This is my favorite science fiction series. The characters are easy to identify with, and you will find yourself sucked into this imaginary universe, nicknamed the Enderverse by fans.
Recommended order of reading (in my opinion): Ender?s Game, Ender's Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow Puppets, Shadow of the Giant, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind. Reading the books in this order will keep you interested and keep the story moving more naturally.
If after reading all of these wonderful books you are still itching for an Enderverse fix then read First Meetings. The list above is sorted by the Enderverse timeline. Meaning that the flow of events in the stories are uninterrupted. If you were to read the books in the order they were published, you would bounce back and forth in between time and few of the plot twists in future books would be revealed before you wanted them to be known. First Meetings, however contains short stories that occur both before and in between the list above within the Enderverse.
I enjoyed this book, but I enjoyed it because I did not expect Ender's Game proper.
There was a lot about Ender's Game I enjoyed, but I can sub-categorize all my favorite parts into two important distinctions. Military strategy and group leadership versus interpersonal development and politics.
If you really only enjoyed the military portions of Ender's Game, then you may consider leaving Speaker of the Dead out. Scott Card wrote Ender's Game so he could write Speaker for the Dead. The way he writes the characters in Speaker for the Dead I have found to be a reliable measure for his other books in the Enderverse.
Reading about waging a war is awesome because of the absolution both sides of a war feel, a solidarity under one banner, so to speak. At the end of war, we have fractured absolution and limited solidarity -- complex topics to say the least.
Speaker for the dead is about this post-war universe. The threads of religion and science woven throughout the personalities is beautifully done in a way that should be neutral enough to spawn debate, but with the author's beliefs only somewhat veiled. Reading a book like this often makes me feel we are more predictable in groups than we are when left to our private choices.
This book gives weight to the phrase "where there is a will, there is a way." Of course -- not all wills are good ones ...
Use consistent narration. Using several different people that change the emotional delivery and even the gender of the voice is distracting and annoying. Plus, the woman sounds like she should be reading smut, not sci-fi.
These weren't the only narrators. I would have stuck with them.
I'm a corporate training consultant and adjunct professor who loves to read! I'm always looking for the next big thing.
After having read "Ender's Game," I was eager to read "Speaker for the Dead." I was definitely not disappointed. According to interviews with the author, Orson Scott Card, "Speaker for the Dead" was the original book that he wanted to write. He wrote "Ender's Game" as a kind of introduction to "Speaker for the Dead." Although "Ender's Game" has become far more well-known and more popular than "Speaker for the Dead," I can see why this was the story that the author really wanted to write. The story is much richer and deeper. I feel as if it's written for a more mature audience, and its themes reflect that maturity. Don't get me wrong. I loved "Ender's Game," yet I think I enjoyed "Speaker for the Dead" just as much--only for different reasons.
Let me get the bad news out of the way. The audio recording of this book was terrible. I don't want to say that the actual performance of the narrators was bad because it really wasn't. The problem was that there were just too many narrators, and they were used inconsistently throughout the book. At times, there were shifts from one narrator to another mid-paragraph, and it didn't seem to be done for any reason. I certainly don't want to say that this lessened the story in any way. After all, it's the same story whether listening to one narrator or 50. Even so, the shifting back and forth was distracting. As if that weren't bad enough, there was also periodic background music that was played during the performance. Again, this seemed to show up in random locations. There was one location in particular in which music just started playing mid-sentence and the ended in the middle of the following sentence. Usually, I expect some of that background music to signal a change in chapter, theme, or something else recognizable. That was surely not the case here. Again, it didn't lessen the story, but it was distracting. It wouldn't be such a bad thing for the story to be re-recorded without the performance issues.
Now, on to the good news. This book takes place 3000 years after "Ender's Game"; however, thanks to space travel at relativistic speeds, both Ender and Valentine are still alive--and in their 30s! In many ways, this book picks up not long after "Ender's Game" concludes. Ender has now become the Speaker for the Dead. After the events that occurred earlier in his life (in "Ender's Game"), he decides to dedicate himself to speaking the death of other people. Perhaps he sees this as atonement for his earlier life. In this book, humans have discovered a new, alien life form, the Pequeninos (also known as "piggies"), on the planet Lusitania. A death occurs on this planet, and Ender is called to speak the death.
