Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Card, Orson Scott. 1991. Xenocide.

Xenocide is the sequel to Speaker for the Dead. (Speaker for the Dead is the sequel to Ender's Game. Ender's Game is my favorite, favorite book.) Xenocide is an intricately complex plot following the saga of characters (mainly) introduced in Speaker for the Dead. Speaker for the Dead concludes with the threat of the destruction of the planet of Lusitania. Which would mean the destruction of the pequeninos (piggies), the human colonists (including Andrew Wiggin, his wife, his stepchildren, etc.) and the Hive Queen (the Buggers). The Lusitania Fleet has been launched, and the order to destroy the planet using the M.D. Device (Little Doctor) has been given. If it wasn't for Jane, the life-force residing in the ansibles and computers, the impending doom would be absolutely, completely certain. As it is, it is only mostly certain that xenocide will occur once again. (Xenocide being genocide of an entire species. While the human colonists would lose their lives, the human race would go on in the other hundreds of worlds colonized. But xenocide is a very real threat to two alien species: the Hive Queen (and her workers, etc) and the Pequeninos.)

There are so very many characters to keep track of in Xenocide. As I mentioned, most were introduced in Speaker for the Dead. Andrew and Valentine. Andrew's wife, Novinha. Andrew's step-children: Miro, Ela, Quim, Olhado, Quaro, Grego. The piggies of utmost importance are Planter and Glass. (Not counting the fathertrees Human and Rooter, etc.) The Hive Queen of course. Jane, the character that pulls most of the book together. But there are three characters that are brand new to the story. Three people from the Chinese colony of Path: Han Fei-tzu, Han Qing-jao, and Si Wang-mu.

The plot is too intricate and complex to go into all the details. The book is all about life-and-death matters. The colonists are trying to figure out a way to kill the descolada before it destroys them. They hope that if they can destroy it, then perhaps they'll be saved as well. The Hive Queen is busy building star ships. She wants some for herself. But she's also building some for the Pequeninos. She doesn't want another alien species destroyed by human stupidity. But the humans know that while the Hive Queen may be intelligent enough to find a way to kill the descolada from tainting them and their DNA--the Piggies aren't nearly advanced enough to do so. (The descolada is essential for the Pequeninos to survive. It is linked to their DNA. It is how they procreate and continue on in the third life.)

Xenocide is an interesting novel. But one that doesn't stand on its own. It begins in the middle of things, and ends with no resolution. (Or very little resolution.) It's the middle book of a trilogy (in a way) and while it's important...crucial for the progression of the isn't as satisfying in some ways as the others in the series.

That being said, I do like it. I made the mistake, this time round, of not having read it close enough to Speaker for the Dead. It's been about fifteen or sixteen months since I read Speaker for the Dead. And some books are just better read in close proximity.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Shelley 6:41 PM  

I'd like to read this soon, but it has been a couple of years since I read Speaker for the Dead. Reading your review makes me think I should reread it.

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge
Linked to sign up page

Family Tree Reading Challenge

Family Tree Reading Challenge
Link to sign-up page

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge
Linked To Sign Up Page

2018 Charity Challenge (Sign Up)

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge
Link to sign up page

2018 Picture Book Challenge

2018 Picture Book Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge
click image to go to sign up post

Good Rules Cheat List

Board books and picture books = new is anything published after 2013
Early readers and chapter books = new is anything published after 2013
Contemporary (general/realistic) = new is anything published after 2007
Speculative fiction (sci-fi/fantasy = new is anything published after 2007
Classics = anything published before 1968
Historical fiction = new is anything published after 2007
Mysteries = new is anything published after 1988
Nonfiction = new is anything published after 2007
Christian books = new is anything published after 2000
Bibles = new is anything published after 1989

My Blog List

(Old) Challenge Participants

Becky's Hosting These Challenges

100 Books Project: Fill in the Gaps

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP