Read Children of the Mind by Orson Scott Card Online


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Title : Children of the Mind
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780765304742
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 370 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Children of the Mind Reviews

  • Greg Fishbone
    2018-10-03 17:31

    I know several readers, myself included, who were blown away by Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. They then found the sequel, Speaker for the Dead, to be equally as riveting and eagerly reached for Xenocide, book three in the series, with the highest of expectations--only to be slammed with disappointment. This otherwise serviceable book, with an original premise and interesting characters, crashes to an unsatisfying and confusing ending that combines the worst attributes of deus ex machina and sequel hooking. Back in the mid-90s, it seemed that only the most devoted of Ender fans dared to approach the fourth book, Children of the Mind. The rest of us avoided it like the descolada virus itself.This situation may have changed over the ensuing decade as Card has published a number of prequel and sequel books in the Ender universe including a notable series about the life and times of Ender Wiggin's schoolmate, Bean. As the story world has expanded, characters have been fleshed out, political systems have been better defined, and the original quadrology has been reframed into a new context. Xenocide-burned readers may finally be ready to take tentative steps toward CotM--or at least that's my theory, after receiving an endorsement of the book from a friend who described it as "not as bad as everyone thought it would have to be."So I read the book and it was, indeed, not as bad as everyone thought it would have to be--but it's no Ender's Game, either.It helps to know that Xenocide and CotM were originally conceived as a single volume, which was divided in half when the page count climbed higher than the publisher was willing to accommodate. CotM's confusing and disjointed opening takes place only moments after Xenocide's confusing and disjointed ending, and neither book feels complete on its own. I'm sure the author did the best he could but the result still reads like a botched operation to separate conjoined twins.CoTM starts in the middle of the action with no easy recap for those of us who haven't read the previous book in a while, so a better transition would have been appreciated. Perhaps something like I've done in this episode of Book Review Theater...EXTERIOR - EXTRASOLAR PLANET WITH THREE MOONS IN AN ORANGE SKY, WHERE PEOPLE STROLL ALONG A BOARDWALK THAT SEPARATES A BEACH ON ONE SIDE FROM URBAN BLIGHT ON THE OTHER - LATE EVENINGA cardboard box appears from nowhere. Peter Wiggin and Si Wang-mu emerge, look around in confusion for a moment, and confront the first man passing by.PETER: Excuse me, sir? MAN: Yeah? Whatta you want?PETER: I'm an extra-universally created simulation of Peter Wiggin, the late Hegemon of the Free People of Earth, under the spiritual control of Andrew "Ender" Wiggin who is and will remain, until his imminent death of old age, reviled and celebrated, respectively, as Xenocide and Speaker for the Dead.WANG-MU: And I am Wang-mu, a former slave with artificially-enhanced intellectual capacity, ironically named after a Chinese goddess. Also ironically, the so-called free people of my society were in fact enslaved to outside powers by virtue of their genetically-crafted OCD tendencies while peasants and slaves like myself remained actually free.PETER: With the aid of Jane, a unique artificial intelligence originally created by an alien race that's falsely presumed to be extinct at the hands of my apparent younger brother and puppetmaster, we are travelling from Wang-Mu's home world--WANG-MU: The Planet Where Everyone Is Chinese.PETER: Right. From Wang-Mu's home world, The Planet Where Everyone is Chinese, we were meant to find The Planet Where Everyone Is A Pacific Islander by way of The Planet Where Everyone is Japanese.WANG-MU (looks around): With my advanced intellect, I've determined that this is not any of those worlds.MAN: Nah. This is The Planet Where Everyone Is From New Jersey. Got a problem with that?PETER: Not at all, my hairy knuckle-dragging friend. It would seem that Jane is playing a practical joke on us, or perhaps manipulating our journey in the same way that everyone around us seems to be constantly manipulating everyone else in some way or other.WANG-MU: Including ourselves.PETER: I'm sorry for taking up your time, but we really must be going. A fleet is approaching The Planet Where Everyone is Brazilian with the intention of blowing the whole thing up, not knowing yet that a cure to the dreaded species-scrambling descolada virus has been found, or that their actions would mean genocide for the last remaining Buggers as well as the native Piggies and Jane herself--who is unique enough to be considered her own species. Did I mention that Jane has the ability to pop people in and out of the universe, allowing them to create impossible objects, bring people back from the dead, and cure brain damage or deformities of the body?WANG-MU: Which is why we must prevent Congress from shutting Jane down by persuading some influential philosophers that the events of World War II back on Earth are still relevant in space so many thousands of years later.Peter and Wang-mu step back into the cardboard box, which promptly vanishes.MAN: What a couple of self-important jerks!Something like that would have helped a lot, although the premise does seem rather silly and far-fetched when you try to boil it down to a few short paragraphs of exposition. It also reveals a major weakness of the story world: the assumption that Earth would colonize new worlds on a nation-by-nation basis and that the resulting planetary cultures would not change or evolve noticeably from their progenitors. This detail seems glaringly unrealistic in light of Card's obsession with such anthropological details as food, architecture, and language.Ender himself hardly appears in this book, and perhaps the most memorable character from Xenocide, OCD-laden genius Han Qing-jao, is missing entirely--only represented in CotM by tantalizing excerpts from her philosophical writings, which serve as thematic chapter headers. But Qing-jao's presence would perhaps have been redundant since she is far from the series's only deep-thinking philosopher and author of impactful works that have changed the lives of billions or trillions of people. In addition to Quing-jao, this would include Ender (author of a trilogy that has stayed continuously in print for over three thousand years), Valentine and Peter (who manipulated world governments through their pseudonymous writings as Demosthenes and Locke), Aimaina Hikari (whose works inspired attempted xenocide), Grace (whose writings inspired Hikari), Malu (whose works inspired Grace), and Plikt (who, as the speaker for Ender's death, has a lock on a future bestseller as well).Only Ender's stepdaughter, Quara, seems to lack the bug for philosophizing and authorship, so of course the other characters use her as a punching bag for their verbal abuse--which highlights another annoyance I experienced with this book. Every scene is either a dramafest of angst and confrontation or an excuse for long philosophical soliloquies that usually include at least one Shakespeare quotation. Or often, both. Almost without exception, every philosophical theory presented in the book is then subsequently picked apart and discarded as childish and simplistic compared to the unexpressed deeper thoughts that all of our genius characters are keeping to themselves. This makes for one long, emotionally draining, and often pompous book.Bottom Line: Every reader of thought-provoking science fiction, age 10 through 110, should pick up copies of Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead. My prior warning to avoid Xenocide is tempered somewhat, but anyone who continues onward in the series should read Xenocide and Children of the Mind together and be prepared for an exhausting and confusing ride.

