Books

CHILDREN OF THE MIND by Orson Scott Card | Review

Children of the Mind is the fourth and final novel in Orson Scott Card’s Ender Quartet. This series begins with the well-known Ender’s Game, which tells the story of a young boy recruited and trained to be part of the International Fleet seeking to destroy the alien “buggers” that are a threat to Earth. The series was originally supposed to be a trilogy, with this novel initially being the second half of the third book, Xenocide. This final installment attempts to wrap up all loose ends in that have been woven and tangled throughout the series as the repercussions of Ender’s involvement in the universe finally take their course.

In my opinion, this series could have ended after three books and I would have been completely fine with it. While I enjoyed the first three books in this quartet immensely, Children of the Mind was an unexpected disappointment. Instead of an exciting, suspenseful, thought-provoking conclusion, this novel is actually slow, tedious, and rather dull to read. Other reasons why I dislike this novel include:

– Everyone is arguing. Ender and Novinha. Jane and Miro. Miro and Val. Miro and his entire family. (Miro is very angry, clearly.) Peter and Si Wang-Mu. The list goes on and on. After a while all of these arguments start to sound petty and unimportant when everyone is actually supposed to be saving the universe.

– It feels like nothing really happens. I usually love character-driven novels– but only when the characters are actually interesting and worth rooting for. When a plot moves slower than a sloth and there are few characters worth being invested in, what actually happens in the book? (Answer: not much.)

– I’m still not entirely sure what happened at the end. Rather than going out with a bang, this series ends with a confusing firework of random events. I was hoping for some clarity and closure, but no such luck.

It’s not fun to write negative reviews of books you expected to enjoy, but sometimes it has to be done. I highly recommend the first three books in the Ender Quartet (Ender’s Game, Speaker for the Dead, and Xenocide) but Children of the Mind is an optional read as far as I’m concerned.

What are your thoughts on Children of the Mind or any of the books in the Ender Quartet? Would you recommend continuing on with books in the Ender series? How do you deal with disappointing books? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Advertisements
Tags

Jingle All the Way Book Tag

MERRY CHRISTMAS!! I can’t believe it’s finally here! To celebrate I’m going to answer some festive questions in the Jingle All the Way Book Tag, which was originally created by The Left Handed Book Lover. Thanks so much to Dani @ Perspective of a Writer for tagging me!!

JINGLE BELLS: A fun, lighthearted book

The Princess Bride by William Goldman? I love this entertaining, hilarious, captivating adventure story, especially the snarky narrator. I highly recommend the movie as well (this is one of the few cases in which the movie rivals the book for me!).

I SAW MOMMY KISSING SANTA CLAUS: A book with a scandalous romance

I don’t know if the relationships in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights could necessarily be described as particularly “romantic” or “scandalous” per say, but they are certainly memorable!

I’LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS: A book you are determined to reread

I always say that My Ántonia by Willa Cather is one of my absolute favorite books, but I’ve only read it once. I adore rereading books, so I definitely want to read this one again in 2018!

SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN: Your most anticipated release of 2017

Definitely Turtles All the Way Down by John Green. I was hesitant at first because I was afraid of being disappointed by all of the hype surrounding his new release, but it actually exceeded all of my expectations.

SILENT NIGHT: A beautiful book that everyone knows

I’m not sure I would say that everyone knows the story of One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, but everyone definitely should. The lyrical writing in this novel is stunning and the story itself is incredibly captivating.

WINTER WONDERLAND: A book with great world-building

Ah, there’s so many to choose from! I think that I’ll have to go with Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. This science fiction series has some of the most interesting world-building I’ve ever read… come to think of it, I should definitely finish this series soon!

GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN: An under-hyped book that is so great you want to tell everyone about it 

I absolutely adored The Rook by Daniel O’Malley when I read it a few years ago but know very few people who actually talk about it. It’s fantastic! So good! Read it! Please!

