For those who read this BECAUSE they enjoyed "Ender's Game": Beware, "Speaker for the Dead" is nothing like it. I loved Ender's Game. It was a suspenseful, delightful, innovative journey with the hero as he brilliantly solved the challenges he faced. Author Card kept the surprises coming as he let you in on the inner workings of the mind of a genius child.
There is none of that in Speaker for the Dead, which is melodramatic without being suspenseful or insightful. Instead, minutia is presented where plot and storyline is what is needed. I never would have made it to the end of the story if I had not read Ender's Game first. On the basis of Ender's Game, I kept reading (listening) hoping that Card would at some point deliver the goods. It never happens.
Told from the eyes and mind of a 14-yo girl, this is a story about the importance of self-reliance, self-love and the dangers of unearned guilt. It is very uplifting and I recommend it to the parents of pre-adolescent girls, although not exclusively to be sure. This story could make you a better, happier parent.
The first half is slow, meticulous development leading to a non-stop second-half roller coaster ride. Definitely worth the buildup. After I finished it, I relistened to it immediately to better appreciate the skill of the author and the detail of the story.
Whatever fun and interesting sci-fi creations are present are rendered utterly worthless by the underlying religious mumbo-jumbo PLOT devices. I loved the first hour, but the PLOT--that is the middle four-fifths of the story and the driving power of the story-- was BORING self-indulgent drivel created out of whole cloth in a free-association style that killed my enjoyment for some of the clever sci-fi devices.
I enjoyed this crazy story while it lasted but felt unsatisfied when it was all over. Just stange in the end, although I did enjoy the ride most of the time.
This story is all chatty exposition via dialogue interspersed with occasional kidnappings, beatings and hospitalizations. Characters say: "I did this, and then he said that and then I went there and came back here. . . ." and on and on and on.
All exposition with very few real "situations" or plot turns. Occasionally, the descriptions of Venice life are entertaining.
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