This book is far more philosophical than "Ender's Game." The Speaker for the Dead does not deliver a traditional eulogy for those who have died. Instead, he speaks the truth. This concept resonated strongly with me because I think a lot of people don't get to have the truth spoken at their funerals. While this idea of speaking for the dead is a central theme of the book, there are many others. For example, the interactions between the humans and the piggies is extraordinary. It frames the way in which we, as humans, look at anything or anyone who is different from us, as something that needs to be either protected or changed. We seem to think that we are the most evolved species and, subsequently, the most intelligent. Although the book doesn't necessarily contradict this belief, it does make the reader question it. Finally, I want to also mention that the Catholic Church is alive and well in the far-off future. There were very interesting discussions of religious themes throughout the book. The Catholic Church has a prominent role on Lusitania, and it must somehow align its teachings with the new reality of an alien life form.
Overall, this was an enjoyable read. It still exists in the same general universe as "Ender's Game," yet it is its own story. The more mature philosophical themes make this a great book for older readers, but it's still science fiction. This seems to be a great combination, and I look forward to reading other books in the Ender series.
<U>Speaker for the Dead</U> is a terrific sequel to <U>Ender's Game</U>. Where <U>Ender's Game</U> was exciting and suspenseful science fiction, <U>Speaker for the Dead</U> is like Ender himself, all grown up. Where Ender was a brilliant child reacting to the pressures and problems of the IF, Andrew Wiggin, the Speaker for the Dead, brings wisdom and maturity to the character we all came to love in <U>Ender's Game</U>.
Terrificly narrated by Stefan Rudnicki and the rest of the awesome Fantistic Audio players, I highly recommend this book. The Afterword by the author is also helpful in putting the first two books of series in perspective.
Orson Scott Card has created a terrific universe with his <B><U>Ender Wiggin</U></B> series. I am proud to say that I discovered it here on audible.com and look forward to listening to some of the later books in the series soon.
First, this isn't Ender's Game. It's an entirely different kind of story, so if you're looking for the pseudo-military sci-fi action of Ender's Game, you will be disappointed. That said, this is one of Card's better works, with rich, interesting characters and a fascinating (if slower-moving) plot.
The multi-person reading is not very well done, however. At best, it's distracting; at worst, obnoxious--one of the female readers, in particular, has a habit of reading every sentence as though it's the saddest and most important thing ever written. The book's main narrator is (fortunately) quite good.
Just like Ender's game this is a great book. Harder to get through though. Card spends more time on character development than really needed. The woman who does a good bit of the reading is a bit too melodramatic for my ears.
I picked this book because I had very much enjoyed Ender's Game and "Speaker" is the continuation of the story. However, it is also completely different in speed and style. While "Ender's Game" is mostly science fiction of the technical kind (spaceships, battles, etc.) and moves along well most of the time, "Speaker" is a tedious, slow-as-molasses study of religion, family relationships, childhood neuroses, and endlessly repeated sermons on tolerance. The passages in Portuguese, on the Catholic teachings, and others are tedious and boring.
You may end up liking "Speaker", but it won't be for the same reasons you may like "Ender's Game". Be forewarned.
As much as I enjoyed Ender's Game, I loved this book more. I liked the action of Ender's Game, but it was the inner conflicts and thoughts of his character that I really enjoyed. (Card made me really care about Ender and what happened to him.) It is just this kind of intimacy that I think is the core of this book. It has such emotional intensity with a transcendant spirituality,that made me want to "inhale" this book. I found myself just sitting in my car long after I had reached my destination just to complete another chapter. This book grabbed me and flung me on the roller coaster of its message, and I didn't want to ever get off.
I've been into epic fantasy, sci-fi and everything in between since I first read The Lord of the Rings. I also love detective novels.
I felt as though this was a book I should have read years ago and regretted that I did not.
Like many others who have reviewed this book, I also enjoyed Enders Game but took up Speaker for the Dead with no preconceived ideas. The first part of this novel is rightly spent setting up the rest and, since the story that follows is based on the characters experiences and the emotions that arise because of them, they form the important foundation for the rest of the novel. In other words it contextualises it.
If you want another Enders Game, then it is not the same. It is richer, deeper and slower to build. It requires a reader with empathy, a little patience and an open mind.
I will not nitpick the science but it was written a while ago and our collective understanding and expectations have changed in the interim. I do believe, however, that eventually technological development will plateau as we discover all the technology that will serve us and it will remain somewhat similar until something changes to cause the next great cycle of advancement.
It touched me and it made me think which is all I can ask of any book.