I SAW THREE SHIPS: Favorite trilogy

Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. This has been my favorite trilogy for a decade now and I can’t see that changing anytime soon! Unlike with most trilogies, my favorite book in LOTR is actually The Two Towers, the middle one.

RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: A book with an underdog protagonist who rises up

Holes by Louis Sachar. How could you not want to root for poor Stanley Yelnats as he tries to survive his time at Camp Green Lake.

HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS: A book that helped you get through troubling times

SO. MANY. I especially love reading The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien whenever I’m stressed or just need to be cheered up. As I explained recently in another book tag I definitely identify with Bilbo.

Thanks again to Dani for tagging me! I hope you all have a lovely holiday filled with family, friends, delicious food, carols, and fresh snow!

What are your answers to these questions? What’s your favorite holiday tradition? How was Christmas for you this year? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I Need to Finish

Happy Tuesday!! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is technically about book series that I want to start; however, the more pressing issue on my mind is the fact that there are SO MANY series that I need to FINISH. Once again I’m going to break the TTT status quo and switch it up a little by sharing the Top Ten Series I Need to Finish. 

What series do you really need to finish? What do you think of the books that I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Villains

foodie-facts-about-me

Happy Tuesday!! It’s the first Tuesday of October, and this week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is edging ever closer to the spookiest day of the year. Today I’ll be sharing my Top Ten Favorite Villains, which were surprisingly difficult to name. Some of them were obvious– how could I forget good old Voldy?– but I soon realized that in most books there isn’t a clear divide between good and evil. It’s often hard to pinpoint the exact villain in the story, and it doesn’t help that “villain” feels like a rather strong word to begin with. With that in mind, here are my favorite villains in no particular order:

new-york-city

new-york-city-2

new-york-city-3

new-york-city-4

new-york-city-5

new-york-city-6

new-york-city-7

new-york-city-8

new-york-city-9

new-york-city-10

What are your favorite villains? What do you think of the books and villains I’ve mentioned here? What makes a villain memorable? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Every Sci-Fi Fan Should Read

look upinto the stars.

It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is an open-ended one, so I’ve decided to go with a genre near and dear to my heart: science fiction! Without further ado and in no particular order, here are my Top Ten Books Every Sci-Fi Fan Should Read!

look upinto the stars.-2

look upinto the stars.-3

look upinto the stars.-4

look upinto the stars.-5

look upinto the stars.-6

look upinto the stars.-7

look upinto the stars.-8

look upinto the stars.-9

look upinto the stars.-10

look upinto the stars.-11

What science fiction books would you recommend? What do you think of the books on my list? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Books

Book Review: XENOCIDE

Xenocide by Orson Scott CardAuthor: Orson Scott Card

Number of Pages: 592

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: 1991

“The war for survival of the planet Lusitania will be fought in the hearts of a child named Gloriously Bright. On Lusitania, Ender found a world where humans and pequininos and the Hive Queen could all live together; where three very different intelligent species could find common ground at last. Or so he thought.

Lusitania also harbors the descolada, a virus that kills all humans it infects, but which the pequininos require in order to become adults. The Starways Congress so fears the effects of the descolada, should it escape from Lusitania, that they have ordered the destruction of the entire planet, and all who live there. The Fleet is on its way, and a second xenocide seems inevitable.”

– Goodreads.com

Each time I return to the Ender Quintet series I’m filled with excited anticipation. Will this next installment live up to the extremely high standards set by the previous books? Or will it lack the qualities that never fail to captivate me? Fortunately, so far I have yet to see the latter concern be the case. Xenocide, the third novel in the Ender Quintet series, is a fascinating, gripping story of alien species, space travel, and the fight between common people and government institutions.

One of my favorite things about this book is the mix of scientific theory, philosophy, and moral dilemmas that are incorporated into this story (and the entire series, really). For example, the characters in this novel struggle with the question of whether to destroy the harmful descolada virus that has been hurting human life on the planet colony Lusitania. In doing so, they would also be committing xenocide (wiping out an entire species) because the pequininos (another alien species on the planet) require the descolada virus in their bodies in order to live. These issues are complex and have no obvious correct answer, making them endlessly interesting to read about.

