Thursday, June 18, 2009

Speaker for the Dead (63/81)

Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
Category: Audiobooks (CATEGORY COMPLETE 5/25/09)

If you haven't read the first book in this series, Ender's Game, this is a **spoiler alert** for that story.

Three thousand years after Ender defeated the Buggers, another alien group is in danger of being eradicated due to a similar misunderstanding. On Lusitania, the "piggies" are kept separate from people, except those few privileged to study their way of life while never giving away anything about human culture or technology. The peace on Lusitania is threatened, however, when one of these humans is brutally killed by the piggies. No one exactly knows why, but one of his apprentices, Novenha, knows it has something to do with information she learned. She calls for a Speaker of the Dead and Ender (who has been traveling a lot at near-light-speed and has only aged to about 29 due to the relativity of time) answers the call.

Perhaps this was not the best book to choose as an audiobook to listen to as I fell asleep, and this certainly had an impact on my enjoyment of the story. First, the particular audio version I listened to had 3 narrators, who switched off based on the point of view the narrative was coming from (it was always third person, but we see events from several different perspectives). So I had to get used to about 3 different interpretations of different people's voices. Secondly, it's a complicated story that took me about three weeks to listen to, long enough that I didn't always remember exactly what happened and didn't have the ability to flip back a few chapters and refresh my memory. Still, I would recommend it to those who had enjoyed Ender's Game and didn't mind something a little meatier. Speaker for the Dead raises ethical questions about leaving different cultures alone to preserve them, and has a lot to say about the power of speaking the truth. 4 stars.

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