Orson Scott Card wrote Xenocide after the original Ender’s Game, and Speaker for the Dead. Then he went back and wedged in Ender in Exile between the first two, so I guess technically this is the fourth book…but it’ll always be third in my heart! It’s also third in my list of favorites of the original quintet.
“The wise are not wise because they make no mistakes. They are wise because they correct their mistakes as soon as they recognize them.”
So the fleet is still on its way to Lusitania to wipe out the planet, and therefore the descolada. At least, I think that’s where this one starts. They’re beginning to run together. In either case, it still hasn’t reached Lusitania by the end of this very, very long novel. In the meantime, Ender and his sister Valentine, who has joined him on Lusitania, are working with everyone they can to try to find a way to stop the fleet. Jane has interrupted communications between the fleet and Starways Congress. On the small colony of Path, Han Fei-tzu has tasked his daughter Han Qing-jao (and her secret maid, Si Wang-mu) with finding out why.
Like Speaker for the Dead, there’s a lot of talking in this book. Discussions of science — the descolada, the gaialogy of the planet (how all the species work together), etc. There’s also religion — the Catholicism of Lusitania, the godspoken and their gods on Path. Then there’s Jane, and how her existence ties into the Hive Queen. It’s all very interesting, if occasionally long-winded.
I listened to the audiobook, as I have been when revisiting the series this time. Most of the voicework is great — I really like Ender and Valentine, particularly. The Hive Queen though — they play her as speaking slowly, with all the insane sibilant sounds. She reminds me of a cartoon villain — Cruella de Vil, or some evil spider. It’s really over the top, and I dreaded her scenes as a result.