If you’ve read Ender’s Game, which you should because it’s completely brilliant and amazing, then you might have wondered, like me, what happened to Ender right after. Speaker of the Dead doesn’t answer all those questions, so thankfully we now have Ender in Exile to provide them.
Warning: This review will contain a few spoilers for Ender’s Game.
In Ender’s Game, the world’s most gifted children were taken from their families and sent to an elite training school. At Battle School, they learned combat, strategy, and secret intelligence to fight a dangerous war on behalf of those left on Earth. But they also learned some important and less definable lessons about life.
After the life-changing events of those years, these children-now teenagers-must leave the school and readapt to life in the outside world.
Having not seen their families or interacted with other people for years—where do they go now? What can they do?
Ender fought for humanity, but he is now reviled as a ruthless assassin. No longer allowed to live on Earth, he enters into exile. With his sister Valentine, he chooses to leave the only home he’s ever known to begin a relativistic-and revelatory-journey beyond the stars.
What happened during the years between Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead? What did Ender go through from the ages of 12 through 35? The story of those years has never been told. Taking place 3000 years before Ender finally receives his chance at redemption in Speaker for the Dead, this is the long-lost story of Ender.
Picking up where Ender’s Game leaves off, this book deals with the consequences and aftereffects of the events that just transpired. It also ties in Bean’s spin-off series, which takes place while Ender travels in space and Bean stays on Earth.
Most of the book is spent focused on Ender, either through someone’s POV or through his own. Even the parts that veer off him for a bit, eventually come back to him by the end of the book. It’s basically his ‘trying to find his place in the universe’ phase as he travels to different planets and tries to understand his role in basically the genocide of an entire species, one who most likely knew it was coming and did nothing to stop him.
I found Ender to be a lot more contemplative and cunning and almost sassy than I remember him being in Ender’s Game. He’s growing up and becoming someone I quite like. I wasn’t that interested in reading Speaker of the Dead after finishing Ender’s Game, but I found renewed interest in seeing how his journey continues and if he ever reaches absolution from his conscience.
And yes, I did say sassy. The teenage boy has got some sass to him, which comes through only because you know he has a hidden agenda most of the time. I felt like he started to accept his role in being a natural leader, instead of someone who seeks leadership and power, by the end of the book.
As someone who greatly enjoyed Ender’s Game and recommends it to everyone, I’m glad we got a continuation of the book that ties it to Speaker of the Dead and beyond since it always felt like two separate series before. So, if you like seeing what happens after, I’d recommend picking this book up. It’s not as ‘on the edge of your seat’ as Ender’s Game, which is understandable, so don’t expect constant action. In fact, don’t expect much ‘action’ at all, but that’s not what this book is about. It’s not the action book. It’s the after the action book… let’s call it the clean-up book, since that’s what it essentially does.
Now that I’ve read it, I might check out Speaker of the Dead from my local library and try for the rest of the Ender series since it’s been a while since I’ve read a good science fiction in space series. If you do read it, let me know what you thought of it in the comments section!