  • blakeR
    2018-10-03 17:46

    Wraps up the series neatly enough . . . until you stop to think about how ridiculous the entire premise is or how annoying it is that everything seems to fit so nicely together.I suppose I have to recant the part of my Xenocide review where I called the "birth" of Peter and Young Val "unnecessary." That was obviously a crucial episode for what Card had in store for the series conclusion. But I still won't take back the opinion that it's annoying.Positives: After starting slowly, the plot did pick up around halfway through and was sufficiently interesting to keep me turning pages; there was a scene where the mothertrees started to fruit which was beautiful. . . by far the most emotional part of the book for me; there was much creativity in the solution to the Jane problem.Negatives: Overall, the book was simply annoying. We were subjected again to far too many pages of the completely useless and unbelievable Quara, the inner turmoil of Miro (this time as he's deciding between Val and Jane), the completely incredible romance between Peter and Wang-Mu, tedious scenes between Ender and the second-least sympathetic character in the series Novinha (Card, if you're going to make her this unlikeable, you can't continue to subject the reader to her), and "recaps" from the previous books that went on for long paragraphs and I ended up just skipping. The chapter intros by Qiang-Jao brought nothing, and if anything had only the effect of reminding me of one of the most annoying characters from the previous book.The entire concept of Peter and Young Val was inconsistent. They either have free will and are their own people (in which case Ender is like a God, to have enough soul to split in two), or they're not. If the former, they wouldn't need Ender anyway to continue living, and if the latter, there's no way they would ever be able to experience self-pity. There's no in between.(view spoiler)[And did it really have to end with everyone living happily ever after? Sure Ender died, but we were clearly not meant to care for him at all by this stage in the series. Miro gets his Jane and Peter and Wang-Mu get to be soulmates after the least romantic courtship ever. Wang-Mu will remain one of the most underdeveloped main characters ever, with no answer as to what was motivating her to behave the way she did. (hide spoiler)]Overall, this and Xenocide could have been greatly condensed into one 500-600 page novel and been a masterpiece.Not Bad Movie and Book [email protected]

  • Jacob
    2018-09-24 19:31

    September 2009Previously: XenocideThe fleet sent by Starways Congress to destroy the planet Lusitania is getting closer. Any day now. No, really, it'll be here soon, promise! The good news is: Jane, the intelligent supercomputer program, has figured out faster-than-light travel, so the evacuation of Lusitania's native and foreign species is ongoing. The bad news: Congress is trying to shut Jane down. The Lusitania Fleet is on its way (really!). Ender is divided into three bodies (by-product of some near-literal deus ex machina technowhatsit from the last book) and all three are slowly dying/fading away. The planet is going to (eventually!) blow up. And Miro's family won't stop bickering.I swear, it's like one side effect of the descolada virus it to turn everyone infected into a pack of screeching harpies. Almost every scene with at least one member of Ender's surrogate family leads to an explosive emotional war of words, with Quara and Novinha the most guilty. It was tolerable the first time, just barely, but three whole books of this Broken Family of the Year bullshit? Completely unbearable. I can barely remember what else went on in this bloated epilogue to Xenocide, there were so many useless arguments. There was something about the Descolada back in Xenocide, someone suggested it may have an off-planet origin and, therefore, a creator or creators. The planet is found and...nothing happens. As for the religious divisions among the pequeninos, with the fathertree Warmaker keen on spreading the virus to other human worlds...completely forgotten once faster-than-light travel happens and new planets are swiftly colonized. All other day-to-day activities between the races on Lusitania...ignored. Instead, everyone fights. What happened? What made Card think that the petty (and endlessly recycled) squabbles were more interesting than, well, goddamn everything else?Gah. Dur. Enough already. I used to love Ender's Game, long before I picked up the rest of the series--and now it turns out the rest of the series is mostly awful. Very disappointing.See also: Ender's Shadow

  • Goldie
    2018-10-14 16:48

    As I was progressing through the Ender series, I couldn't help but feel that the writing quality was diminishing, but I never suspected that the series would end on such a sour note. Children of the Mind is a mind-numbing book with its drawn-out pompous attempts to explain human nature and imitate negotiation, but the worst part of it is how it butchers its character personalities. The plot might pass if the dialogue wasn't so unbearably cheesy (i.e. the use of the tackiest dialogue as the chapter titles). Also, the portrayal of different planets having all having specific ethnicities in the book seems quite racist. Scott's characters contradict themselves and seem very stupid although they are supposed to be extremely intelligent.The descriptions of faux-Peter's angst is highly unemotional and is put into such cut-and-dry whining terms that countless times I had to shut the book. And the Chinese symbol (the left side is dragon and the right side is a version of arrow) in the front of each chapter seems like a stuck-up stamp for an "amazing" chapter. It's like tying a bow around your writing to show how good it's supposed to be, which is just lame, especially for a book this bad. By attempting to meld so many cultures,attitudes,"philosophy", and even "super-geniuses" with such boring and trivial ideas and conversations, I couldn't help but think that either Card has let the success of his sole enjoyable book,Ender's Game, inflate his ego and therefore destroy his writing, or doesn't know what on earth he is talking about. I didn't enjoy a single phrase from the entire book. which tries to explore emotional concepts that seem artificial or at best, shallow. I loved Ender's Game and I'm sorely disappointed. It's like whenever an author's name is printed larger than the title, you know the book is going to be overrated.

