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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Only Regret: Wish it wouldn't End.
As a reader, I didn't find Ender's Game to be particularly great or noteworthy when I first read it. The plot just seemed like your standard "Ohhh, Big Bad Alien Insects invade and good ol' humans have to defend themselves" kind of theme. Card's characterization of Ender Wiggin, however, was truly extraordinary in both his depth and pyschological accuracy...
Published on July 26, 1999

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139 of 154 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More an "epilogue" than a fourth book in this classic series
Having read and loved the first three books in the Ender series, there was no way I was going to miss this entry. Like so many others, though, I am of split mind about the finale (and how appropriate, given the schizophrenic existence of its lead characters Ender-Peter and Val-Jane). While "Children of the Mind" does contain Card's trademark wit and while the last 100...
Published on August 23, 2003 by D. Cloyce Smith


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139 of 154 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More an "epilogue" than a fourth book in this classic series, August 23, 2003
By 
This review is from: Children of the Mind (The Ender Quintet) (Mass Market Paperback)
Having read and loved the first three books in the Ender series, there was no way I was going to miss this entry. Like so many others, though, I am of split mind about the finale (and how appropriate, given the schizophrenic existence of its lead characters Ender-Peter and Val-Jane). While "Children of the Mind" does contain Card's trademark wit and while the last 100 pages kick into high gear, the final installment, on its own, is as unsatisfying as it is pleasing.
One of the major problems is Card's ill-considered decision to publish "Xenocide" and "Children of the Mind" as two books rather than one cohesive unit; the fourth entry seems more an epilogue to the series--a 350-page denouement--than the climax it should have been. Card admits he originally planned the two books as one work, and this admission resonates like an apology. Well over a third of "Children of the Mind" summarizes what happened in previous volumes, and another third is riddled with endless conversations on political and metaphysical topics, many of which the characters already debated at length in "Xenocide." Only in the last 100 pages does Card finally abandon the themes that were presented more thoroughly (and competently) in the earlier books and turn his attention to resolving the many loose ends. In sum, Card would have been much wiser to have written a unified 600-page book rather than 900 needlessly repetitive pages.
The second problem is that Card's philosophical ruminations often steer awfully close to quasi-religious mumbo-jumbo. The entire section set on Pacifica, a planet governed by Samoans, feels particularly incongruous. (Peter and Wang-mu wonder aloud--twice--what they are doing on this particular world, a question that is never really fully addressed.) True--some of the philosophical questions are fascinating, but there's very little that wasn't already said better and more succinctly in "Xenocide," and the dialogue is often excruciatingly shallow. Take this conversation between Valentine and Novinha, which reads in part:
"You didn't really need him anymore." "He never needed me." "He needed you desperately," said Valentine. "He needed you so much he gave up Jane for you." "No," said Novinha, "He needed my need for him. He needed to feel like he was providing for me, protecting me." "But you don't need his providence or his protection anymore."
I wish I could tell you this bit of dizzying dialogue is an exception, but there are similar angst-ridden conversations between Miro and Val, Peter and Wang-mu--in short, between any two characters who feel the need to explain to each other their raison d'etre. In the earlier books, Card allowed metaphysical questions to arise as much from the actions of the characters and the development of the plot as from the dialogue; in "Children of the Mind," everyone seems to be in post-Freudian interplanetary counseling.
Yet the book is not a wholesale disaster; and I particularly enjoyed the page-turning final resolution, even though it relies on a melodramatic sleight of hand. If the last third of "Children of the Mind" were merged with a pared-down version of "Xenocide," the whole would probably have been equal to the excellence of the first two books in the Ender series.
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66 of 71 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I Hated This Book So Much I Couldn't Give It 1 Star, August 2, 2008
By 
Danielle L. Petty (Philadelphia, PA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
About halfway through "Children of the Mind" I realized that I hated it. With a passion. Anything that evokes so much passion can't be worthless. That's why I'm giving it 3 stars. If you loved the first three books as much as I did, you may similarly feel a strong emotion when you read this one. It's not exactly boring. I just felt like I was in another universe trying to understand what in the world Card was doing.

Why do I hate it so much? Because the characters are all varying degrees of unsympathetic, and all of the major action surrounds Card's weird new mysticism, rather than the intense ethical dilemmas of the previous books. This book is like the opposite of the other books and I couldn't understand why. No one is rational, no one is wise, no one has any empathy at all. The spirit of Ender Wiggin doesn't exist in this book.

No, Ender isn't really present in this book. Card would like you to believe that he is, in the form of Peter and Valentine, Ender's "children of the mind", but I found those characters frustrating and unbelievable and not at all like any side of Ender. Interestingly, they could be viable characters on their own, but Card insists on treating them as if they are not real people and we should not care what happens to them (especially Young Valentine who is subjected to extreme emotional torture but we're not supposed to care about her feelings, she's just an "empty vessel").

