Warning potential plot spoilers are included below for Xenocide!
I must say that I really enjoyed the first of couple Orson Scott Card’s books about Ender Wiggin. I was well on my way to loving Xenocide until it descended into metaphysical mush. Unfortunately, Children of the Mind not only continues the mush, but it’s also far shorter than its predecessor. In Children of the Mind, the metaphysical philosophy is far too in your face. In fact, I thought I was back to reading one of the epilogues of War and Peace!
Despite Ender being such a strong, yet troubled character, with an interesting story to tell, his personality shaped by events beyond his ultimate control, his importance in the quartet of books most about him diminishes as you read on. Yes, the other characters Card introduces are interesting too, you at least learn more about Ender’s only connection to his former life – Valentine, his sister – but ultimately, the trilogy that began with Speaker for the Dead is mainly about the humans and the interactions with the native sentient life on the colony planet Lusitania.
That’s kind of the crux of my issue with this book. It’s written purely to tie up the ends that were introduced in Xenocide and as a result, feels enormously like an epilogue gone wrong. It jams the philosophical talking head syndrome into your face and leave the feeling the series is tired and the ideas just aren’t there for extending the story. Fair enough Card wanted to end the story of Ender, but ultimately, his story hasn’t ended at all given what happens in the book! I was disappointed with the way the series went from reasonably realistic science fiction to one about philosophy and the meaning of life. It’s a complete story, but ultimately not a fulfilling one.