Sarah's Reviews > Children of the Mind

Children of the Mind by Orson Scott Card
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's review
Oct 25, 2010

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bookshelves: fantasy, ender, novel
Read in July, 2006

Card masterfully fulfills his aim of concluding the story of Andrew Wiggin with his fourth book in the "Ender" series, Children of the Mind.

While this book concludes Ender's story, it's surprising how little of him is actually required in the text. I suppose the argument could be that because the book is focuses on the children of Andrew's mind introduced in Xenocide, that the book is still essentially about Ender. While I'll agree that the continuation of the Young Val and Peter bodies is a good reason not to grieve the "retirement" of Ender too much, I think one of the book's important points is that while those bodies share a part of Ender's aida (which is pronounced nothing like it looks), in order to become whole persons, they need to find a whole aida and do it in their own way to become whole persons.

With both this and Xenocide I was amazed at how much things changed from the first to the second half of the book. Each book begins essentially where the previous left off with the setting essentially unchanged. That may be why Children started off a little slowly, but in all the elaboration of the way things were left at the end of Xenocide were clues to the immense changes about to take place. The world opened up to Jane, and consequently to everyone else, in Xenocide but that was only the beginning as she discovers even more about her abilities in Children.

Some complain that there wasn't enough action, but seriously, how did you get this far in the series if you wanted action? All of these books have a significant mental component. Ender's Game takes place primarily in Ender's head. Speaker for the Dead deals on the one hand with the pain of Novhina's tortured family and on the other with the ethical dilemmas of dealing with another sentient species. Xenocide deals with the same concerns, only this time with the descolada, so why should Children be any different with the recurring concerns about committing xenocide and the central debate over what makes a person unique.

Card promises in the afterword of the audio version that there will be a book to tie together events that take place after the Children with his Shadow series (which chronicles the lives of those around Ender Wiggin), so this isn't really the end of Ender's world. Really, I think Card will never be done with Ender. In all the afterwords of the quartet he talked about how he expected that book to be the end of Ender until someone or something convnced him to tell another volume of the story. I'm not surprised, considering the engaging world he's created just in the telling of Ender's story, let alone the facets he added (but I have yet to read about) in the Shadow stories.

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