I am reviewing the next two books in the Ender series together: Xenocide and Children of the Mind. The end of Xenocide sets up the beginning of Children of the Mind, and the books were originally intended to be one novel anyways. My thoughts and rating for them are extremely similar and since I’ve waited to write my thoughts down on Xenocide until I had already finished Children of the Mind, I figured this would be acceptable. The books are both heavily philosophical in nature and explore fascinating science fiction themes in a doomsday setting for the people of Lusitania.
What shines in these books are the creative ideas that are explored and the way they are used to progress the plot. Ender’s world becomes deeply complicated, and the actions from his past are echoed in the behavior of people over three thousand years later. The sci-fi elements are not cheaply deployed, they are very well thought out and truly thought provoking. The peril Ender faces in these books is compelling and there is some creative genius utilized to resolve the difficult situations that keep you interested in the continuation of his story.
Philotes and being able to bend the building blocks of matter to your will to create faster than light travel. The planet Path and breeding OCD traits into society. Manufacturing religion to maintain control over the populace. Aiuas (the soul) and how they interact with the universe. The looming threat of Xenocide and inter species coexistence. There are some abstract theories and ideas present that made these titles enjoyable.
Unfortunately, as great as it is to ponder the themes in these books such as instantaneous time travel or the nature of the soul, the story is out shined by the ideas. When you begin the thought experiments of what it means to have a soul, or what the soul is, it feels hard to come back down to Earth and have deep feelings for the character’s marital problems. Of course, Ender is one of the most interesting characters in sci-fi history and I wanted to know his entire story. And I enjoyed that story, but it wasn’t my favorite aspect of the books.
This would have to conclude my thoughts on the books Xenocide and Children of the Mind without getting into spoilers. If you would like to talk about some of the plot specifics or anything that may spoil the book for those who haven’t read them, I welcome you to reach out to me either through social media (Facebook, Twitter), or even down in the comments section below. I would love to have a discussion.
If you are interested in diving in please consider clicking either of the pictures above of the book covers, and check out the book through our affiliate link!