Customer Review

256 of 282 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Orson Scott Card's best work, August 6, 1999
This review is from: Speaker for the Dead (The Ender Quintet) (Mass Market Paperback)
As a habit, I avoid best sellers. When I heard there was a sequel to Ender's Game, I shuddered. That book had affected me so deeply, I could not imagine a sequel to it.
This book is in all ways, barring one, superior.
This book reminds me of Ursula LeGuin at her best, and I do not invoke her name lightly. She is one of the few sci-fi authors who understands something of anthropology and, more importantly, the human condition. Card in this one books has levelled with her.
Ender is a far richer and deeper character in this book than he was in Ender's Game. Here he is having to live with his own guilt and the positive and negative aspects of his own legend. He has inspired a cult of sorts, the Speakers of the Dead, people who speak not well of the dead, but realistically. How does one live with such a legacy?
The Piggies are intrinsicly fascinating. They are not small humans. They are not just randomly acting individuals. They act in a consistent, rational manner -- once you know all the peices of the puzzle. Most of these peices are not revealed except with time. Jane is also fascinating. "She" acts in a logical manner as well, but again it is not a HUMAN manner. The Hive Queen is very real and, again, not human. There is a delicate balance inherent in this book.
This book is far superior to Ender's Game, a book which is one of those rare sci-fi novels that I have read twice. It speaks to the core of humanity within us all, it speaks to our fears, our dreams, our hatreds, our prejudices, our nobility, our failings, and our longings. It is not a shoot-em-up. This book is literature, not science fiction. It may be read again with profit. It is not a book about plot and action (thank all the powers!). It is a book about being humnan.
I put a reservation in here, one way in which the book does NOT match Ender's Game. The ending of this book is abrupt and calls out for a sequel. This is quite sad. Ender's Game stands on its own; Speaker for the Dead calls out for a conclusion. Aside from that, this is a superlative book. No, not for everyone; name me a book that is for everyone. But in the end, an intelligent reader will gain much from reading Speaker for the Dead.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 22, 2008 3:39:25 PM PDT
Barbara Lane says:
Wow what a review. I was gobb smacked. I HAVE to now listen to it on audio now. This is the first review I have read of yours. I will read more. I only get audio. Thank you.
From the audio book worm down under.(Australia)

Posted on Jul 30, 2009 8:31:41 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 30, 2009 8:36:06 AM PDT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Dec 2, 2014 11:34:23 AM PST
spupkie says:
Your review reflects my thoughts exactly about this book - thanks.

I've been trying to find books that explore the human condition like the Speaker for the Dead. You mention Ursula LeGuin.. which book of hers should I start with? Do you have any other recommendations besides Ursula LeGuin?
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