Moreover, Orson Scott Card creates characters that have an astonishing depth to the personalities. Mir becomes a changed man throughout this book, being forced to deal with the struggles of becoming crippled. Ender is as wise and conflicted as ever, haunted by his childhood, his brother Peter, and the controversial acts of war he has committed in the past. Valentine has to constantly choose between staying loyal to her husband and children or staying loyal to her brother, Ender. Jane has to identify exactly what she is and come to terms with the immense amount of power she has and the danger she inevitably is in. Nearly every character undergoes significant development or transformation, both good and bad.

The planet of Path is introduced in this book, as is the idea of the conflict of the Godspoken (people who the gods choose to communicate with) v. the common people. The uncovered theory behind why there is a distinction between the Godspoken and normal people on Path is a clever twist that I never saw coming. It completely makes sense, however, which is another thing I love about this book and series as a whole: Orson Scott Card creates these unique worlds and conditions, and then justifies and explains them with scientific theories that seem logical and understandable to the common reader. Whether or not these scientific theories are viable is a completely different discussion, but they nevertheless add a fascinating and thought-provoking element to this series. Orson Scott Card’s novels are some of the most detailed, original, complex, and interesting books I have ever read.

Overall, I thought this book was fantastic. It was detailed yet gripping, scientific yet fairly easy to understand, and long yet never boring or dull. I highly recommend this series to anyone who is interested in science fiction or thought-provoking books in general. Although, I think you should probably read the books in order because otherwise you’ll most likely be very confused. I don’t know many people who have read these novels, but I would love to see them grow in popularity!

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

Would I recommend it to a friend?: Absolutely!

Have you ever read any books in this series or anything by Orson Scott Card? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Books

Book Review: PATHFINDER

pathfinder coverAuthor: Orson Scott Card

Number of Pages: 662

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: September 1, 2010

“Rigg is well trained at keeping secrets. Only his father knows the truth about Rigg’s strange talent for seeing the paths of people’s pasts. But when his father dies, Rigg is stunned to learn just how many secrets Father had kept from him–secrets about Rigg’s own past, his identity, and his destiny. And when Rigg discovers that he has the power not only to see the past, but also to change it, his future suddenly becomes anything but certain.

Rigg’s birthright sets him on a path that leaves him caught between two factions, one that wants him crowned and one that wants him dead. He will be forced to question everything he thinks he knows, choose who to trust, and push the limits of his talent…or forfeit control of his destiny.”

– Goodreads.com

I swear, everything that Orson Scott Card writes is perfection.

Ender’s Game is my favorite science fiction series, so I went into this novel with a little hesitancy. Would it feel flat in comparison to Ender’s Game? Would my expectations be too high? What if it’s length also meant it was slow and boring? As it often is, all my worrying was for nothing. This book did not disappoint!

Once again, one of my most favorite things about Orson Scott Card’s novels is the magnitude of intricacy they contain. Garden, the world he creates in this novel, is both similar to our own and vastly different. There are variations in geography, complex local politics, and several different dialects that are used. It’s easy as a reader to become fully immersed in this fully functioning world that Card constructs around you. In this novel there are elements of both fantasy and science fiction, which I enjoyed a lot. For the fantasy fans there are royals and secret conspiracies, and for science fiction lovers there is time travel and tangled theories of evolution. Card blends these two genres together so seamlessly that you hardly even notice it until you sit back and take time to soak it all in.

Another thing I really liked were the two different story lines. At the beginning of each chapter there is a page or two about a guy named Ram who is on a spaceship, and at first it seems completely random and out-of-place. But as the novel progresses and the two story lines intertwine and converge, everything suddenly clicks together like pieces of a puzzle. There is so much to think about while reading this book that although it is over six hundred pages long, it certainly doesn’t feel like it. It is a perfect balance of detailed and fast-paced, which makes for an engaging and fascinating read.

