My reading lately has comprised of Orson Scott Card’s excellent Ender’s Game series. I got a copy of six of the books from an officemate a couple of months back, and I’ve just finished the seventh book today. I don’t usually go through books that quickly, so it’s a sign that I’ve really enjoyed this series. (If I don’t enjoy a series, I typically lose interest before even finishing the book – I have a copy of Sword of Shannara around here to prove that.)
The books are more-or-less sci-fi, the first book Ender’s Game taking place in a “near future” setting, where brilliant children are raised to help fight a war against an invading alien species. The later books branch from the original, with the Speaker for the Dead arc leaning towards philosophical meanings of life in outer space, while the Shadow series of books focus more on political and strategic stuff on Earth.
In the Speaker for the Dead branch (Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind), Card’s characters are usually placed in a series of moral and ethical dilemmas presented by the various sci-fi elements presented: metaphysical discoveries, sentient alien races, etc. The reader is really drawn in to the character’s situations, making the books quite the page turner.
The Shadow branch (Ender’s Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow Puppets, and I have yet to read Shadow Giants) focuses less on the moral decisions, but more of political or military-related issues in a world divided after the defeat of the alien invaders. The story focuses on what happens to Ender’s companions after they return to Earth, and seem to be leading up to how Ender’s brother Peter eventually became the leader of the world. It’s a bit disappointing that Peter is so stupid in Shadow Puppets though, I hope he’s better in the next book.
The series is awesome overall, and I look forward to the continuation; supposedly Card is writing a sequel that will tie both branches together.