Saturday, April 25, 2015

Children of the Mind

Children of the Mind (The Ender Quintet, #4)Children of the Mind by Orson Scott Card
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sum it up in a sentence (or two): The grand and sweeping conclusion to the Ender Quartet, which picks up exactly where Xenocide leaves off: the buggers, piggies, and humans of Lusitania are in danger of extinction by government-ordered demolition so Wang-mu and young Peter seek to save Jane and stop the deadly fleet headed to Lusitania while Miro and young Val seek to find replacement planets for everyone. (This probably only makes sense if you've read the first three books in the series.)

First thoughts: I'm glad I didn't wait too long to finish this part of the Ender Saga. I'm not sure how many of Orson Scott Card's books I'll read, but these four (Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, and Children of the Mind) create a complete story and should be read together in a timely manner. Because the story of Xenocide was still fresh in my mind, it didn't take me long to get invested in the action of Children of the Mind.

Favorite characters: all the usual suspects: Ender, Valentine, Miro, Jane, Wang-mu, young Peter, young Val.

Favorite quotes:
"I find out what I really want by seeing what I do." -Ender, p57

"All the stories are fictions. What matters is which fiction you believe." -Valentine, p199

"That's life. It hurts, it's dirty, and it feels very, very good." -Wang-mu, p221

"Some days we'll be desperately sad and some days we'll be so happy we can hardly contain it. I can live with that." -Wang-mu, p350

"To keep the joy of childhood you would have to die as a child, or live as one, never becoming a man, never growing." -Valentine, p356

Philosophic Notions: OSC must've had a lot on his mind when he wrote Children of the Mind (which is, technically, just the second half of Xenocide, and makes more sense with that title). Each character takes a turn as a mouthpiece on the topics of what makes us human (the good, the bad, the messy, the exhilarating), how we interact as a species, foreign policy, the nature of being "alien," religion and God/god worship, and the potential of technology, among others. Besides a book with a clear plot/problem to solve, it's also a tale of humanity.

Final thoughts: a solid end to the Ender Quartet, which, in hindsight, is more about Jane than Ender. Yes, the final conclusion did feel a little deus ex machina, but I'm okay with that. Characters learned lessons (or not), story lines got their due, and there were plenty of quippy one-liners to go around.

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