  • Christopher
    2018-10-12 16:50

    Whoo, finished, finally. Sometimes you get sucked in a series and you just can't wait until its over because of the command over your whole attention that it has on you. Andrew Wiggin is somebody who we would all like to become; understanding, compassionate, brilliant, and charitable. Yet he is a tragic character who carries the burden of humanity on his shoulders, always taking on more responsibility than is seemed his share.This final novel is the fast paced, engaging, climax to the series. Speaker for the Dead and Xenocide were mature, slow and ponderous; albeit very fascinating. (In my opinion, Xenocide could have done with a hundred less pages.) Yet all of them were anticlimactic; Card left much of the plot lines unresolved or those that were resolved done with diminished excitement. Children of the Mind made up for it. I found it satisfying and was unable to put it down. He developed and expounded all that was missing from the first two (yes, two, I don’t consider Ender’s Game part of this series, its character and mood and purpose are entirely different than these three. I view it as a prequel) novels. I’ve read complaints about Speaker or Xenocide that were resolved in this last one.His characters drive his stories. Their challenges, brilliance, and road on life are the heart of the story. I do recommend the series. They read fairly quickly, are enjoyable and powerful.

  • Alain Dewitt
    2018-09-19 12:44

    I just finished this book and I read it not too long after reading 'Xenocide'. I really should review 'Xenocide' but I wanted to get this out while it was still fresh since 'Children of the Mind' was so awful. A full review of 'Xenocide', though, isn't really necessary since both books are terrible and suffer from the same flaws.The big problem with this book is that Card violates the 'Show, Don't Tell' rule of writing. This book consists almost exclusively of long dialogue between characters and very long monologues and/or character ruminations. Even though a lot is happening in the book - colonies of buggers, pequeninos, and Lusitanians are moving off-world; the Starways Congress Fleet is traveling to Lusitania to destroy it; Peter and [the hyper-annoying] Wang-Mu are conducting Card's ridiculous idea of shuttle diplomacy - Card only ever has characters talk about it, rather than have the reader along for the ride. Card even takes the excitement out of space flight for Pete's sake.Then there is Card's half-baked morality/philosophy baked into the crust of this mud pie. For example, Peter's 'mission' is to sway political opinion against the fleet's use of the Molecular Disruptor (M.D., or the Little Doctor, first seen in 'Ender's Game'). They do this by going to exactly two planets - neo-Japan and, I'm not making this up, neo-Samoa! They have exactly two meetings (one on each planet) with two philosopher/academic types. These meetings consist of some pseudo-philosophical claptrap that is supposed to pass for weighty jousting of ideas of serious moment and then, presto! change-o! political opinion in the Congress of ONE HUNDRED WORLDS is changed and an order goes out telling the fleet not to use the Little Doctor!Then there is the pointless conflict and endless hand wringing over where Jane's soul (or aiua) will go. It's obvious that Jane will end up in the Young Val that returns from the initial faster-than-light space flight at the end of 'Xenocide'. But that doesn't stop Card from allowing his characters (such as they are) from arguing and bickering endlessly about it. As if that's not bad enough, the conflict is repeated (albeit on a blessedly smaller scale) with the question of where Ender's soul will go when he dies. (If you haven't figured out that it's Peter, hit yourself in the head with a hammer.)Which brings me to yet another annoying thing about this book - the endless bickering between the characters. It's not enough that the book is endless dialogue. It's a lot of endless bickering, sniping and malicious psychoanalysis between the characters. First of all, very, very few people (and when I say 'very, very few' I mean none) has the acumen that Card's characters have. No-one really knows what anyone else is really thinking or why they do what they do. This makes it all the more unforgivable for Card to saddle the book with loads of shrill attacks between Jane and Ender, Jane and Miro, Young Val and Miro, Peter and Wang-Mu, Ender and Novinha, Quara and everyone! It reminded me of why I stopped reading Card's Homecoming series, which suffered from the same shortcoming.Also, Card doesn't pass up the opportunity to re-hash all his earlier sermo - I mean, arguments from the previous three books about how it is wrong for one species - in this case, humans - to exterminate another - in this case, the buggers (notwithstanding the fact that the buggers were attacking humankind). Except that he doesn't even make an argument; it's simply an assertion. He doesn't explain why it was wrong of Ender to destroy the buggers' home world when they had attacked humans. He just declares that it is (and saddles poor Ender with the guilt). It was unconvincing the first several times Card made it and unnecessary in this volume.I think this book suffers from the Forced Franchise Syndrome. That's my own term for when a filmmaker, or in this case author, takes a perfectly good standalone property ('Ender's Game' in this case) and tries to string it out to create a series when it's not supported by the material. My two favorite examples of this are the Pirates of the Caribbean and the Matrix movies.I rarely give up on a book once I have started it. I thought long and hard about it with this one. In the end, the reason I didn't was because the book was relatively short and it only took me a little over three days to get through it.

