**spoiler alert** Standard caveat that I would feel much happier reading these series if Orson Scott Card the author weren't so hateful towards gay pe...more**spoiler alert** Standard caveat that I would feel much happier reading these series if Orson Scott Card the author weren't so hateful towards gay people. He's a lovely writer, but sadly stuck in his ways about the civil and legal rights of homosexuals in the US. I wish very much that he would revise his opinions about gay people, many of whom no doubt enjoy his novels (guiltily, like me).
(Read after re-reading Ender's Game on 11/02/12, Speaker for the Dead on 12/11/12, and Xenocide on 01/08/13.)
Cutting right to the chase as a follow-up to my review of Xenocide: I did not enjoy reading this book. I have been steadily losing interest in this branch of the series ever since Speaker for the Dead. At least that novel still had something strange & alien & mysterious that the story was leading up to a climactic moment when the answers would become clear. But I found Xenocide pretty dull, and this one was dull as bricks. Here I tore through Ender's Game in like 3 days (even the third time reading it), and had the same feelings about Ender's Shadow and the very recent Earth Unaware (and crossing my fingers for the sequel Earth Afire)... and this one I forgot to read for days at a time! Only pushed through so I could say I completed the series.
I felt basically no connection to any of the characters here, despite the fact that we've been following them for 3 books. Even worse, I found them largely flat, and was disappointed that Card spent basically NO time illuminating the affection that grew between the 2 couples. It was just assumed!!! Which is absurd. Peter and Wang-Mu fall for each other, Miro and Val/Jane fall for each other. But... none of this is shown. It's like Card doesn't think people have any actual feelings, they just instantly bond with whatever other single human is confined in the same space with them for any period of time. Not to mention that Wang-Mu apparently falls for Peter despite him basically acting like a jerk towards her. He levels out later, but she's already seriously crushing on him while he's a big jerk? I don't think so. I have seen before that this is the kind of "relationship development" that passes for adequate in the science-fiction / primarily directed at a male audience genre, but it doesn't fly with me.
This book was too talky talky and thinky thinky, with not nearly enough action. You'd think the impending total destruction of a planet full of characters would have felt at least somewhat exciting, but there was not a moment of tension! And, I've enjoyed how Card builds tension in some of his other novels, so I'm not crazy - it's just not here. Even when the fleet actually launches the weapon, not for a single moment did I doubt that Jane was going to somehow (lamely, hokily) save the day. Talk about dull.
I hate Plikt. Not like, I hate her as a person but at least she's interesting to read about. Rather, I have completely had no interest in any moment of her 3-novel character arc, and I wish Card hadn't included her at all. She is an utterly one-dimensional character who apparently has no interests in life other than devoting herself to a man who has little interest in her, and I was annoyed every time she showed up. Waste of a character, who does nothing to move the plot along other than finally have one offensive shouting match with some other women, which makes me wonder what Card thinks of women in addition to homosexuals.
I could complain on more points, but it's hardly worth it. In summary: not good sci-fi, poorly/flatly written characters, complete lack of excitement/tension, I do not recommend it. Read Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead, sure, but don't bother with these 2 unless you're looking for a totally different genre that includes the same characters but is super dull and makes you want to read something else entirely.(less)