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.
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