  • Spider the Doof Warrior
    2018-09-28 12:27

    I have to find that quote in this book that PISSES ME OFF. It made me take away a star.Why so RACIST? To asians and whites! Ever think that maybe Peter just wants to sit in a chair because chairs are more comfortable than kneeling? Sorry, but what he wrote about Hiroshima and Nagasaki is OFFENSIVE AS ALL FUCK!I hate this book. I hate OSC's writing. Why did I EVER think he was a good writer?Oh, that is IT Orson Scott Card. I'm going to go out and DESTROY THE NUCLEAR FAMILY! I will destroy gender roles, make boys play with dolls and girls play with trucks and turn everyone in the world gay and then have a gay pride parade in your town full of strippers and topless lesbians! There will be transgendered people, gender queers like me and SO MANY PEOPLE WHO WILL BREAK DOWN SOCIETY! We will take over the schools and such and encourage EVERYONE to be hedonistic heathens because he is getting on my damn nerves THAT MUCH!I swear this computer is trying to tell me to read Harry Potter instead. Why the hell would you tell a woman who was battered by her husband such TRIPE? How was it good to have a man who beat their mother and made them unstable? Libo was a frigging WUSS for not taking responsibility for his kids and the woman he loved. It's like I can't even think of a character of his as a good guy because they FRIGGING SUCK THAT MUCH AS A PERSON! His sick world view permeates every word. That's it's better to have an unhealthy family as long as it's a heterosexual family with proper gender roles than to have a happy healthy gay family! How is it protection for them if they are screwed up because of this awful, abusive man? Families should NEVER be about abuse. Or gender roles, but love and trust!And why must Novinha be in this book? I. Hate. Her. I regret rereading Xenocide and Children of the Mind. In the past, I loved the Ender's Game series, but rereading them too many times and reading Ender in Exile killed that. I thought these books were better than Ender in Exile, but they are the same.Every single paragraph is poisoned by Orson Scott Card's world view. Characters exist only to express it and spout out his philosophy. Characters argue and bicker and act bitchy and stupid when the fate of people are at stake. People fall in love in two days and get married, even if the person they are marrying is 14! Most of the characters spout on about getting married and religion every three seconds. If there are characters of colour, they are more like racial caricatures. Are all Samoans fat? All Asians obsessed with honour and being humble? OSC seems to think so! I'm sorry, but he's just not a good writer. He can't write women for shit. He just conquers characters and make them lecture the reader. His plots are thin and based on characters doing ridiculous things. If these characters are such geniuses, why the hell are they so damn stupid?It's three thousand years into the future! It's like nothing has changed or gotten any better and people move to segregated planets to live like stereotypes. I can't believe that in 30 years Novinha's stupid children never changed. Quim was just as self righteous, Grego, ready to instigate things, and Quara, arg! Why was she in this book? She was such a BITCH for no reason at all other than to irritate everyone and the reader. Only Ela had any sort of sense. What is the point of Science Fiction if things don't change? Yes, people are on other planets, but wouldn't they have developed MORE than this? Octavia Butler has way more complexity to her stories. Read her instead!That is it. I gave him a chance. I'm going to go out and write subversive literature and I'm not even going to read the Bean series when I could read Harry Potter instead and be happy instead of cranky.I could have practiced piano!

  • Monica
    2018-09-24 16:54

    I wanted to love this. I really did - after all, I love Miro, who is given a lot more page space, and I was excited to see what Peter would bring to the table. But after Xenocide, it was pretty weak. Now to make a few comments (ehem, rants)…a) Why is it that the only truly negative bits in the series come from the women? You know, the only truly unforgivable, unredeemable, unreasonable, and supremely infuriating bits… Let me summarize what these bits were: QUARA, Qing-Jao, and Novinha. Welcome to the Hate Club. QUARA: I've never read a nastier b**** than Quara. She should've been sacrificed to her beloved descolada. No one should have to put up with the kind of crap behavior, attitude, and total disregard of authority and sense that Quara consistently subjected everyone to. She is the only absolutely unredeemable character in the books. Screw the daddy issues. She was a [horribly] flawed character without any saving grace. Not a one. I quite successfully hated her. QING-JAO: represents the kind of brainwashed religious fanatic that is ultimately pardonable, and pitiable, because they truly believe they are doing the right thing. But man, what a waste of a highly-educated and once perfectly rational mind. This is the unreasonable bit. (*note: Qing-Jao appears in Xenocide.) NOVINHA: So Ender finally commits himself to a woman, and he has to choose a massively-scarred, emotionally-wrecked, paranoid, vitriolic control freak who, it was revealed, never really gave him her unconditional love and devotion (view spoiler)[ (He wanted kids so badly yet she was not interested in disrupting her career! Selfish hag!!! After all he went through, and all he did for humanity, and for her family, to rob him of that irreplaceable experience…)(hide spoiler)] and who treated him like trash in this last book. HE DESERVED WAY BETTER. Witch. I totally blame her for (view spoiler)[his premature death. (hide spoiler)]To sum this rant topic up, though, one does not have to think long when wondering why it was only women who were written into this role, whereas all the men eventually reach some state of grace (or are naturally already paragons of wisdom. Semi-sarcastic eye roll). The series is clearly male-centric, even in the tipping of the moral scale.b) I was somewhat surprised by the excessive support given to the marriage institution. The concept of marriage is absolutely upheld. It was like love = marriage, and no other equation exists. Even Novinha's adultery was eventually painted as the manifestation of a "marriage of the heart." (view spoiler)[ I was slightly annoyed by the insta-marriage decisions of Miro and Jane and Peter and Wang-mu. I mean, of course I was rooting for them, especially Miro and Jane. And I recognize that Card is not an author of romantic fiction. But still. He could have given us more, especially for Miro and Jane - it should've been knock-off-your-socks awesome to finally realize that they could actually be together - before peremptorily engaging them. And really, Peter and Wang-mu just friggin' met each other and barely even discovered their love, and suddenly they tie the knot.(hide spoiler)] Overall I felt that there was unnecessary underlining of the concept, clearly based on the author's personal moral beliefs.c) Jane is AWESOME. Period.

  • Mario
    2018-09-21 13:38

    Don't get me wrong, Orson Scott Card is one of the greats. Ender's series is one of the best series of all time. However, this book was his weakest due to being monotonous and preachy. The characters were going back and forth, stating the same dialogues. I understand the message and the characters' purposes, but the book lasted way too long; thus,I barely finished the book. Of course, there were many moments, but the bad outweighs the good.

  • Stephen
    2018-10-17 13:40

    4.0 to 4.5 stars. Book four of the classic Ender series. Not quite as good as the previous books but still excellent and highly recommended.

