Children of the Mind is the final book of the Ender Quartet, written by the brilliant Orson Scott Card. The first book, Ender’s Game, is often required in junior high English courses, but my home-school curriculum did not include it. This makes me sad in that that I was unable to enjoy it at a time in my life when books were as important to me as my gray scrunchies (meaning very important), but it makes me happy in that I was able to postpone the pleasure of a can’t-put-it-down-even-to-move-the-remote-that-I-accidentally-sat-on book until now.
The story that is told in these four books is set in the future, sometime after the earth encounters an alien race and is able to finally achieve true space travel. It is the tale of Ender Wiggin, only four years old at the beginning of the story, one of the most complex and endearing characters in contemporary fiction. It is essentially a tale of morality; it explores the questions of right and wrong, compassion and violence, mercy and weakness, all within an epic page-turner of a plot.
The first book is so astoundingly good that I had little hopes that the second book would even come close to its intensity. But Speaker for the Dead is so unique and expands so believably on Ender’s character that I read this breathlessly as well, despite a more gradual and expansive plotline. Xenocide and Children of the Mind were meant to be one book, and read as such, but there is so much at stake by this time that once the books are started, you can’t put down the book and think of the characters without feeling a little guilty.
I will remember these books as each containing at least one chapter so moving that it left me in or near tears. Two scenes in particular stand out to me. In one, Ender finally overcomes the prejudices associated with a new and sentient species in order to see the inner workings of a pequenino ironically named Human. What proceeds from that meeting is either horrific and beautiful, depending on your point of view…possibly both. My other favorite scene is when a computer program proposes to a man. It’s amazing.
So after over a year, our good friend Braz can finally get his books back.