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4.4 out of 5 stars312
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on March 14, 2013
My whole family has or is presently reading the Ender series. All are great! And the Bean series is even better!
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on January 7, 2013
Surprised how much I enjoyed this.

It's certainly a more cerebral story than Ender and nowhere near the action - but also more enjoyable due to the complexity of issues faced by each character.

Story mostly focuses on the politics behind a Star Trek-ish 'prime directive' regarding contact with alien species, but also delves in the subtlities that shape a human character etc.

Add to this a 'who dunnit' murder and there's lots to keep you interested.

You don't need to have read Ender to enjoy this.
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Some argue that this book was superior in all ways to Ender's Game. I agree that the story was wonderful, detailed, mysterious, and well-researched, and overall I'd say it was a very powerful novel. Stylistically, this one's superior.

I still enjoyed reading Ender's Game more, though.

Don't get me wrong. Speaker for the Dead is a wonderful novel, and I'm glad to have read it. The book before it just appealed to my interests more. That being said, though, it's interesting to see just how Ender grew up, how he became a different person and yet still showed signs of the killer-child he used to be.

I'm still a sucker for cultural relativism, though, and this book had that in spades. What might be appalling to us is perfectly normal, even respected within other cultures, and learning to see past ourselves is very often the key to solving the mystery and understanding others. The way Card handled the killings of the humans by the piggies was wonderful to read, and trying to solve it kept me amused through the book. ("Is this why they did it? Or maybe because of this?")

I applaud the man for the research that he put into the writing of this novel, in linguistics and anthropology and biology. The little details made everything so believable, so realistic, that when his smooth writing style drew me in, I forgot everything around me.
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Three thousand years ago, Ender Wiggin completely destroyed the alien race known as the Buggers. Ender disappeared after and was reviled for this xenocide: the total destruction of the only other known race of sentient beings known in the galaxy. A powerful voice - the Speaker for the Dead - came to be heard: telling the true story of the Bugger War.

A new race of beings was discovered on the recently settled planet of Lusitania. This discovery, of a race the humans called the Pequininos, (also known as `the Piggies') was seen as an opportunity to atone for the destruction of the Buggers. And thus, to avoid any tragic misunderstandings that might lead to war, strict rules have been put in place to prevent the human colonists from influencing the evolution of the piggies. Only trained xenobiologists are permitted to interact with the Piggies, and contact is limited.

`The piggies were not to be disturbed.'

Over time, two xenobiolologists are killed by the Piggies in what appears to be a bizarre fashion. One consequence of each death is that a Speaker for the Dead is called for a different member of the colony. A Speaker is summoned, and travels to Lusitania. In order to speak for the dead, he also has to understand the living and this includes both the Piggies and the human colonists.

It happens that the Speaker who responds to the request is the original Speaker for the Dead, Ender Wiggin himself, and he has another mission as well.

`On his starship, Ender Wiggin had no notion of the freight of other people's dreams he carried with him.'

