Xenocide by Orson Scott Card

December 4, 2008
By Liam Dalton, Carrboro, NC

Five thousand years after the events of Ender's Game, Ender is back. This time however there is a twist of fate, and Ender is trying to figure out a way to save two alien races taking residence on the planet Lusitania: The Pequeninos, a primitive race resembling biped pigs -- and the Buggers, the insect-like race that Ender defeated at a young age, and gained his legacy. The Starways Congress, the central government unifying the colonies of humanity, has realized that the Pequeninos require a virus fatal to humans to pass into adulthood. They fear the effects of this virus so much that they send a fleet of warships to Lusitania in an attempt to destroy it, and defeat the virus. The fleet, however, disappears….

This volume in the Ender Quartet is much deeper than Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead, and it is also much more human. It explores concepts of religion, racism, love genocide, family, and redemption, and brings it all together in a smart mix, and that left me unable to put the book down at times. The focus of the book is less on the plot, and more on the characters. It builds on what you know about all the characters, and shows how they are different and how they are the same.

Despite all this I felt that at times Card talked too much about the characters, and that the ending was weak. Cliffhangers are okay for some elements of a book but I don't think that the main dilemma in the book should have been saved until the next book to be resolved. All in all I felt that Xenocide was a great book and any science fiction fan, or anyone who enjoyed Ender's Game should check it out.

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