  • Kevin
    2018-10-04 18:29

    I couldn't wait to finish this book. The Ender quartet started so strong and got progressively worse with each book. I hated who the characters became in this book (particularly Wang-Mu) and the long-winded monologues about the difficult love relationships got excessive. The tired philosophy and ruminations on the human condition were boring and unwanted. Children of the Mind started with so much potential but it was poorly executed. I was really hoping to see the ruthless Peter emerge, having been given only the worst of himself from Ender. Then Ender would have to act on his promise to stop Peter. But of course this didn't happen. Peter is just a brat, and embarks on his mission to save Lusitania with the ever annoying Wang-Mu. The fleet that was sent at the end of book 2 finally got to Lusitania and the actions of the Captain was probably the best part of the book. Comparing his ethical quandary to that of Ender was really interesting but couldn't make up for everything else that made this book so bad. I wanted to like this book, but I couldn't. After reading Children of the Mind it will take time before I want to read another book by Orson Scott Card.

  • Shayna L
    2018-09-27 16:27

    Children of the Mind flows from the rest of the Ender saga. Aside from the issues that carry over from the previous book, there's less focus on all the philosophy in the universe and more story. It's mostly about Jane and her bid for survival along side all the peoples and aliens on the world of Lusitania. Like the other books, it's pretty enthralling and opens up the type of moral and philosophical issues that probably have entire sections of the library dedicated to understanding them. The biggest criticism I can offer is the role of Ender in this, the final part of Ender's series. It seems like he's been shunted off in the background for the most part. Technically he is playing a large role in the whole fight for alien survival. But it seems as if this character with such great potential, if not as the main hero then as a really cool supporting role, is almost completely useless from the third book on. I was expecting much more from Ender... It's his series, after all.

  • Asa
    2018-10-04 14:34

    Well, now I've finished the "Ender Quartet" (or saga, as it's called here) at a very leisurely pace. The first book, Ender's Game, was excellent. Second was Speaker For The Dead, which was great. Then there were Xenocide and this one, both of which were merely okay.It seems that Xenocide and Children Of The Mind were originally meant to be one book. I suspect that if Xenocide had stayed within its own borders, it would have been much better. These two books are weighed down by a lot of ideas. They're usually very interesting ideas, but that doesn't excuse their interference with the story.It's not only ideas that bloat the two books, though. For example, I don't think Wang-Mu and Qing-Jao are both needed. It's quite interesting to see their personalities clash, but it's not necessary. One character could have served the functions of both.I also feel that much of the plot of Children Of The Mind was not needed. A lot of it follows the path of "Oh no, this terrible thing is going to happen!" "Wait, maybe if this extremely unlikely event takes place, the terrible thing won't happen!" "Hooray, the event took place!" I didn't see a lot of value in that.The characters were written weakly as well. Perhaps this is my own lack of comprehension, but their dialogue sounded like the same person most of the time (except for the queen and the tree, who sounded like each other). Furthermore, they were virtually flawless, which makes it hard to care about them. Sure, there was a lot made of their flaws, but these flaws all seemed superficial, and pretty much everyone was a super great person doing the best they could. The only truly flawed ones that I saw were the minor characters Quara, Plikt, and Lands.There were still a few great moments. I particularly enjoyed (in a bad way) Miro's last scene with Young Val. The confrontation between Peter and Lands was also very enjoyable.

  • Matt
    2018-09-22 15:54

    This book actually led me to break two rules of mine: 1) Never give up on a book more than 30 pages in, and 2) Nobody needs to read my review of a book, so what's the point in writing one. But this time I just... I just couldn't do it.What I loved about Ender's Game was that it's not a blatant, lasers'n'aliens sci-fi novel (although there is NOTHING wrong with laser'n'aliens), so much as it's the story of a boy placed in relatively difficult circumstances, "up against it" if you will, who learns through simple necessity how to handle himself in difficult situations, and it all just so happens to be told against the backdrop of a science fiction universe. With the rest of the series (barring Ender's Shadow, et al.--I'm talking about the main "Quartet") Orson Scott Card seemed to say, "Of you like stories of moral dilemma told in a science fiction world? Well gettaloadathis!" It's the literary equivalent of saying to me, "Hey, I really like this sandwich. The bread and butter pickles really bring out the flavor." And then the next time I make you a sandwich, it's just a pile of bread and butter pickles. And maybe a glass of pickle juice on the side. Too much! He really lays it on thick with the inner monologue and moral indecision. And with sentences like "It was so complex--and yet so simple" peppered throughout, it feels more like a satire than an actual, I'm-taking-myself-seriously novel. I tried, oh how I tried, to finish this book. But I got to a point where I realized I still had 100 or so pages of this, and I just had to put my foot down.Which leads me to broken rule #2: The purpose of this whole review is so that someone might save themselves the trouble of reading this novel. I know it's tempting, especially after reading the three that lead up to it, but save yourself the trouble and just look it up on Wikipedia. Then maybe re-read Ender's Game so that someone, somewhere, can once again send positive vibes toward Orson Scott Card.

