Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on August 4, 2018.
I started reading this book at a weird time in my life. A loss that I’m still grieving and new changes make for bad companions. Those reasons could be why I enjoyed reading this book much more than I should have. You’ll see what I mean when I share the two contrasting views that I found myself taking while reading this story and reviewing it.
What I liked about this book
The two quotes about dealing with grief that hit hard
Grief is almost always for the mourner’s loss.
It got me wondering, was that the only reason I cried at my uncle’s funeral? And if it was, was it selfish of me to do so?
…that aching, hollow, half-panicked feeling returned. She isn’t here. I can’t just speak and have her answer. I can’t just ask and have her remember. I can’t just reach and feel her hand. And, most terrible of all: Perhaps I never will again.
While there isn’t a perhaps in my case, this eloquent quote says it all.
The two quotes that made me laugh
Does Mother know you’re going?
Please be practical, Miro. I have no fear of Satan, but Mother…
This is a conversation between two brothers. One of them is a priest and is going on a religious mission fraught with danger. Both are adults and the situation is a serious one but I have found and enjoyed such light humor in all Ender books.
You’re one tough son of a bitch, aren’t you?
Welders and smiths are tough. Sons of bitches have problems of their own.
Again, the same pair is conversing and the priest ends up swearing and impressing his brother.
Other 7 quotes that made this book more enjoyable
What I didn’t like
Ender is quite annoying in this book. When he goes into non-space, he wishes his siblings into existence. One of them is dead, so maybe I could have swallowed that. Even though he is supposed to have created a hegemony and was the root of all evil in Ender’s life…yeah maybe I wouldn’t have bought this one either.
The other one is alive and with him yet he chooses to bring a younger version of her back to life. And don’t even get me started on the squickiness of how innocent and beautiful he makes her. Sister, dude. She is your sister, you creep! If this was just done so the author could have characters to base his next novel on, it is a shitty move. Shitty. Move.
Ender also seems to have found religion in this book. This is contradictory to the way his character was in the first two books. In fact, the whole heavyhanded way of dealing with religion was odd. There were the piggies — an alien race who were brought to Christianity. Then there was this throwaway line in the book about couples who aren’t interested in premarital sex are the ones that make the society more stable.
Another thing that weirded me out was Miro’s miraculous transformation. From the very beginning, we are shown that he is very bitter on account of being handicapped. That is a very ableist stance. Then we see him changing as he stops isolating himself and stops a bloody riot from getting even bloodier. This was a tad more positive but it was ruined when he goes into non-space and comes back healed. What did it all even mean? What purpose did his character serve?
The Rest of the Family
Irritating and squabbling for no reason. I wanted to smack them all at least once. Another thing that bothered me was that in the previous book, they were the odd ones out. In this one, they have magically become all-important. Xenologists, priests, physicists and brickmakers, almost all of them have a say in how the planet should be run. And even though they are all adults and professionals, most of them behave like toddlers with no regard for the consequences of their actions. What’s more, when one of them is giving all the indications that they will be acting stupidly, the others (and the rest of the planet) do nothing to stop them. Then there is an uproar after the stupid thing is done!
A seemingly minor character who starts as a slave and then becomes the source of the cure for a whole population, Wang Mu was irritating at times but bearable. Then all of a sudden, she is fangirling over the long-dead Hegemon. That isn’t all though. The long-dead Hegemon is then recreated by his brother, visits Wang Mu, and flies away with her to take over the world. What is even happening? How much of my disbelief should I be suspending? Like all of it?
Deus Ex Machina
Faster than light travel isn’t possible. Hundreds of scientists have said so. Yet a physicist jailed for instigating a mob and his brickmaker brother come up with a solution i.e. a supercomputer can wish it into existence by holding the image in her mind. Wait, I am not done yet. While that is happening, the xenologist sister of theirs will hold the image of two things in her mind that will solve all their problems.
So, this is what I thought of the book. Feel free to share your thoughts!