Book Review – Children of the Mind

Children of the Mind by Orson Scott Card

Well this is it…the end of a spectacular series that I started on a random chance choice off a 100 book long “to read” list. To read my reviews of the first three books, click here.

I started Ender’s Game thinking this was a six book series because of how they were listed on the particular site I had come across. With this book I discovered that the Ender Series is actually only four books, though there are quite a few others that are spin-offs from the same world. Though I will probably get to them one day, I decided the original series is enough for now, and I will move on to the next book on my list.

Children of the Mind was a great book, but more emotional than the others. I’ve mentioned in my other reviews how the psychology of Card’s characters is fascinating, and much of the action is based on their relationships. This book is no different, but it seems to focus more on romantic relationships than the others did, which is what took it from 5 stars to 4 for me. Ender trying to fix his broken marriage, Miro trying to figure out if he’s in love with a girl or a computer program, Peter being all tortured and only “half complete” because of Ender’s soul trying to fill three bodies. Don’t get me wrong, the book still kept me reading all the way through…but on this one it was more a testament to Card’s fantastic writing ability than the story itself.

There were certainly some interesting parts to the story too though. Wang-mu, as in the third book, was extremely interesting in her intelligence and her ability to take on even the highest scholars in a contest of wits. Peter threw me off, but kept me interested because he was in fact NOT like the original Peter in Ender’s Game, and upon the discovery of another special planet there was plenty of science and philosophy of ethics and human nature.

Everything seemed to be solved fairly easily compared to the heart-wrenching moral dilemmas of the others, but I suppose that’s the price of ending a series. Everything has to wind up, and it did quite nicely, in a way you would never imagine at the beginning of the series. It is not one of those series that leaves you crying, throwing your book at the wall, or grieving over the great losses the heroes had to withstand in order for the overall good; it leaves you content that everything worked out, everything from all the way back when Ender was a kid. A content feeling, but not one that was exceptionally powerful, at least not for me. A person who is a fan of romance stories will probably feel the ending more powerfully.

One thing I found interesting was that originally Card meant the last three books to be the series. Speaker For the Dead and half of Xenocide was the first book, and then the other half of Xenocide and Children of the Mind was the last book. Ender’s Game was an afterthought, and I felt like I noticed that more in this book than in the others. The last three books flow along a seamless timeline where as there is a 3000 year gap between the first book and the last three. And in this one, Ender plays less of a part and I believe it’s because originally the Peter in this one was Ender. I didn’t find this out til after I finished Children of the mind and read Card’s notes in the back of it, but it made sense to me because there was a sense of that at the end, at least for me. Like the new Peter and Valentine should have had longer to become beloved characters like Ender, Novinha, and Miro had. It wasn’t a bad thing…this really didn’t affect the flow of the book at all, and I really enjoyed it. But you CAN tell that these are two different stories that were fused together.

Anyway, like I said, still was a fast and good read, and an absolute necessity if you’re going to read the Ender Series. So, the books of this series are ranked by most favorite to least favorite as:

1. Ender’s Game
2. Xenocide
3. Speaker For the Dead
4. Children of the Mind

Don’t read them in that order though, or you’ll be thoroughly confused 🙂


About Lisa Taylor

Hello! I'm an author, and in my time as an author I've realized that there are thousands of authors out there that just don't get the attention they deserve. So I'm hosting this "Writer's Block Party" so you can get to know the people that create the stories we all love!
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3 Responses to Book Review – Children of the Mind

  1. I’ve read Ender’s Game a long time ago but I heard the rest of the books were a letdown. I might read them now though…

    • Lisa Taylor says:

      They were different from Ender’s Game, but I’d far from say a let down. Card’s writing is as superb through the last three as it is through Ender’s Game, and they are all similar in that much of the action takes place in the development of characters, whether it be in Ender or in the people Ender meets. I definitely recommend the whole series 🙂

  2. Pingback: Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card (Tor, 1994) | The Archaeologist's Guide to the Galaxy.. by Thomas Evans

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