I thoroughly enjoyed this sequel to `Ender's Game', and am looking forward to reading the third novel in this series. This book could be read and enjoyed on its own, but I'd strongly recommend reading the series in order. Orson Scott Card has created a fierce, complex world occupied by beings with a mixture of historical, contemporary and likely future problems.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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on July 28, 2009
I read Ender's Game about 2 years before I picked up Speaker for the Dead. I did have to reread the last chapter of Ender's Game to refresh my mind about what had happened. The book picks up right after the events of the first book. The actual story seems to move slowly, but that's what kept forcing me to read the next chapter. The real secret about Card's books is the time he devotes to character development, and this book is no different. I highly recommend the book.
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on June 3, 2005
This was a good book and I really enjoyed it...when I finally got into it. It took me a LONG time to get interested in the book. I loved Ender's Game which was why I wanted to read the rest of the sequels. However, the beginning of the book here was just slow and boring. It was no until 1/2 way through that I really started to enjoy it. Overall, this was an excellent book, which is why I'm giving it a 4-star rating. You just need a lot of patience to get to the good part. I have gone on and read the rest of the series. Although I own the books, I don't know if I'll ever read the sequels again, simply because I don't know if I can get through the slow parts.
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on July 15, 2004
SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD, along with ENDER'S GAME both rate as some of the best books ever written.
I remember when I discovered SPEAKER as a freshman in high school. Ender's Game had been one of my favorites since childhood, and over the years I had heard rumors of a second in the saga. On a school trip I entered a book store and discovered not only was there a second book in the Ender Series, but a third. I felt like I had discovered a buried treasure. I rushed back to my hotel room, ripped open the front cover and was shocked by what I found.
Ender was no longer the child that I loved, but a 45 year old man. The book takes place 3000 years after the first (Ender is still alive due to almost constant near-light speed travel). Instead of being the savior of the world as he was in the first book, Ender is the equivallent of satan, and he is the one who wrote the "scripture" that is used against him. I wasn't sure if I was going to like the book.
To make a long story short...I loved the book, but it did take some getting used to, as I had grown very attached to a much younger and different character. The book had moved onto more of a philisophical tone, a tone that as a child I had completely overlooked (but is still present to a minor degree) in the first book. I can't say I completely understood the philosophy in this book, but the intrigue and mysteries that were unravled by Ender helped to keep my interest, and as I have read it many times over the years, social issues continue to emerge that I had not considered before.
After finishing SPEAKER, I tried to compare it to ENDER'S GAME. It is like comparing apples to oranges. Both book were great in their own way and it is extremely difficult to decide which book was actually better.
I leave it to you. Decide for yourself.
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on July 6, 2004
Card does not go the traditional route with sequels to books as many authors have done in the past. Speaker For The Dead is meant to be a standalone book , which means you do not have to have read Ender's Game to understand what goes on in the book. However, Speaker For The Dead is a sequel in the sense that some of the background is needed from Ender's Game or Ender's Shadow to get fully what the book is talking about when it refers to Ender the Xenocide and Peter the Hegemon, and so forth. However, reading Ender's Game is not critical to the actual story itself. Speaker for the Dead follows the raveged with guilt Ender Wiggin to the world of Trondheim. Ender and Valetine are currently stationed after their choice to not return to Earth where Ender could be used as a pawn for warring nations. Ender is a teacher at a local university as is Valentine. However, Ender get's a call to go to the distant world of Luisitania to speak the death of Marcao, the husband of one of the central characters in the novel (Novinha). Still looking for that one world where the bugger hive queen may finally be hatched again to thrive and live in peace among the human worlds, Ender takes the call to become Lusitania's Speaker of the Dead. This novel will not disappoint any readers that were fans from the first book. The novel is a bit more mature as Ender thanks to space travel is in his mid-30's (which is more around the figure of 3,000 years). Also laced with interesting philosophical arguments (though not buried with them as Xenocide was) and a mature but yet fascinating storyline, Speaker for the Dead is a good read for any fan of the Ender's Series.
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on June 16, 2004
It does take some 'work' - the Portugese names are an enjoyable challenge to pronounce right - even in your head. The story is COMPLEX and brilliant. It is a standalone book - you need not have read "Ender's Game" (somecentury to a theatre near you!) to read and love this book.
If you give it your reader's 'all' - i predict it will move you and open new thoughts you never imagined. The entire series is like this, but for my mind - this one is the best. It is satisfying - even with threads left dangling! The growing series of books built around Ender Wiggin are worth the money and time to acquire and devour ... or maybe you'll savour them slower.
Speaker for the Dead - i have read now in excess of 5 times. More than the rest. It contains a novel system of ... let us say 'dealing with bereavement' in what i see as a healthy and fulfilling way.
That is all you get from me on this subject. I'll not blunt the sense of discovery that makes this book uniquely powerful - to me at least.
WHEN you have absorbed the book and\or the series ; and when you decide the writer is a brilliant voice to be cherished - i highly recommend the following books by him (in no particular order):
"Memory of Earth" (the city of Basillica is maybe THE place in all of fiction to which i would permanently relocate.)
"Treason" (- or if you can find the older version "Planet Called Treason"
ALL of "Maps in a Mirror" - specifically 'The Originist' and "Breaking the Game' .
"Pastwatch - the Redemption of Christopher Columbus"
"Red Prophet" (my choice for best in the 'Alvin Maker' series)
Most of his books and some short stories compilations have the first few chapters (depending on length) available to read online for free at his site:
Thank me later - or i welcome the discussion of any of Card's works!
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on May 24, 2004
Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card is a sequel to the book, Ender's Game. In Speaker for the Dead, a new alien race is discovered on a small colony on the planet Lusitania. But after the new species make vicious attacks on the colonists, the entire galaxy is thrown into turmoil.
What I liked about this book was how the author described his characters. They were well written and had very distinguishing traits. The characters were also dynamic in that they changed very much in the story. I also liked the author's word
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