In Medias Res | Xenocide – A Love/Hate Relationship

XenocideI hate this book.

I also love this book.

I’m only halfway through and I already know that this is by far the strangest relationship I’ve ever had with a book before.

I can’t stand half of these characters. I swear, half the things these people do is complain:

  1. Novinha is annoying in this book. If she was unhappy with her marriage, shouldn’t she have told Ender two months in to turn the jewel off before he goes to bed? This isn’t an issue you bring up thirty-FREAKING-years into your supposedly happy marriage. And don’t pretend you don’t still miss Libo. Because let’s face it…he’s Libo. It’s obvious that what she’s most mad about is Jane (frankly, I am too), since she gets mad at Miro too (who also has a jewel)–but that’s when you tell someone, not bottle it up. She was always outspoken to the people she loved in Speaker for the Dead. What happened to that?
  2. Miro is so superficial in this book–and not to mention self-deprecating. All he cares about is his body, how he looks, how miserable his life is. It gets tiring when he explains that everyone is impatient with his slow speech for the fifth time.
  3. Qing-Jao is ridiculous. She traces lines in the floor boards and believes its a message from the gods. She thinks she’s so high and mighty because she’s educated and godspoken. She’s OCD and delusional.
  4. Quara. Just Quara.
  5. And Grego. Seriously, did thirty years pass or what? This kids are supposed to be in their forties and their acting like teenagers.
  6. Jane. She is irritating. In Speaker for the Dead she was just snarky, but here she’s demanding and frantic and manipulative and just pain ugh. She pokes at people’s buttons and just has no boundaries. And now I’m expected to feel sympathy for her because she might die? Pfft. Not happening.

On the other hand, Card still presents the moral issues that made Ender’s Game so great.

  1. Religion versus politics. The issues on Path and Lusitania both involve religious tensions, and in both cases, its about what happens when people interpret things incorrectly.
  2. What constitutes closeness? Who is the closest couple in this book? Ender/Valentine? Ender/Jane? Ender/Novinha? Valentine/Jakt? Miro/Jane? Are any of these relationships inappropriate? Should any relationship be dominant to the others?
  3. Xenocide. Of course there’s the novel’s namesake. The biggest problem in the story is deciding which is morally correct: preserving a small portion of one’s species or protecting the entirety of another’s.

So I’m in this strange love/hate relationship with the book now. I read about Qing-Jao tracing lines on the floor and cringe and want to put the book down. Then I read about the Pequeninos thinking that the Descolada is the physical embodiment of the holy spirit and I’m back to reading again.

There are a few fulcrums in this relationship:

  1. If everyone in the first list gets their sh*t together.
  2. If, somehow, Card can get me to feel sympathy for Jane. Because I just can’t.
  3. If the piggies and the buggers start mingling with the humans on Lusitania. Seriously, if they want this to work, they need to start interacting.
  4. If the Congress gets a well deserved slap in the face.
  5. If Ender gets the ending he rightly deserves.

I’m probably going to finish the book. But whether I pick up Children of the Mind after this completely depends on how Xenocide finishes.

Ever feel this way about a book before? Maybe a movie or a song? If so, leave a comment below!

“When you hear a true story, there is a part of you that responds to it regardless of art, regardless of evidence. Let it be the most obvious fabrication and you will still believe whatever truth is in it, because you can not deny truth no matter how shabbily it is dressed.”
― (Han Fei Tzu) Orson Scott Card, Xenocide


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