Book Review Friday: “Ender In Exile” by Orson Scott Card

Ender in Exile (The Ender Quintet, #1.6)Ender in Exile by Orson Scott Card
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really did enjoy this book quite a bit, as I love Card’s writing style, and the depth to which he takes the reader into each of his principle characters. Ender is never fully a mystery, because we get to explore his inner workings, a little at a time, and can come to understand him.

This book takes place between the final chapters of Ender’s Game, and the author includes a note that he plans to revise the final chapter of EG in order to fit his “true story.” It sounds as though the Enderverse has grown and morphed into something bigger than he originally dreamed. I have yet to read the other books at the core of Ender’s story, but I feel like this one was a good start.

I can’t give it more than three stars, though, because this book honestly felt a little bit more two-dimensional than EG. It just didn’t feel as impactful as EG did to me. Maybe it’s just that stillness after war. The lack of our ability to truly grasp what happens on Earth after EG is probably responsible for this feeling. It almost feels anti-climactic. In fact, it really does feel like a book out of place – neither a beginning, nor an end, but a middle of sorts. There simply doesn’t seem to be a climax of any kind. Not really.

There are a few chapters in the book where I feel like threads belonging to other stories seem to intersect with Ender’s, but we aren’t really given as much depth as we could be given. Then again – those stories may play out in more depth in the other books, which I have not yet read.

There isn’t much action, but that isn’t really a complaint. More of an observation. Another note I filed away in my brain was Card’s obvious moments of conservative “preaching,” for lack of a better term. As a conservative, I am not entirely bothered by this, but even if I did agree with everything he stands for (which I don’t know, because I know nothing about him other than that he’s a Mormon), I don’t like it when books try to tell me what to think. The fact that he cloaks these statements in character voices, and as accepted, never-debatable facts seems a bit unrealistic. Then again, this IS a science fiction novel, not a text book. So, it seems I can just let that go. And really — no author can help but to write in his own Voice. If Card wrote from a voice not his own, the book would be utterly disingenuous, and completely unbelievable.

Ultimately, I liked it. I didn’t love it. I enjoy wandering around in the Enderverse, and contemplating how close to reality it may turn out to be in Earth’s future.

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