha!" concept. Speaker for the Dead was especially interesting to me with the concepts of the third life and the philotic connections. In those books, Card made his point in a subtle way that I enjoyed greatly.
Sitting through Children of the Mind was like going to a bad college lecture in which the ponderous professor *tells* you his lesson instead of bringing it to life through an example.
The story here was slow, and it went nowhere. The characters were endlessly lecturing themselves and each other. And Card seemed to spend half of ths book reprising the concepts in the previous ones.
All in all, a great disappointment.
Flee while you can! Don't waste your money on this book. The reading is fine, but the book itself is TERRIBLE! I'm a big fan of Orson Scott Card's, and I've read just about every Ender book in the series, but this is just awful - I couldn't make it through the book, try as I might. In my opinion, after the second half of Xenocide the story just went downhill.
The dialogue is just impossible to bear - it's like being stuck in a car with people who bicker ALL THE TIME and just won't let up. And it's not even interesting bickering, it's just a lot of mindless soap-opera-esque banter that just makes you want to drive off the edge of the highway to provide sweat relief to yourself, your stereo, and anyone else nearby who might have had the misfortune of overhearing your audiobook.
Ok here's my advice: if you felt like the later portion of Xenocide was really great (i.e. that extra-special form of travel and the "creation" of certain individuals from a key character), then ignore my opinion. However, if you thought "OK that was a little lame, but _surely_ the next book will make it all better." then heed my warning! Save yourself! It's not too late!
This is the most boring of the series written on
Ender Wiggens. I couldn't find the plot nor the purpose for this portion in the series. It does have some value, but not much. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone unless they enjoy debates on theories.
I found that listening to this book was very difficult to endure. If I started reading this, I doubt I would have finished. Xenocide was not very good, but this final chapter is even worse.
All the building blocks of a good novel: character development, plot twists, likeable protagonists, connected storylines all went by the wayside. Instead, this novel was a 12 hour tale of ... nothing happening. A love story with no love, a plot based on character relationships that made no sense (you wonder.. how did these characters even fall in love?), and an ending that held no surprises.
There is absolutely NO action in this novel and the theories on life and the universe postulated by the author are just plain weird even for science fiction. By the way, this barely passes for science fiction because it plays like 3 very long soap-opera-like discussions that never seem to end.
Anyway, Speaker for the dead was a good novel, but after that.. forget it.. the character development (or lack of) is what really got to me. These characters are NOT likeable, and I did not care one iota about them.
First off, this is a review of the "Speaker for the Dead" three-book series, which includes "Xenocide" and "Children of the Mind".
If you're considering this book, then you probably thought "Ender's Game was cool!" Ender's Game tricks you into thinking this book and its series is cool. Assuming you ignore this review, I will now tell your future...
As you finish listening to Speaker for the Dead you will think, "Well, okay. Maybe it will get better." Then, as you finish Xenocide you think, "Okay, it's not going to get better, but I might as well finish the series and see what happens." As you're listening to the long, drawn out, redundant, and contradicting dialogues and monologues of Children of the Mind, your own mind will wander and you will think "I wonder what will be the next book I listen to."
When you get to the end of the last book, when the ending is far less than spectacular, you'll sit and reflect. You'll think and reflect for a few hours about what you took out of the Speaker for the Dead series and you will finally come to your ultimate conclusion........"Well, at least Ender's Game was cool!"