  • Warren Pagel
    2018-09-26 18:26

    The last book in the sci-fi series following Ender Wiggin is disappointing to say the least. It takes all of the amazing characters introduced in Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead, and Xenocide and devolves them into what boils down to a soap-opera-in-space. Card excels at creating interesting characters, but he obviously struggles with writing romance; this is all the more apparent when, in a series that until this book never had any focus on romance between characters, suddenly has romance forced down the throats of nearly every major character.He also seems to forget entirely about the science-fiction aspect of the series and abandons it entirely for the supernatural, including religious revelation to minor characters, and the discovery of instantaneous interstellar travel based solely around "close your eyes and wish really hard."Further evidence of why this book should probably never have been written is its weakening of the universe Card has created. The Hundred Worlds up until this novel had been fairly believable because we had only encountered a few different planets. Each of those planets seemed to revolve around a particular culture, but it was fairly easy to believe why the culture was so limited. For example, the world of Path maintained its ancient-Chinese style culture because Starways Congress had genetically engineered them to be that way for its own purposes. Lusitania was entirely comprised of Brazilian Catholics because of its inability to expand across the electrified fence separating them from the pequeninos.So, why then, do we have an entire planet of Samoans, and another planet of Japanese? Why would we not have multiple cultures on planets that have been in existence for over 3000 years, instead of people maintaining the traditions of people that lived millenia ago? This situation would be the same as if we on Earth still had essentially the same culture from 1000 years before the birth of Christ. This also brings us to the question of why technology has not advanced since the time of the First Xenocide (the events of the first novel in the series). 3000 years have passed, and yet humanity has not progressed in the sciences in any notable fashion.All in all, the main problem with Orson Scott Card's novel is that it ruins the magic established by the previous novels in the series by abandoning its main character, forcing romance where it doesn't belong, and ruining the suspension of disbelief by bringing the universe's most glaring inconsistencies into the foreground.

  • Djuna
    2018-10-08 16:53

    These books are a great combo of sci-fi and philosophy, but I feel like the Ender series begins with the best book and then they gradually lose appeal. The first book in the series was skillfully crafted to weave complex strategy lessons for a child, and I was very pleased with how clever the author was, with only a few areas that were a bit heavy-handed. The subsequent books got a bit more convoluted, and lost some of the brilliance. It seemed like Card spent most of his effort on coming up with the species and characters and fascinating theories, but not as much on the plot twists and fine detail as he did with the first book. I still enjoyed them, but I can imagine some people would rather stick with the first book and not read further.

  • Dr Bolderdash
    2018-09-24 11:45

    Ender's game was really fun and interesting read. It made me excited to explore more of Card's work. With each subsequent book of the Ender Saga I have enjoyed it less and less.Throughout the entire series there has been a strong drive to explore philosophical notions of war and survival and the connections between people. In Ender's game it is not too heavy handed and mostly submerged beneath the narrative. By Children of the Mind Card might as well be bludgeoning you over the head with it. I have no problem with a deep exploration of philosophy in literature but Card has become so enraptured with his own ideas that the book has very little forward momentum. I understand that is not a sequel but actually the second half to Xenocide; but the only time anything happens is in the last few pages of the book. It feels like he has sacrificed story to just get his point across.Another unappealing aspect of the novel is the racism and limitations inherent in Card's vision of the future. Every world we encounter has one presiding culture and no other. It is simply taking countries and believing that their culture is maintained across thousands of years as we know it know. Never mind that you can watch culture evolve over the space of a century. This also leads to the "Japanese planet"; "The Chinese planet" and the "Pacific Islanders planet". On the Pacific islanders planet one character makes reference to how unambitious the people are and wonders if it is something to do with their racial character or their genome. I can't even comment on this, but I am sure the Nazi's would have been happy.Lastly, the aspect of religion in these novels just never made much sense to me. It is logical that certain religions would found colony planets that continued their beliefs. But their is no portrayal of agnostic/atheist world or planet. Neither is there any attempt to reconcile the "universal truths" that are discovered with the concept of a Catholic or Christian God. For all his pages and pages of characters talking about the nature of being we never get an explanation how some deeply religious characters can learn things without trying to reconcile their world view.Stick to Ender's Game. Read the next one, Speaker of the Dead, if you really want to; but avoid Xenocide and Children of the Mind as far as possible.

  • Arielle
    2018-09-28 14:34

    A solid conclusion to the Ender Quartet. It was thoughtfully written and obviously much more than just a science fiction book.A few of my favorite quotes:"But we were there, and during the time we lived, we were alive. That's the truth—what is, what was, what will be—not what could be, what should have been, what never can be. If we die, then our death has meaning to the rest of the universe. Even if our lives are unknown, the fact that someone lived here, and died, that will have repercussions that will shape the universe.""Miro, I'm so sorry. I always felt such pity for you humans because you could only think of one thing at a time and your memories were so imperfect and... now I realize that just getting through the day without killing someone can be an achievement.""Changing the world is good for those who want their names in books. But being happy, that is for those who write their names in the lives of others, and hold the hearts of others as treasure most dear.

  • Evan
    2018-09-24 15:36

    This is more of a review for the entire series. I didn't care much for the first book (Ender's Game), but the surprise ending captivated me enough to read the next book (plus the series was a Christmas present and I didn't want to leave it unread). The second book (Speaker for the Dead) was much better and I love the Speaker for the Dead idea. This is where things in the book get complicated. The third book (Xenocide), whoa, huge leap in time, love how chaotic everything is with the race to save [insert one of many things here]. The ending of the third book threw me off a bit though. The fourth book (Children of the Mind), I can't say much about this book without giving SOME part of it away, so I will keep it simple. Amazing conclusion.Note: certain things in the book may seem a little weird, not in a bad way, just strange

  • Neil
    2018-10-05 17:38

    It's just getting silly now. I'm glad this book 'ends' the Ender saga (even though Card then went on to chuck out some prequels.) It was a great page turner, I think this is something Card does very well - however, the more I read of his work, the more I think this is because I have developed the knack of knowing when to skip one of his long expository paragraphs about how someone feels. As I mentioned in another review, he is very tell not show about his characterization. To be fair, he has so many characters, I think he would be hard pressed to develop the nuances of each individual character in the space he has, but I found myself charging through a great many passages in this book in particular - basically anything dealing with the character of Quara. OK I GET IT SHE'S A CONTRARY BITCH. But wait, is that all she is? Yup, seems like it.Also, people just randomly falling in love. What's with that? Wang Mu loves Peter in a couple of days. With no precursors. Not that I noticed. Miro gets the fever for Young Val - then flips to Jane, but it's Jane in Young Val's body and this is pretty messed up enough to warrant a good chapter or so on identity and sexual vs. mental attraction ... but we don't really get much in the way of why it's OK for Miro to want to hook up with the big 'L' of his life in the body of his recent crush. (Maybe this was made clearer and I didn't notice because I was scratching my head so much at the time...)The Japanese world felt like a halfway decent vision of how such a place might work, but I felt like Card fell into the trap he fell into with Xenocide - overemphasizing the cultural uniqueness of one society to the exclusion of all other outside influences just to have something to drive his plot forward. Actually, the more I write about this, the more I want to give it a lower score. And yet, I left the book oddly entertained.Orson Scott Card, you conflict me so.

