Date Read: 12.28.08
Book From: BNN Piracy now Personal Collection
After Emera posted her Shadow Puppets review, I was inspired to dig this up, so here it is.
After the Bugger Wars, Ender is caught in social crossfire and a political tug-of-war on Earth; as a result, he ultimately decides to embark on a deep space colonization journey with his sister Valentine. Through the eyes of other colonials, Ender’s Battle School acquaintances and mentors, and Ender himself, we learn of Ender’s journey to becoming Speaker for the Dead. Along the way he encounters many of his old Battle School jeesh and finds himself once again involved in and responsible for their actions.
This will be a rather spotty review– at the time I read Ender in Exile, I simply wrote down different aspects or parts that really jumped out at me or about which I had something to say. And since that is what I have to work with, that is what you’ll get.
I picked this up (like I suspect most others did) after having been away from the Ender universe for years. So many things were disconcerting yet familiar… such as the ever-present discrepancy between the age and maturity of characters. For example, whenever Card reminded us that Ender was 12, I would do a huge double-take. Same with Valentine. And Virlomi. And basically all other world/nation leaders. When I read Ender’s Game as a child, I thought the concept was brilliant, and really admired Ender and his jeesh for being so ahead of their time and age. However, the more I read into the Ender universe the more I wonder if it’s possibly Card‘s inability, disregard, or lack of willingness to embrace the YA characters and genre.
Ender in Exile definitely lacks the same passion I felt in earlier books, both passion of the writer for his creation and passion of interactions between characters. I remember reading it with a sense of obligation, despite having still not completed the Ender arc. I actually avoided reading Ender in Exile for a while because I just found the first hardback edition so unbecoming– it is glossy, oversized, heavy, and overall, physically tasteless. When I finally sat down to read it in the bookstore, I remember it took me a couple visits to chug through the rather unengaging plot. It felt like Card himself was writing out of a sense of obligation rather than excitement because the prose and action felt so passive. But I probably shouldn’t speak for the author =X
Ender in Exile did, however, tie up some loose ends which would definitely be a plus for anyone left hanging at the end of the current Bean arc. We learn of Virlomi’s future after her stint as a veritable living goddess in India, and the fate of the lost child of Bean. Card also unveils Graff’s fate and develops the story of Ender’s parents.
There is also a small bit of character development for Ender. I felt like at the start of the novel, Ender was mentally 60 years old, and he emerged a 70 year old at the end. You can really sense and feel the burden of his responsibilities and past as he is given no other choice but to flee into exile far from his home planet. Although I wasn’t a fan of the book overall, there were plenty of parts that made me cheer for Ender (namely dealing with action and romance) and brought me back to the good ol’ days of Ender’s Game.
On a different note, I am pleased to say that I have a first edition, signed copy of Ender in Exile. A while back, I went a-book-hunting, and after deciding that the $1000 signed 1st edition of Ender’s Game would put me on the streets, I settled for a much more reasonably priced signed 1st edition of Ender in Exile. I kind of just really wanted to see Card‘s signature in real life– and for your curiosity, it is big and loopy =)