No strong characters rise up to replace the absence of Ender. Card tries, with Miro (who becomes loathsome in my opinion)and Peter (all the fun sociopathy drained out of him). With the exception of Wang-Mu, all of the female characters come off looking really bad. You'll wonder why Ender married Novinha, as awful, self-centered and destructive as she is. You'll wonder why you didn't realize (Old) Valentine was such a self-righteous prig before. You'll wonder when Jane became so extraordinarily selfish and annoying.

Far too much time is spent on the planet Pacifica, a planet apparently inhabited by self-righteous and rude religious nuts. The chief one being a holy man who doesn't "believe in ceremony" yet insists any roof he eats under be burned because he is oh so holy. And did I tell you that we are supposed to love these Pacifican nuts? That they are supposedly so wise and above everyone else that main characters are reduced to tears and supplication?

If you want to know how the situation with the Lusitanian fleet is resolved and what happens to Ender and the gang, then go ahead and read this book. I thought everything that happened was backwards and wrong but hey, that's just me.
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Should never have been written, November 4, 2003
By 
znatic (Los Angeles, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Children of the Mind (The Ender Quintet) (Mass Market Paperback)
I highly recommend NOT reading this book, which managed to diminish the magic of Ender's Game for me. Stop at Xenocide, which was pretty good, and skip straight to Ender's Shadow, which is VERY good. This book is exceedingly disjointed, makes way too much of the Valentine/Peter dichotomy, and is boring, boring, boring. Where I couldn't put the other Ender books down, I had to really struggle to finish this one. And then wished I hadn't.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Only for those in absolute need of resolution, November 15, 2004
This review is from: Children of the Mind (The Ender Quintet) (Mass Market Paperback)
I never thought I would say this about a book in this series, but I hate this book. I was absolutely disappointed with the way Card chose to resolve his story. I'll give him license since he may do what he will with his story, but I feel so bitter about this ending to such a magnificent saga that I can't recommend this to anybody that isn't dying of curiousity at the end of "Xenocide".

And to those who believe you fit in this category, I'm sorry for the feelings you will like possess upon completion. I honestly feel the same unrest now as I did when I finished "Xenocide". I hope everyday that Card will come to his senses and revise his plot here to be more logical, less rushed, more conclusive (which some may argue with), and more fulfilling to a character of such quality as Ender Wiggin.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Epitomizes the law of diminishing returns., July 24, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Children of the Mind (The Ender Quintet) (Mass Market Paperback)
Talk about pretentious -- in the afterword to Children of the Mind, Orson Scott Card compares himself to Nobel Prize winning author Kenzaburo Oe. And that really illustrates the problems not only with this latest novel, but the problem of the Ender series, in general.
Card is so taken with moral and character dilemmas that he gives short shrift to the actual plot of the story. It might be acceptable if Card had the craft and skill of good "mainstream" author, but he is so heavy-handed that his attempts at literary depth are embarassing.
Ender's Game was a great novel because Card did a magnificent job of compression; the result was a taut, gripping and moving story. Speaker For The Dead was a very good novel because the main plot involving the mystery of piggy culture and biology was strong enough to carry the reader past the bland soap opera of the Portugese biologist's family.
But the third novel, Xenocide, completely collapsed under its weight, and C! hildren of the Mind -- after starting with what is admittedly a touching scene with Ender and his wife in the monastery -- dissolves into a mess. Any interesting plot flow that might have moved the book forward stops dead every time -- and there are many of them -- Mr. Card yields to his didactic side and inserts a boring, almost expository, conversation about the meaning of reality.
Mr. Card also continues another unfortunate trend that began in Speaker For the Dead, as he again speculates on how different ethnic cultures might handle space colonization. No doubt the author is exploring his own well-intentioned curiosity about other people, but his literary clumsiness again betrays him and the results are parodies, such as Japanese wisemen spouting Lotus wisdom and Pacific Islanders who have the wherewithal for space travel but still row on bamboo craft to speak to primitive prophets. It's as annoying as the Catholic Portugese stereotypes that populated Speaker and as insul! ting as Xenocide's Chinese Geniuses-Who-Speak-Like-Confuciu! s.
Children of the Mind tries to give us a cliffhanger ending with an interesting mystery to be explored, but although the sci-fi concept itself does have its intrigue, I just can't take any more of these characters.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievably bad end to a great series, February 18, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Children of the Mind (The Ender Quintet) (Mass Market Paperback)
It's probably pointless to try and convince someone not to read this book, as anyone completing the first three in the series would almost certainly want to read the next chapter. However, know that Children of the Mind feels like it was cranked out in a weekend, and besides being weakly written, it's outrageously boring and far-fetched. Any "reality" (a relative term to science fiction) which grounded the first three books is gone here. Ender's Game is great, Speaker for the Dead is different but every bit as good, and Xenocide begins the slide in the series, as Card loses steam and begins losing his grip on his own creation. Finally, Children of the Mind was a chore to read. I eventually skipped most of the last third and went to the end. It was so bad, in fact, that it ended my interest in reading Orson Scott Card, at least for the time being. In the end, Children of the Mind is about as essential to the Ender saga as the new Star Wars movies are to the original trilogy (basically an hack-job of a follow-up). Avoid.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Children of the Mind a Poor Closeout to a terrific Saga, August 7, 2000
This review is from: Children of the Mind (The Ender Quintet) (Mass Market Paperback)
In classic Card style, Card breaks off completely from the story that he has been telling for the past 3 books to unburden his soul and really spell out in blatant terms his opinions on life, the universe, and everything else. This book completes the Ender Saga in a rather roundabout way, really not dealing with Ender in any way/shape/form. Instead it goes on to tell the story of Ender's evil brother Peter who was born out of Ender's fear and his pairing with a servant girl who beleives in serving her god. This book is so philisophical I think Card is overshooting his audience a bit. For those who enjoyed the series as a story, they will not find any joy in this book at all, as it really is a weak storyline. For those that were taking the depper route they too will feel cheated as Card underestimates their intelligence and blatantly explains the story he is trying to share with everyone in a rather direct manner.
If you have read the first 3 books then you will want to read this one to enjoy the end of the story, but if you have not read an Ender's book before, this is not the place to start.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I wasted my time so you don't have to, January 11, 2013
I just finished this book and I read it not too long after reading 'Xenocide'. I really should review 'Xenocide' but I wanted to get this out while it was still fresh since 'Children of the Mind' was so awful. A full review of 'Xenocide', though, isn't really necessary since both books are terrible and suffer from the same flaws.

