I agree that this isn't one of the strongest of the Ender series. Card has written that the final installment of his original series got too long and so was split into two books - Xenocide and Children of the Mind. So, the story arc isn't completed in Xenocide.
What it really comes down to, though, is that these are my comfort books. I can pick up any of the Ender books (or Shadow books) and just start reading and immediately get caught up again.
But, and this is a HUGE but, I find the narration on this and Children of the Mind so horrible at times that I get pulled out of the story. I was just listening last night and had to have my husband listen to my iPod to hear how horrible it was.
I am amazed that only a few other reviewers had problems with the "Chinese" accents of the narrators. I think they are so inauthentic that they just seem comical and degrading. It seems like the narration direction would have preferred to have the Chinese characters speaking pidgin English. Since Card didn't write the dialogue that way, the best they can do is use the "accents." Another reviewer liked the accents in that they helped distinguish different characters and sections of the book. I guess I can appreciate that, but the narration never tried to fake a Portuguese accent (unless the characters were actually speaking Portuguese).
I also found the pequenino and hive queen voices to be distracting, but not as jarring and offensive as the Chinese characters. I guess I was willing to give creative license to those characters.
I'm so disappointed, because the narration has taken these books out of my rotation.
Other listeners should be aware that this same production team does the Shadow books and can get some of the same fake accents going with Han Tzu and Virlomi. Just a warning.
I have to say that I agree with several of the other reviewers. I loved this book when I first read it and was excited to be able to have it on my iPod. I also thought it was going to be fantastic to have it read by the author. Unfortunately, I have been so distracted by her sing-song reading style (possibly an attempt at "character"-specific voices?) and the apparent speech impediment. It's not that she has a lisp, but it's close. It's really, really distracting. There are so many fantastic readers out there that I wish they had hired.
This is one of my all-time favorite books. It is one of my "comfort" books - I can pick it up and just read from any point when I want a break from things. So I was really excited to be able to have it on my iPod. The reader of this edition has very odd speech patterns - some sentences become hurried, others drag out. It doesn't seem to make sense in context of what is being said, either. I'm still happy to have it, but I wish they had picked a different reader, or had a better director. Also, the fact that it is an older man with such a deep voice seems incongruent (to me) given how much of the story is 6-12 year-old children talking.
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