As always, Card’s characters are spot on. Rigg has so many sides to his personality that he seems like he could almost be a real person. Umbo is easy to relate to due to his common flaws, and Loaf is witty and strong. It’s remarkable how much thought Card puts into developing his characters. He makes them grow early on to fit their purposes later in the story, which is a really interesting thing to watch unfold. For example, Rigg is educated by his Father so he is prepared to deal with high-class city people in the future. It’s little details like this that really make me appreciate a great story.

Overall, I loved this book. I honestly have no complaints about it and would recommend it to anyone who likes science fiction, fantasy, or adventure stories. There’s a little something for everyone here! I’m definitely looking forward to reading the sequel!

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

Would I recommend it to a friend?: Absolutely!

Have you ever read this book before? What did you think of it? What other books by Orson Scott Card would you recommend? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Books

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

Books

Book Review: ENDER’S GAME

ender's gameAuthor: Orson Scott Card

Number of Pages: 324

Publisher: Tor Science Fiction

Release Date: January 1985

“In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn’t make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.”

– Goodreads.com

This was my second time reading Ender’s Game, but it had certainly been a while since I previously read it. I had forgotten exactly how it ends and I was interested in reading the rest of the series, so I decided to pick it up once more. Now I remember why I loved this book so much!

As I was reading Ender’s Game I noticed the roots of several common modern-day science fiction concepts. For example, in Ender’s world the government regulates the population, and any children a family has after the first two are frowned upon by the rest of society. Also, the government takes young children and forces them to fight each other. Sound familiar? Although this book was published in 1985, the themes it contains still resonate with the science fiction genre today. Comparing and contrasting books from different times within the same genre fascinates me, especially science fiction. So much of it is based on what might happen in the future, and it really reflects what a society is like when the book was originally published.

The story itself is unique and immersive. Ender is alone for much of the novel- if not physically, then mentally- so much of the book is him thinking and working things out by himself. The other parts focus on his siblings, Valentine and Peter, who remain on Earth. At the beginning of almost every chapter there is a short scene between the adults running the Battle School, which I really liked. It gives the reader an insight into what is going to happen to Ender next, which is strange when the main character doesn’t even know what is going on. Despite the introspective tone of the novel in regard to Ender, it doesn’t seem repetitive or boring. It’s as much of an action story as it is a study of how Ender’s experience affects him on a psychological level. It is this dual nature that gives the novel its depth.

Overall, I really enjoyed rereading Ender’s Game. It’s a great science fiction story that has a little of everything in it (except for romance- sorry, all you romantics out there!). The brilliant twist at the end gets me every time, and there are so many tiny details to consider that I’m still thinking about the ending days after finishing the book. This was definitely worth reading a second time, and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!

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

Would I recommend it to a friend?: Yes, especially one that really likes science fiction. Fans of modern YA sci-fi will probably enjoy this one, or at the very least they will find it interesting to compare it to what they normally read.

Have you read Ender’s Game before? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

WWW Wednesdays

WWW Wednesdays: February 26th

WWW WednesdaysWWW Wednesdays is meme hosted by Should Be Reading that asks three simple questions:

What are you currently reading???

Insurgent by Veronica Roth. (STILL. I KNOW.)

What did you recently finish reading???

This past week I finished reading two books: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card and More Than This by Patrick Ness. It was my second time reading Ender’s Game, and I loved it just as much as the first time I read it years ago. I had never read anything by Patrick Ness before, but after reading More Than This I will definitely have to check out his other books. It was fantastic! Reviews of both of them will be coming soon!

What do you think you’ll read next???

After I eventually finish Insurgent I definitely want to read Allegiant. I also have A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin checked out from the library, so I’ll be reading that shortly.

What are your answers to these questions? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY