Book Review: SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD

speaker for the dead coverAuthor: Orson Scott Card

Number of Pages: 382

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: 1986

“In the aftermath of his terrible war, Ender Wiggin disappeared, and a powerful voice arose: the Speaker for the Dead, who told of the true story of the Bugger War.
Now long years later, a second alien race has been discovered, but again the aliens’ ways are strange and frightening…again, humans die. And it is only the Speaker for the Dead, who is also Ender Wiggin the Xenocide, who has the courage to confront the mystery…and the truth.”

– Goodreads.com

After rereading Ender’s Game this year I knew that I would have to read the second book in this series soon. The first novel was so good that I didn’t believe it could be beat. I was optimistic, of course, and hoped that perhaps Speaker for the Dead might come close to the level of greatness where Ender’s Game resides. Well, this novel did not simply come close or even match that level- in my opinion, it surpassed it.

I felt like opening the pages of this book was like turning on a vacuum cleaner- that is, I immediately was sucked right into the story. Orson Scott Card has created a world that is so enthralling and engaging that I could not put the book down. The complexities of the piggies ( the new alien species within the colony of Lusitania) beg to be uncovered, yet they are released little by little as the story progresses and the suspense mounts. I was incredibly impressed with the way Orson Scott Card was able to effectively incorporate the story of the buggers (the alien species present in Ender’s Game) with that of the piggies. The transition from the former novel to the latter was unbelievably smooth, considering the two plots take place thousands of years apart from each other. Readers are exposed to new characters, communities, and species, while simultaneously reveling in the familiarity of Ender and Valentine. This could probably be read as a stand-alone novel, but I think that reading it alongside Ender’s Game really adds to the experience of diving into this amazingly intricate world.

I love Speaker for the Dead because it brings up countless fascinating topics. It plays with the idea of time travel as Ender travels to different planets that are light years away from each other. It delves into the concept of personality without physical attributes with the character of Jane, Ender’s computerized assistant. Not only is this book fantastically entertaining, but it also encourages you to think analytically about the world around you. It may be a work of science fiction, but it discusses issues that are undoubtedly relevant in real modern-day society.

Many science fiction novels focus more on plot and action than on character development and personality. However, this is not the case with Speaker for the Dead. The plot is certainly an important component of the novel, but one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much was because of the dynamic characters it contains. From Ender to Valentine to Jane to Pipo and Libo and the rest of their family in the colony, Orson Scott Card creates characters that are flawed but understandable. He even humanizes the piggies, suggesting that outside differences often have little impact on what others are really like inside. The characters provide the momentum that drives this story forward.

Overall, this was an extremely enjoyable novel to read. I was hooked from the very beginning and I found myself constantly wondering what would happen next even when I wasn’t reading it. I can’t wait to see what this series has in store for me next!

My Rating: :0) :0) :0) :0) :0) 5 out of 5 smileys.

Would I recommend it to a friend?: Absolutely! Like I said, I would recommend reading Ender’s Game first, but you could probably read it as a stand-alone without being completely confused.

Have you ever read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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