Xenocide by Orson Scott Card
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I still maintain that Speaker for the Dead is the best of the Ender series and that the books get progressively "worse" after that book. That said, I enjoyed Xenocide much more this read-through (listen-through?) than I had previously, mostly because I understood and took interest in the science more than I ever had before.
Knowing what I do about Orson Scott Card and his religious and political beliefs (or at least professions) took a little of the joy out of this book, and more so than the others. I found myself frequently wondering <i>what he was trying to say</i>. Before I had been able to suspend those thoughts and get lost in the story, but they came to the forefront this time.
When I started listening to this books again (I do it about once a year), I didn't intend to read through the whole series, knowing that I could feasibly stop with Speaker and be done, and that I didn't like the other books as much. But as usual, the story drew me in, and even though I KNOW what happens in the long run, I wanted to hear it all again.
If you've never listened to the Ender books, I highly recommend it. The voice acting is phenomenal and really brings the story to life.
My third time through, and I still couldn't just stop with Speaker. I had to finish out the series, and I'll say that I appreciated Xenocide more this third time around, and Children of the Mind was actually the story I rolled my eyes through. I guess you do get something different out of a book every time you read it (or listen, as it were). I once again applied what I know about OSC and his beliefs to the telling of this story, and while I was still irritated at times, I also found myself analyzing and questioning and being generally curious about how much of the story does align with mormonism or OSC's personal dogma.
I'll still call this a three-star book, but I am glad that I have read it again (and again), if only to see how I as the audience have changed.
I almost didn't continue the series this year, but went ahead anyway since I didn't have any more audiobooks lined up and I like to have one going at all times. Also, I couldn't seem to leave Ender, though he features far less prominently in this book that the first two. Once again (though mostly later in the book), I found myself beset by OSC's sneaky dogmatic ideals working their way into the inner personal monologues of his characters. *sigh* Someday, I'll learn that two books is really enough, that I know the rest of the story and don't actually have to keep "reading." There are so many good things out there waiting to be listened to.
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