Saturday, October 27, 2018

James Review -- Enderverse: Children of the Fleet

This week I decided to review Enderverse: Children of the Fleet by Orson Scott Card. 

The story is set after the end of the Third Formic War. Dabeet Ochoa is a young genius who never knew his father. However, he is told by his mother that his father was an officer of the International Fleet. He sends every form of application he can to get into Fleet School, formerly Battle School, which now trains children to lead colonization missions and scouting expeditions rather than training them to command war fleets.

After the applications are sent, Ochoa finds himself being interviewed personally by Hyrum Graff, once head of Battle School and currently the Minister of Colonization. During the interview, Graff reveals that the woman who raised Ochoa is not actually his biological mother which leaves the young man reeling. And shortly after the interview, Ochoa is kidnapped by a group representing an unknown nation. The international peace caused by the Formic threat is fraying rapidly in the aftermath of their eradication, and Ochoa convinces the men holding him that the best way to fulfill their goal of getting the International Fleet to intervene to end fighting on Earth is to let him go so he can help them raid Fleet School.

His captors agree but make it clear they will retaliate against his foster mother if he fails to aid them. After arriving at Fleet School, Ochoa holds himself aloof from the other students, and many dislike him because almost all of the other students had space experience prior to Fleet School which they feel make him a liability since he does not. However, Ochoa soon discovers that pieces of the refurbished Battle Room walls can be removed. He begins working on making structures from these pieces, but the process takes too long to be useful during Battle Room exercises with just one person. Zhang He, another student, notices Ochoa’s actions and becomes intrigued, offering to help him. When this doesn’t cut construction time enough, Zhang sets out to recruit a small band of students. However, eventually Ochoa receives word that the attack is coming, and after revealing the truth to the rest of the construction band, they set out in a desperate attempt to stop the assault.

The book also includes sections containing IM style chats regarding events in the story and essays submitted as assignments in the school.
I give the book 8.5 out of 10. I liked a lot of the new characters and thought the essay sections helped readers know more about the mindsets of the students involved. Also, I liked a deeper look into the motivations of the attack on Fleet School and what happened on Earth after the alien threat was ended. However, I felt the "Ochoa’s father’s true identity" twist was a little too predictable and that the story really needed more action sequences. Finally, there were multiple points where the synopsis on the back of the book contained false information, and I really hate when books are published without such mistakes being found and fixed.

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