Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Ender in Exile

I, myself, am not a huge science fiction fan. Yes, I read some science fiction, but it's usually along the lines of young adult or kids sci-fi. You know, like Harry Potter, or Discworld. Anyway, recently I had an opportunity to review a science fiction book, and instead of passing the opportunity by completely, I passed the book along to my husband, Joseph, an avid reader of science fiction and fantasy books. Until he gets his own blog up and running, he has agreed to post his reviews on mine. Below is his review of Ender in Exile, by Orson Scott Card--enjoy!

Recently, I had the opportunity to read Orson Scott Card’s latest work, Ender In Exile – my thanks to Julie from FSB Associates for supplying the book. Ender In Exile is one of many in the Ender series; it is a direct sequel to Ender’s Game and although written after the other Ender books, chronologically takes place during the last two chapters of Ender’s Game. If you have not read Ender’s Game, stop what you are doing and read it immediately. To me, it was in the ranks with Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Clarke’s Childhood’s End, and Asimov’s Foundation; some of my favorites.

Synopsis from book cover: At the close of Ender’s Game, Andrew Wiggin - called Ender by everyone - is told that he can no longer live on Earth, and he realizes that this is the truth. He has become far more than just a boy who won a game: he is the Savior of Earth, a hero, a military genius whose allegiance is sought by every nation of the newly shattered Earth Hegemony. He is offered the choice of living in isolation on Eros, at one of the Hegemony’s training facilities, but instead the twelve-year-old chooses to leave his home world and begin the long relativistic journey out to the colonies. With him went his sister Valentine, and the core of the artificial intelligence that would become Jane.

The story of those years has never been told. Until now.

Ender In Exile was a very good book that primarily explored the details of Ender’s life after the war with the Buggers. Card managed to put some of the themes of Game under a microscope in Exile. While Exile has less action than Game, Card makes up for it by delving into the psychology of Ender. We see how Ender uses the same manipulation that Graff had used on him to achieve his goals. We see that Ender is just as good at political strategy as military via his battle with Admiral Morgan. We see that Ender has keen insight into others as he manipulates Alessandra so that she may be free of her mother. Most of all, we see Ender accept the guilt of Stilson, Bonzo, and the entire Bugger xenocide and take responsibility for his actions. Card develops existing characters like Graff and Valentine excellently, while adding interesting new characters like Alessandra and Sel Menach. Valentine is perhaps the most important person in Ender’s life, but I’m not sure he knows it. She is his conscience and I think is the one person keeping him connected to the real world while he is obsessing over the Formic world. I was at first surprised when Ender finally broke down and made contact with his parents and resolved his relationship with Peter, but then I realized he could only do those things after he found what he was looking for. Card did a beautiful job detailing the events of Ender after the battle and for fans of Ender’s Game it is greatly appreciated. My only criticism is actually a compliment to Card; he created the new characters so powerfully, I would have loved to learn more about Vitaly, Alessandra, Sel Menach, and Abra. I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoyed Ender’s Game.

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