4 out of 5 Stars!
I read my first Orson Scott Card story back in high school, beginning with Ender’s Game. The story was brutal and fascinating, leading me to conquer several more of Card’s novels over the span of a year or so.
Well, high school was a long time ago, but when I saw this new arrival at my local library, I couldn’t help but pick it up 🙂
Children of the Fleet is a new angle on Card’s bestselling series, telling the story of the Fleet in space, parallel to the story on Earth told in the Ender’s Shadow series.
Ender Wiggin won the Third Formic war, ending the alien threat to Earth. Afterwards, all the terraformed Formic worlds were open to settlement by humans, and the International Fleet became the arm of the Ministry of Colonization, run by Hirum Graff. MinCol now runs Fleet School on the old Battle School station, and still recruits very smart kids to train as leaders of colony ships, and colonies.
Dabeet Ochoa is a very smart kid. Top of his class in every school. But he doesn’t think he has a chance at Fleet School, because he has no connections to the Fleet. That he knows of. At least until the day that Colonel Graff arrives at his school for an interview.
Have you ever read a book that you hate one minute then love the next? That was this book for me–though love definitely won out in the end!
Children of the Fleet follows the story of Dabeet, a ridiculously smart kid who’s not afraid to make sure everyone around him knows exactly how smart he is. Dabeet is socially awkward, driven, and kind of a jerk simply because he doesn’t understand how to interact with normal people. I wanted to strangle the kid for half the book…the other half I wanted to give him a big hug and assure him everything was going to be okay. I loved how unique his character was.
We follow Dabeet as he goes to great measures to get accepted into fleet school, earning the attention of some unsavory types who threaten to turn his life upside down. Once Dabeet gets into space, it’s easy to prove himself to his teachers, but proving himself to the other students turns out to be an entirely different story.
And each of those students has their own spunky personality, whether endearing or annoying. It’s so much fun watching how this group of middle-schoolers manages to work around their adult supervision to have fun and explore. Especially Monkey–this girl gets into everything and questions everyone. Nothing gets past her.
The settings in this novel are amazing. Orson Scott Card is a genius when it comes to science fiction. He mixes just enough hard science into the story to keep readers hanging on his every word. His descriptions of the space station, the ships, and even the void of space are so intricate and exact, I was at the edge of my seat for the last half of the novel.
The only complaint I had about this book was the pacing. There were definitely some lags near the beginning that I had to power through. The writing style doesn’t help this. Card can be a bit dry at times, though this is partially due to the particular character voice used throughout–Dabeet is kind of a dry kid.
Overall, Children of the Fleet is a great novel I would recommend for fans of space opera and new science fiction readers alike. Four out of Five Stars!