Ender in Exile
by Orson Scott Card

A Review by Scott finished March 2, 2009

This review will contain spoilers!

In many sentences:

Ender in Exile is an excellent book. The name, however, is a little deceiving. The majority of the book, which Card admits in the afterword was not the original intention, consists of telling the story of how Ender ended up being exiled and some of what happened on the first two planets he visited. A more fitting name would probably have been Ender Exiled. Nevertheless, the taste it does give to us of what life was like for Ender and Valentine as they travelled to other worlds makes me hopeful that Card will release more books following this path. Considering how willing he has been to expand on the series as a whole, I think this is a good possibility.

Though somewhat formulaic at this point for an Ender book, I still think that the way Card uses email at the start of chapters is wonderful. It adds quite a bit to the story behind the scenes, revealing character motivations in a clear and yet not stilted manner. Several of them, in particular the "if I die" email and the letter to his parents, are particularly evocative. It reminds me of the documents that supplement Gateway and that are embedded between volumes of Watchmen. Though both of those are more indirect in their effects, the emails are still a clever and unique tool that I appreciate Card still uses.

Another aspect of this book I have enjoyed so much (and something that is true of most of the Shadow books) is how Card has developed the Wiggin parents into more substantial characters. In particular, I love how they know all along what their children are up to, and use their ignorance to mold and shape how they use their power. It is also funny to think that even genius children will treat their parents like fools at times.

Finally, I felt that the ending, in which Ender is faced with the beating he had fought so hard to avoid was interesting. In the original book we primarily see Ender as the fighter, and in the later works we primarily see him as the mature, thoughtful, peaceful man. This book, however, gives us an interesting insight into how Ender was able to take his first steps into becoming the man we know he will become. It may be difficult, but I hope future books allow us to continue to watch this character evolution.

I would, without a doubt, recommend Ender in Exile to anyone who has read any of the Ender books, but it is particularly good if you have read the original and all of the Shadow series (it is superior to all the Shadow books as well) and it provides yet another reason to recommend the entire series to anyone who has not read them.

Favorite Quote

"'Oh, Val,' said Father. 'All you have to do is live your life, and everyone around you will be happier.' 'No greatness, then.' 'Val,' said Mother, 'goodness trumps greatness any day.' 'Not in the history books,' said Valentine. 'Then the wrong people are writing history, aren't they?' said Father."

Orson Scott Card in Ender in Exile

Favorite Quote

"If desire did not dim the brain, nobody would ever get married, drunk, or fat."

Orson Scott Card in Ender in Exile

First Line

Dear John Paul and Theresa Wiggin, You understand that during the recent attempt by the Warsaw Pact to take over the International Fleet, our sole concern at EducAdmin was the safety of the children.

Orson Scott Card the First Line of Ender in Exile

Last Line

"'I still have things to do.'"

Orson Scott Card the Last Line of in Ender in Exile

Originally Published Nov. 11, 2008

Hardcover edition:

377 pages - Nov. 1, 2008

Book Keywords

Related Books