It is probably better to start with Ender's Game, but this is every bit as great. An instant all-time favorite.
Card is, as usual, outstanding. So are the readers.
This book knocked me out with a roundhouse hook that left me down on the canvas, seeing only stars. I won't say anything more to ruin your own experience, but the chills ran up and down my spine and I just said over and over, "Omigod, omigod, omigod."
The pace of this book is admittedly slower than most. In fact, quite a bit so. There's comparatively little "action" as compared to a lot of day-to-day stuff, but there's tension building all the time. And most books of this type need a solid grounding in day-to-day stuff to make the rest work.
Yes, there is a lot about Mormon life, but that is true to the characters. It is a major part of their personalities. This book is no tract for that particular religion. In fact, there's a particularly unlikeable Mormon character. I wonder if some people have a prejudice about reading a lot about religious details. Grisham details a lot about being a lawyer. Cook a lot about being a doctor. The list could go on and on about detailed books of one type or another. Why are detailed non-religious lives ok, but religious ones are not? And just for the record, I'm a non-believer.
So if any religious talk annoys you or you require a lot of action, then this may not be your cup of tea. But if you're willing to have patience for a big payoff, then I think you'll find it worthwhile.
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