  • Duffy Pratt
    2018-10-10 18:51

    In each successive book, Card seems to have honed in on the worst points of the last book and then used them as the focus for the new one. This one mostly involves Ender's very serious identity crisis. He's three different people at once, and apparently has barely enough lifeforce or whatever to sustain two lives at once. So something's got to give.In the meantime, the Lusitania fleet is still hurtling toward the poor planet, and any minute now it might utterly destroy it. One of Ender's selves is using the wishing box to hop from planet to planet to try to convince some powerful people to help stop the fleet. And he's falling in love with Wang-mu. Another of his selves is hopping from planet to planet with the wishing box, but she's trying to find the source for the descolada virus. This is the even bigger crisis, so of course Card leaves it unresolved. But if that turns into yet another sequel, its one that I will gladly miss. And Ender lies at home, dying, his hair falling out. Meanwhile, Jane is having a blast becoming a god who can now seemingly do just about anything at all.There were a few scenes in this book that I truly enjoyed. But I got very tired of the family squabbles, the inexplicable love relationships, the very confusing and unsatisfying identity interchanges, and the sheer ponderousness of it all. When Peter finally confronts the admiral of the Lusitania fleet, it was a refreshing glimpse of how entertaining Card can be, but its also a very grim reminder of how far off the rails this whole series has gone.After Speaker for the Dead, I thought this series had so much promise that I might even go back and finish up the Shadow books. I don't see that happening now. For others interested in this series, I would recommend reading Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead, and Ender's Shadow, and leave it at that.

  • John
    2018-10-09 14:45

    After reading the earlier books in the series, the final installment was really a disappointment. However, since this was essentially the second half of Xenocide (which I actually enjoyed), I pushed myself to finish the book to find out what happens to Ender, the Piggies, the Descolada virus, etc. Sadly, those topics where overwhelmed by the pages and pages devoted to the love stories which were seemingly modeled after a supernatural tween romance. This can be exemplified with the following passage (which was edited as to not give away too much of the plot):~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~She reached up and touched the tears on his cheek. Then she touched her damp finger to her own cheek. The tears commingled."Let's do the civilized thing," she said. "Let's get married."Is this a proposal?" he asked."I'm in a hurry. And you, haven't you wasted enough time, too? Aren't you ready?""But I don't have a ring.""We have something much better than a ring," she said. She touched her cheek again, where she had put his tear. It was still damp; still damp, too, when she touched the finger now to his cheek. "I've had your tears with mine, and you've had mine with yours. I think that's more intimate even than a kiss."~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~If this kind of writing had been sprinkled in a few places in the story, I could have lived with it. However, emoting protagonists became the main thrust of the book and the political and science fiction elements that I so enjoyed from the original book took a back seat. That said, there still were interesting story lines and some of the mysteries from earlier books were resolved, so it may be worth reading if you need closure on the Ender saga...

  • Jeff Yoak
    2018-09-28 16:27

    This book was depressingly awful for me. I've loved this series. Early on I committed to drudging through it as a series with seven novels (before this one) and 9 short stories, ranging from good reads to loved, calls for great patience in reading the last story. I just couldn't make it. "Life is too short." took over.The first full half of the novel consists of pairing off characters, sending them to remote locations, and then switching between scenes of the pairs bickering with each other. Terrible.The next sixth or so of the novel starts to wind up the story and close down the plot. It does so with such spectacular nonsense that I couldn't go on. Not only does it completely abandon even its own rather loose world and drift into fantasy and mysticism, but even with this emerging new world the author creates, the actions of the players don't make sense given their background and motivation.I'll still read Shadow in Flight when it emerges. I still love the series as a whole. No one would take advice to not read just the last novel in a series like this. Too bad.

  • Nancy Meservier
    2018-09-20 13:41

    The end is coming. Starways Congress has sent the little doctor, a weapon that can destroy an entire planet, to the world of Lusitania, regardless of the fact that the Descolada virus has been cured. Meanwhile, they have also discovered the existence of Jane, a computer program that has grown into a being of consciousness, and is planning on destroying her due to her inconvenient interference. It will take the efforts of everyone to stop Starways Congress, save Lusitania, and keep Jane alive.Children of the Mind is the fourth published book in the Ender Saga, and originally the final volume. Before I began this book, I had noticed a trend with the previous Ender books. I enjoyed them all, but loved each book just a little less. I came into Children of the Mind wondering if this downward trend would cease or continue. By the end of the audiobook I felt frustrated and disapointed. It’s true that Children of the Mind has times when it really shines, but there were far too many times when I wanted to chuck my mp3 player out the car window.Let’s start out with the positive. Much how I enjoyed learning about the Chinese/Taoist inspired planet of path in Xenocide, I enjoyed seeing the Ender universe expand even further to a Japanese inspired planet, and a Samoan inspired one. I enjoyed further exploring the motivations of Young Val and Peter (created accidentally by Ender’s thoughts in Xenocide).There were also moments when the novel was heartbreakingly beautiful, reminding me why I picked up this series in the first place.At the same time, Children of the Mind is a very uneven novel. One of the things that bothered me about Xenocide is I felt that there was too much infighting among the characters. Apparently Card did not agree with me because it felt like half of Children of the Mind was made up of fighting, from petty bickering to full on screaming matches, which seemed absolutely ridiculous considering the sensitive timelines the characters had to deal with. It also resulted in characters that had so far been interesting becoming unlikable, including Ender who up until this moment had been one of my favorite characters in sci-fi. I was also uncomfortable with how this book treated it's female characters. This can be seen with the harsh treatment of Young Val who was just expected to stop existing because she wasn’t a “real” while Peter appeared to be somehow more legitimate, if incomplete, despite the fact that their situations were identical. This can also be seen with how so many of the female characters became marked with ugly jealous, either of Jane or another female character. Is this really written by the same person who gave us such great female characters as Valentine? The book presented more problems as well. There’s really only so many times when something impossible is required to solve an issue and the characters somehow do it, before it starts to grate on ones nerves. I also felt the two romantic pairings that popped up in this book to feel shoe-horned in for convience sake. After much grappling with my own issues surrounding Children of the Mind, I have come to the conclusion that regardless of it’s bright moments, there were just too many that made me want to tear out my hair to consider this to be a good book. It is worth noting that the audiobook production was put together quite well, despite the fact that it couldn’t seem to decide if it wanted to be a full cast or a straight recording with multiple voices. I would really only recommend reading this if you’ve enjoyed the series up until now and really want to see how it ends, and even then I wouldn’t rush out to get it.

