Title: Children of the Fleet
Author: Orson Scott Card
Genre: Science Fiction
About the book: It’s a standalone in the Ender’s Game series, but it involves new characters. I received a copy of the novel from Raincoast.
First impressions: I read Ender’s Game in high school, and I’ve been meaning to check out Card’s other works. So I was looking forward to seeing where he would go with this story. I liked the beginning and getting to know Dabeet Ochoa.
Summary: Dabeet is incredibly smart, but he thinks he can’t attend Fleet School because he lacks the connections to get in. But then Colonel Graff visits and interviews him. Dabeet then gets sent into space where he learns how to become a good leader.
Characters: I appreciate the diversity of the children who are of different races and ethnicities. In my opinion, Dabeet is a dynamic, well-developed character. He isn’t the most likeable, but I had fun seeing him deal with his shortcomings. Dabeet is more book smart than anything, which I can relate to.
“There is no curiosity without hope, and there is no hope without disappointment.”
Conflict: It’s a coming of age story where the main character has to deal with his flaws in order to save the school from outside danger.
Writing: Card writes in the third person point of view, but readers also get a glimpse into Dabeet’s thoughts. I think I would’ve liked a distinction between the two. Something as simple as italicizing his inner monologue would’ve helped for greater clarity.
The writing provides detailed descriptions of what’s going on. That said, some words and concepts kind of went over my head.
Also, the chapters aren’t too long, but a few felt longer than I expected. Some chapters starts off with dialogue between two people. At first, the book doesn’t reveal much about the parties doing the talking. Later, readers find out their identities. I found myself liking the somewhat cryptic conversations by the end.
I wish Card included more action and less description or just less telling with more showing. He doesn’t spend a lot of time world building, however. To be fair, the world has been established in previous novels already.
Final thoughts: At times, the book felt more educational than entertaining, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
I enjoyed the ending the most. It was exciting. I got the closure I needed, and I’m not left with too many unanswered questions.
You don’t have to read all the other books to understand Children of the Fleet. Nevertheless, knowing the history of the wars doesn’t hurt.
I think this particular novel wouldn’t appeal to everybody, but if you’re a fan of sci-fi in space, you might like it.
The book is supposed to be a standalone in a popular series, so kudos to Card for telling a complicated story about children.