Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
So great to revisit one of my absolute favorite novels of all time!
Back when I first read this, Andrew Wiggin immediately jumped into my heart to become my ultimate role-model, my hero, and the idealized version of myself. Ender's Game had him go through some horrific things and really set the stage for the man he was later to become, but it is the full-grown man that really pulls on my heartstrings.
No. He wasn't truly at fault for wiping out the Formics. That can be laid at other's feet.
But he absolutely pulled the trigger. And the end of Ender's Game showed us the beginning of his redemption. Where redemption takes the form of Understanding. And then telling All the Truth, the good and the bad. Exposing it to the world for good or ill. I LOVE how this turned into a very powerful force for good.
Better yet, I love how turning it upon this special world of Lusitania transforms everyone's lives this dramatically. Or how it affects four intelligent species. Or how it paves the way for real redemption.
I'm not all that fond of Christian motif stories because they're generally all ham-fisted and overdone. Like, A LOT. But this one does NOT go that way. It's humanist. It's understanding that all of us have good and bad within us, and that accepting (and really understanding) each other is can be the most life-affirming thing that any of us can do.
The story of Speaker for the Dead is powerful on all levels of worldbuilding, strange aliens, mystery, love, and sheer cussed awesomeness. The threat of another Xenocide times three is shocking enough on its own, but when combined with all the events from Ender's Game, Speaker basically turns me into a quivering ball of emotional jelly. And worse, the characters, and I mean ALL the characters, from Pequenios to Navi's family to Andrew himself, just draws such a warm feeling from me that I can't even stand it.
It's more messed up than Ender's Game. More wonderful. Deeper, adult, complex, painful, and glorious.
I can't particularly think of ANY novel that deep down affects me more on a personal level. I'm thinking along the lines of putting this in one of my top ten best novels of all time. :)
So gorgeous. So important. :)
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