( #EndersGame )
If you have been reading this blog over the last month, you will have noticed I have been on an “Ender’s Game” kick. I am sure you will be glad to read that Ender is ending with this review. “Ender in Exile” brings readers back to the titular character of Ender Wiggin, who I missed a great deal during the “Shadow Saga”. Exile is an auxiliary book, you don’t have to read it to understand the main storyline in either series, but it does fill in some gaps in the timeline that I actually appreciated.
This book takes place between the last chapter of “Ender’s Game” and the first chapter of “Speaker for the Dead”. Speaker kind of pissed me off because you never really learned about what Ender did with his teenage years or his twenties. This book attempts to fill that gap, but something strange happens along the way…
Most of the book is about Ender’s travel to the first colony (which was eventually named Shakespeare). Long story short, the ship’s captain is a pompous ass that doesn’t think a teenager can run a colony (even if he just finished saving the world). The captain positions himself to take over Shakespeare for himself when they arrive. Card creates an almost comedic tension between the two, I just kept thinking about the Home Alone movies (the kid outsmarts the robbers at every turn). Readers know that Ender gets to the colony so the fact that so many pages were spent on this conflict were a waste. While wasteful, it was nice to read about a youthful Ender taking people down instead of having a terrible marriage and loudmouth adopted children.
The last 30% of the book is spent on the Indian colony that Virlomi established. Bean’s last genetically enhanced child (who was raised by a crazy woman that Achilles hand picked) grows up on the new colony creating problems for that planet’s leadership. Eventually Ender leaves Shakespeare to deal with the situation as a favor to his lost friend. Card basically wraps up that loose plot thread from the Shadow Saga, so if you want to know what happens to Bean’s lost child you need to read this book.
I liked this book even though there really isn’t a solid reason to. Exile is like a mid-season throw away episode of a tv show. Basically you gets some cool character moments, but nothing important happens. Since Card gives up on Ender in the middle of “Xenocide”, I enjoyed reading Ender in his prime again. If you are new to the series, I would definitely read this after the original book because the character you love disappears after “Speaker for the Dead”.