The big problem with this book is that Card violates the 'Show, Don't Tell' rule of writing. This book consists almost exclusively of long dialogue between characters and very long monologues and/or character ruminations. Even though a lot is happening in the book - colonies of buggers, pequeninos, and Lusitanians are moving off-world; the Starways Congress Fleet is traveling to Lusitania to destroy it; Peter and [the hyper-annoying] Wang-Mu are conducting Card's ridiculous idea of shuttle diplomacy - Card only ever has characters talk about it, rather than have the reader along for the ride. Card even takes the excitement out of space flight for Pete's sake.

Then there is Card's half-baked morality/philosophy baked into the crust of this turd pie. For example, Peter's 'mission' is to sway political opinion against the fleet's use of the Molecular Disruptor (M.D., or the Little Doctor, first seen in 'Ender's Game'). They do this by going to exactly two planets - neo-Japan and, I'm not making this up, neo-Samoa! They have exactly two meetings (one on each planet) with two philosopher/academic types. These meetings consist of some pseudo-philosophical claptrap that is supposed to pass for weighty jousting of ideas of serious moment and then, presto! change-o! political opinion in the Congress of ONE HUNDRED WORLDS is changed and an order goes out telling the fleet not to use the Little Doctor!

Then there is the pointless conflict and endless hand wringing over where Jane's soul (or aiua) will go. It's obvious that Jane will end up in the Young Val that returns from the initial faster-than-light space flight at the end of 'Xenocide'. But that doesn't stop Card from allowing his characters (such as they are) from arguing and bickering endlessly about it. As if that's not bad enough, the conflict is repeated (albeit on a blessedly smaller scale) with the question of where Ender's soul will go when he dies. (If you haven't figured out that it's Peter, hit yourself in the head with a hammer.)

Which brings me to yet another annoying thing about this book - the endless bickering between the characters. It's not enough that the book is endless dialogue. It's a lot of endless bickering, sniping and malicious psychoanalysis between the characters. First of all, very, very few people (and when I say 'very, very few' I mean none) has the acumen that Card's characters have. No-one really knows what anyone else is really thinking or why they do what they do. This makes it all the more unforgivable for Card to saddle the book with loads of shrill attacks between Jane and Ender, Jane and Miro, Young Val and Miro, Peter and Wang-Mu, Ender and Novinha, Quara and everyone! It reminded me of why I stopped reading Card's Homecoming series, which suffered from the same shortcoming.

