Hello my bookish lovelies!
So I realize the Blog Schedule told you that there was not going to be any kind of official or informative post today due to lasers burning into my corneas tomorrow. :S
BUT it just so happens that I finished my book review of Xenocide, by Orson Scott Card, early! So I thought that I would post it now, instead of four days from now, to give you all something to read about while my eyes glue them selves back together. So, without further ado…
Xenocide by Orson Scott Card
If you haven’t seen my two previous book reviews, I’m working on the classic Ender Series by Orson Scott Card. If you’re interested, check out my review of Ender’s Game (book 1) and my review of Speaker for the Dead (book 2).
The first thing I noticed about Xenocide, book three in the series, is that it was much longer than the first two. Almost twice as long actually. As a testament to how good it was, it didn’t take me much longer to read.
At the beginning of Xenocide we are introduced to another planet, a colony called Path. Path is a world developed from Chinese culture. Some citizens of path, when they are children, show the traits of being Godspoken; the need to clean their hands until they bleed, other strange compulsions, and extremely high intelligence. If they do in fact prove to be Godspoken they are educated and become part of the elite that rules the people of this planet. The Godspoken are supposed to hear the voices of the Gods, and whenever they do or think something unworthy, they must cleanse themselves. At first the reader is led to believe that sixteen year old godspoken woman Qing Jao is going to play a major part in the story, but really it turns out to be her personal servant, Si Wang-mu. I don’t want to give anything away, but let’s just say that these traits that show a person to be godspoken are more than they seem, and the entire belief system of Path is about to be turned upside down.
Until the two worlds begin communicating, Xenocide jumps back and forth between the storyline on path and the story that continues from Speaker for the Dead. The fleet from the previous book, armed with a device capable of destroying entire planets, is still en route and Ender, Ela, Grego, Miro and all the other characters from Speaker for the Dead are desperately working to solve all the different problems that threaten them and the other two intelligent species now living on Lusitania.
This was really a book of philosophy, which is what pushed me from giving it four stars to giving it five. Much of the book is spent delving into the nature of reality itself. The characters are facing huge problems, like solving faster than light travel, the need to stop a devastating, semi-intelligent virus while keeping all of its traits that provide life to the Piggies, and the quest to save Jane, the intelligence that has been born in the huge complex web of information constantly passing between worlds. The interesting thing is that they often solve these problems by telling their ideas to intelligent, but uneducated people; specifically Si Wang Mu. Her questions, though they sound simple, often provide insights that lead the characters to not only discovering the most basic elements of nature, but also the very nature of consciousness and where it comes from. It explores questions of the soul, what it is made of, where it comes from, and what types of life can have it. The book stresses intelligence over education, creativity over compliance, and sacrifice for a greater good.
It’s not all learning. It is a fun book to read and there’s plenty of personal drama, such as the constant fight between Grego and Quara, the strained relationship between Ender and Novinha, and more than one terrible death.
As with the other books, Card’s writing keeps a reader interested even when there is no action. Over all it was an extremely interesting book, well-written, and hard to put down. I especially recommend it to anyone who enjoys thinking about moral and philosophical concepts.