All The Right Reads

Fiction Recommendation Experts

2023 Book Review: Xenocide

by Orson Scott Card

YA Science Fiction, 1991 by Tor Books, 593 Pages 

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Some of the science talk gets very tedious. Normally, I’m a huge fan of leaving science in science-fiction but this one felt too speculative and far-reaching to be what I was looking for.
  • Heavily religious based in a way that may make atheists feel as if they’re being preached at and religious people feel as if they’re being questioned. Basically, if you’re strongly opinionated about one specific religion, maybe this isn’t the book for you. 
  • Mildly misogynistic. It sneaks in at weird times and then tries to second guess itself and sort of defend the comment. 
  • The ending is incomplete. In the letter from the author he does address this, explaining that the story continues in book four. The problem is a lot of this book doesn’t move very quickly so it suddenly feels rushed when it all happens fast to get you to the end of this book. 

What I Did Like:

  • The entire discussion about whether it’s ever right or justified to eliminate another species, even when it is trying to eliminate you, is FASCINATING. It’s, obviously, the entire concept for this series and it has played out in various ways across the books. It continues in this one and lets us into many of those “closed door” conversations. It definitely was written to make you think. 
  • In the same vein, this is a book that isn’t afraid to look at the idea of control vs free will in an interesting way. The debate this could spark in an open minded book group would be amazing. Nothing is safe from this introspective look, not even religion and the existence of god(s). 
  • Jane and all the philosophical discussions around her. It seems obvious to me that the next book in the series will continue to delve into Jane, how she came to be, and what happens to her next. 

Who Should Read This One:

  • Fans of speculative science fiction with big themes on philosophy, creation, religion, and life. This book is intended to make you think and examine things in a new way. 

My Rating: 3 Stars

  • The heavy nature of this one makes it a bit more niche, but it’s worth it if you like big themes.

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