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Review: Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card

Speaker for the Dead (Ender's Saga, #2)Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After reading Ender's Game (my review), I had to find out what happened in Ender's future. At first I was disappointed to find out that so much time had passed between Ender's Game and this book; at the end of Ender's Game, he was 9 years old, but in Speaker, he starts in his 20s. However, I found that this allowed Ender to face more complex issues than he had as a boy. Religion especially is featured much more prominently in Speaker and the other 2 books of Ender's Saga than in Ender's Game.

Still, I didn't like this book as much as Ender's Game. One of the major reasons I liked Ender’s Game is because I enjoyed seeing Ender’s thought process; watching him think his way out of problematic situations. There’s not as much of that in Speaker because he's more in control than he was in Ender's Game. Also, I didn't care about most of the characters; not Novinha, her family, or the other Lusitanians. Ender, Jane, and to a lesser extent, Valentine, were the only characters I was really interested in. I found the story overly emotional (there's too much crying), and I wasn't a fan of the Pequeninos (piggies).

Speaker for the Dead is the same type of sci-fi as Ender's Game; the technology only plays a supporting role in the story, and the focus is actually on the people and the challenges they face in their relationships and religion.

After reading Xenocide (my review) and Children of the Mind (my review), I appreciate Speaker much more. All 3 tell a much more complete story of Ender and the important people in his life than Ender's Game alone did. Although Ender's Game is still my favorite, all the books in Ender's Saga complement each other to form an excellent series.

At the end of the audiobook, Card explains that Speaker was the real story he wanted to tell, and that Ender’s Game was simply background information. He thought the message of Speaker was more important; that when you truly understand someone, you can empathize with them, no matter how horrible they were and what atrocities they committed. I disagree with that premise, and that Speaker is a better story than Ender's Game.

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