  • Scott
    2018-09-28 12:28

    By far the Ender's book I enjoyed the least. It's overwrought with half-baked, twice-explained philosophical discussions that add very little in terms of content, while doubling the page count. Every chapter is full of extended monologues that come out of nowhere, don't seem realistic, and appear to simply appease the author's need expound upon purely theoretical philosophies in worlds that, by definition, only exist in his head/stories, since its fiction. In Xenocide, Card is able to keep the discussion about other alien species kind of topical and moral, but here it goes off the rails and just embellishes a bunch of terrible discourse on things that aren't real, and things that don't matter to anyone. Even worse, there's a big plot cliffhanger that isn't addressed at all as mattering, and then the next books that were published in the series are all flashbacks that won't answer one of, if not THE only interesting storylines that is in play. Frustrating, and mostly boring, is my short review.

  • Caitlin
    2018-09-22 19:55

    I loved Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead, but disliked Xenocide so I was hoping this one would live up to the first two books, it failed.This book spent way to much time thinking and talking and not enough doing. Also people just changed their minds and it didn't make sense why they had. The end didn't work for me (view spoiler)[neither did Ender's death and the body sharing/switching (hide spoiler)] . So read the first two and don't bother with the rest.

  • Brett
    2018-09-26 11:41

    What could have been the saving grace of the Ender series, ends up being another way to further cast Ender as unimportant and a memory of the past.Card artfully finds a way to resolve all of the conflicts in this conclusion to the series. However, instead of placing rationality between the characters and their relationships, he causes silly events, like people getting married who know almost nothing about each other and allowing one of the anti-heroes to consume the good, true heroes, well before their time.I wish I hadn't tried to keep finding sanity in this series. My advise is for those who loved Ender's Game and find Ender to be an inspiring hero, don't read further than Ender's Game, or if necessary Speaker for the Dead. I wish I had stopped at Ender's Game.

  • Mayasaurio
    2018-10-11 11:44

    un libro entretenido, de la saga me parece la culminacion adecuada, ya que su analisis sobre la religion, politica y economia tiene un fin correcto con preguntas al aire que debemos responder a nuestra forma.

  • Simon Mcleish
    2018-09-30 13:51

    Originally published on my blog here in July 2001.The story of Ender Wiggin, one of the most famous in modern science fiction, is brought to a close in this novel, originally intended to be part of Xenocide, from which it follows on immediately. The planet of Lusitania, home of the hive queen saved by Ender and of the third sentient species known to mankind, the pequeninos, is threatened with destruction by a fleet sent by the Starways Congress, because it is infected by the devastating descolada virus.The virus has been genetically modified to make it harmless, but the fleet heading to Lusitania does not know this. This is because the instantaneous communication device, the ansible, is being turned off because a computer program has been detected using it to gain unauthorised access to computers across the galaxy (you would have thought that the people designing the network would have learned some of the security lessons of the twentieth century Internet). This program, known as Jane, is the last hope of Lusitania, as she is able to make use of the vast amount of computing power to move ships instantaneously - but as she loses access to machines she as rapidly losing the power to do so.The plot of the novel is quite simple, being basically an unravelling of the strands in the situation inherited from Xenocide. The main interest is actually theological, something extremely unusual in genre fiction. Card has conceived of the soul as an immortal entity, normally inhabiting the Outside, a region beyond normal space and time used for the faster than light travel, but sometimes taking up residence in a sentient being. This is not a new idea, but Card looks at it in a new way. For example, the soul of Ender - Card calls them aiuas, probably to avoid the religious connotations of the word soul - is split between three bodies during his first trip Outside, one his own, and the others created from nothing in the images of his early siblings as they were in early adulthood, Valentine being that part of his personality he most admires and Peter that which he fears. The nature of the two of them is really the central theme of the novel, and is its biggest problem.The plot is rather neatly worked out, and the writing gives something of the impression that once he'd planned it, Card lost interest, and that the Peter and Valentine characters are too one dimensional (being just aspects of another personality) for him to be interested in them. Things rather suddenly improve about two thirds of the way through, when the character of Ender looks as though he might die; this is something that the author can care about.The aiua idea is interesting, but a bit problematic in a fictional setting because it is very tempting to use it as though it were a magic wand. It isn't too well defined, and so there are no rules that Card imposes on himself. As a result, Children of the Mind springs no surprises and has nothing to say. The relation between the material universe and the Outside is one of the areas left undefined; it would be interesting to have some issues in the novel which are more to do with how the physical and non-physical affect each other, as this is really at the heart of how Card's model could work.The novel has smaller problems as well (the treatment of Japanese and Samoan culture, for example, feels perfunctory and stereotyped) and so is not among Card's best; it is a sad end to a wonderful series.