Speaker for the Dead (1986) – Orson Scott Card


Five stars

Read Aug 24 2014 – Sep 03 2014

Book 3 of The Ender Quintet

A fallen hero – haunted by his past, but can he change the future?

Ender Wiggin was once considered a great military leader, a saviour for mankind. But now history judges his destruction of an alien race as monstrous rather than heroic. In the aftermath of the war, Ender disappeared, and a powerful voice arose: The Speaker for the Dead, who told the true story behind the battle with the aliens. Now, years later, a second alien race has been discovered. But again they are strange and frightening – and again, humans are dying. It is only the Speaker for the Dead, secretly Ender Wiggin, who has the courage to confront the mystery …and the truth.

After Ender’s Game was turned into a movie earlier this year, the Ender series got a lot more coverage. A friend of mine read the whole series in about two weeks, and rhapsodized about how great a concept was that appeared in the third and fourth books. And so I promised, because it was the summer holidays, that I’d race through the series – “oh yeah, it’d only take me like, a week. I can do that”.

 But alas, it’s now August (crap, how it it already this close to the end of the year?) and I’m only now picking up Speaker for the Dead after it sat on my shelf for so long, bookmark wedged inside on the first page, all ready to read.

 I really liked the way Ender’s Game panned out – I thought it was incredibly clever the way that Ender was described as manipulating his fellow cadets. I have to admit that I have practically no idea what Valentine and Peter’s whole political agenda sidestory was about, and if I need to know that for Speaker for the Dead then it’s gonna be a very interesting read.

(August 25th, 2014)

Page 28

What a way to start, Card’s writing is just hrrrngh. Engaging from the very beginning, or maybe I’ve just been reading crappy writing lately. The world building is ingenious – it’s very authentic and unique. I mean, who thinks about how we’d study other primitive alien civilizations?

So far we’ve been introduced to xenologers Pipo and his son, Libo, and Novinha, a xenobiologist. The three are studying “Piggies”, a primitive alien civilization. Novinha’s dream is to be a Speaker for the Living for the Piggies, much as the mysterious Speaker for the Dead was for the Buggers. And little does this world know, 3000 years after the events of Ender’s Game, that Ender the Xenocider is in fact the Speaker for the Dead as well.

I cannot wait to uncover the foreignness of the Piggies’ culture, namely the mysterious “females” and what happened to Rooter and poor, poor Pipo. The description of the vivisection did send chills down my spine. I hope what Pipo discovered with regards to the Descolada doesn’t remain an elusive secret for half the novel – I’m so curious! Libo better figure it out.

(August 26th, 2014)

Page 90

I knew “Andrew Wiggin” sounded familiar. Who would’ve known that 3000 years later…

(August 30th, 2014)

Wow what an end. Truth be told, not really keen on Ender and Novinha’s pairing, nor Valentine and co. coming to Lusitania. Whatever.

How the story escalated in the last 100 pages. Everything coming together. And Human and humans and ah! Wow. Definitely a book to read.

Ender’s genius is only possible due to Card’s genius.

I love how Speaker for the Dead teaches us the power of words, the power of understanding, the power of being able to put oneself into another’s shoes and respect what they believe and how they think and essentially who they are. How everyone’s life is a story, a story that needs to be shared, to see the glimmers of goodness that exist.

(September 3, 2014)

The Ender Quintet
Ender’s Game (1985)
Ender in Exile (2008)
Speaker for the Dead (1986)
Xenocide (1991)
Children of the Mind (1996)


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