Also, Card doesn't pass up the opportunity to re-hash all his earlier sermo - I mean, arguments from the previous three books about how it is wrong for one species - in this case, humans - to exterminate another - in this case, the buggers (notwithstanding the fact that the buggers were attacking humankind). Except that he doesn't even make an argument; it's simply an assertion. He doesn't explain why it was wrong of Ender to destroy the buggers' home world. He just declares that it is (and saddles poor Ender with the guilt). It was unconvincing the first several times Card made it and unnecessary in this volume.

I think this book suffers from the Forced Franchise Syndrome. That's my own term for when a filmmaker, or in this case author, takes a perfectly good standalone property ('Ender's Game' in this case) and tries to string it out to create a series when it's not supported by the material. My two favorite examples of this are the Pirates of the Caribbean and the Matrix movies.

I rarely give up on a book once I have started it. I thought long and hard about it with this one. In the end, the reason I didn't was because the book was relatively short and it only took me a little over three days to get through it.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Low point in the Ender series, June 27, 2002
This review is from: Children of the Mind (The Ender Quintet) (Mass Market Paperback)
It seems almost like two different people wrote Ender's Game and Children of the Mind. Ender's Game was brilliant ... Children of the Mind was just dull, melodramatic, and overextended. Ender himself all but disappeared in this last book, even before literally crumbling to dust 2/3 of the way through the book. I couldn't really buy into all of this one-Ender/three-bodies business, and the love interests of all the main characters seemed awfully forced. The "looming" Lusitania Fleet seemed like an afterthought as the characters launched into long winded philosophies on aiua and dealing with the three Enders. It's almost like Card tried to make a large scale, Dune-type epic out of this series but changed course with this last book. The idea of aiua connecting us all together was interesting (very reminiscent of neo-Confucian ideas about the structure of the universe), but it just wasn't enough to carry the book.
I think Card's biggest mistake with the whole series was aging Ender so quickly and reducing his role to meaningless cameo appearances. The tragic young Ender of Ender's Game--the Ender that won our hearts and imaginations--and the middle-aged Ender of the later books were like complete strangers. Maybe if the books had developed around Ender's growth as a person and Card had allowed Ender himself a more active role the conclusion would've been more satisfying. But sadly, by the end of the book, I just couldn't bring myself to care anymore. Ender was dead, the characters were all dull and the wild plotlines just seemed to spiral out of control. I believe that development of characters and the depth of a book's environment/setting is absolutely crucial and the difference between great science fiction and average material. Children of the Mind really is not that bad of a book. But coming from Card, knowing he can do better ... it was a disappointment.
The good news is that after this book, the Ender's series returns back to its roots, back to the time when Ender was in Battle School. While the next books in the series might not be as "deep" as this one, they are much more emotionally engaging. Regardless of how you felt about how the Speaker-Xenocide-Children trilogy ended up, if you liked Ender's Game (hey, who didn't?) continue on in this series.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars So metaphysical, it's almost a perfume commercial, August 18, 2000
By 
William Krischke (Portland, OR United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Children of the Mind (The Ender Quintet) (Mass Market Paperback)
Card shows again that he has a unique talent for developing complex problems with answers that only cause other problems...a situation more like real life than most novels. However, he shows this strength of his is almost a weakness here, as he seeks to find a final resolution to the Ender series.
This one feels a little too metaphysical. This idea about the aiuas has taken over a good series. Most of the first half of the novel is Val and Peter struggling with being half-people; struggling to find their identity, if they have one. Then it all becomes lovesick mush; is this a romance novel? Ender loves Novinha, Wang-mu loves Peter but will she be enough? Miro loves Val and Jane, but doesn't know if he can love them as one person. Yeesh.
The final resolution is okay, but not quite satisfying, and though Xenocide was plenty long, this idea doesn't feel like it justified a whole book. Card feels like he's filling space a lot of the time. And trying to figure out how to end a series of strong books. It's a tough challenge; he almost rises to it.
His afterword -- an essay about the function of literature within culture -- is worth reading and thinking about.
And I have to say it again -- who came up with these book covers? They have nothing to do with the book and look terrible. What is that thing?
A sample passage:
"But the point is to go on, isn't it? To connect with the future?"
"That's one part, yes," said Olhado. "But part of the purpose of it is now, is the moment. And part of it is the web of connections. Links from soul to soul. If the purpose of life was just to continue into the future, then none of it would have meaning, because it would be all anticipation and preparation. There's fruition, Grego. There's the happiness we've already had. The happiness of each moment. The end of our lives, even if there's no forward continuation, no progeny at all, the end of our lives doesn't erase the beginning."
If you would like to argue about this book with me, e-mail me at williekrischke@hotmail.com
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Children of the Mind (The Ender Quintet)
Children of the Mind (The Ender Quintet) by Orson Scott Card (Mass Market Paperback - June 15, 1997)
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