Sunday, March 18, 2012

More Reviews, Because Of Some Reason (Ender's Shadow, Speaker For The Dead)

I've decided reviews will become a thing on my blog. I mean, why not? I like writing about books that I read. What I like even more is talking about books with others who've read them, so hopefully, this will lead to that, perhaps in comments or in simple discussions with people I know.

Anyways, I've read two more books in the Ender's Game universe. First is Ender's Shadow and the second is Speaker for the Dead. I feel like these other Ender's books have garnered quite a bit of criticism or people just don't like them as much as the original. I've found that I've enjoyed reading both quite a bit.

Many people might not like that Ender's Shadow because they feel it follows the same story as EG, though this is completely false. Yes, it follows the same timeline, you see certain events from the first, but it is all from the view of a different child, Bean, who is awesome. You see everything as it happens to him, rather than Ender, and what's amazing is Card manages to make it interesting and engaging even though you're rereading familiar events. Bean is a fantastic little character who faces his own troubles and tribulations, who thinks through events in a different way from Ender, and I ended up really enjoying the novel. You really look forward to seeing events you know are coming and want to know how Bean is going to perceive them. It ultimately tells a different story than EG, and it is a good one. It begins an entire series about the genius children other than Ender.

The next novel that I am nearly finished with is Speaker For The Dead. This could be called the sequel to Ender's Game as it is the next novel with Ender as the main character, though to be honest, it seems to be the start of it's own series. EG was to set up Ender as a character, set up his past, this book deals with an adult Ender facing challenges. I think many disliked Speaker because it is very different from EG. It is slower paced, with less action, tactics, and battles. It is more of a space-drama than an action-filled thriller. This may turn you off from it but I really love it. Ender takes his ingenious tactical mind and instead of using it for combat strategies, he uses it to figure out people which he obviously is very good at. SFTD is about a planet where humans find a sentient alien race on another planet. They put a colony on it, put up fences, and try to study these aliens while also attempting not to interact with them or become too involved. This becomes difficult and impossible. The aliens end up killing someone and someone on the colony calls for a Speaker for the Dead. Ender comes. The interactions and situations feel realistic, the aliens are genuinely alien, not simply humans that look different. They are really freaking weird, which is great.

So I understand why some people may not have liked SFTD as much as EG, but I almost enjoyed it more. The way Ender handles people is fascinating, the characters are all fleshed out and interesting and there is enough action to keep it going. I am pulled along by my need to see how Ender is going to handle the next problem, how he's going to figure out the next complicated situation. Instead of Ender facing enemy battleships in space, he has to face something far more complicated, tricky and difficult, human and alien minds and emotions, perhaps an even more difficult task, a battleground filled with it's own traps and pitfalls.

So I would recommend both. Ender's Shadow if you just want some more of Ender's Game, and Speaker for the Dead if you want something similar, but a little more dramatic, less action-packed and slower paced. If you want to see Ender handle humans rather than ships in combat. Both are pretty great and I intend to continue reading more in both series.

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