I enjoyed this book quite a bit and I can't wait to read to the next two in the trilogy. It was a very exciting read even with all of the introspection characteristic of O.S. Card novels. Appropriately the only direct character link between this book and the later Ender novels is the character Mazer Rackham. Amusingly his appearance is little more than a cameo, at least in this book. I would be very surprised if he didn’t play a larger roll in the books that follow. I've read some grumblings about this book not quite fitting into the timeline that was laid out in Ender's Game. I haven't really looked into the details, but I thought this was a very satisfactory first book in the prequel trilogy. I remember reading some sort of forward or listening to an O.S. Card interview where he was talking about changing some small details found in the original version of Ender's Game when he was writing the sequels “Speaker for the Dead” and “Xenocide”. I think he changed the name of some of the planets that Ender visited. If I remember correctly they were changed from generic names to names that related to Shakespeare. Card basically said he would much rather edit small details from the book that were chosen on a whim and write a better more meaningful and satisfactory sequel than be stuck with insignificant details that stop him from writing the story he wants to tell. I think I basically agree with him. If Tolkien didn't rewrite "Riddles in the Dark" "Lord of the Rings" could not have been written. That’s one of my basic rules in life regarding fiction, if Tolkien did it, it is okay.
One final note, like many people I’m very troubled and disappointed by Card’s political views, most specifically as they relate to homosexuality and the rights of homosexuals. There’s a lot of talk about boycotting Card’s works because of this. I certainly understand this reaction. I don’t go to Chickfila for basically the same reason, but I read Card’s novels. Does that make me a hypocrite? Maybe… but like most hypocrites I’ve made up some sort of justification for myself. Firstly in the O.S. Card books I have read I don’t encounter that specific opinion of his on display. Perhaps it is a presence of omission. As far as I can tell the are no homosexuals in Ender’s Universe. I would not be reading books for pleasure where I felt bludgeoned by opinions like that, but the Ender series thus far isn’t like that as far as I can tell and I’m not going to “punish” myself or the author by not reading his books because of his opinions outside the scope of the work I am reading. Then why don’t I eat Chickfila, isn’t good fried chicken outside the scope of bigoted opinions? Possibly, but it is just chicken there are plenty of alternatives, Mr. Card has created a thoughtful, exciting , and interesting scifi universe I quite enjoy visiting. I’ve honestly lost quite a bit of respect for Mr. Card as a person because of these views, but as an author in this particular context he has not let me down, at least not any more so than authors occasionally do ;) Okay I’ll leave it at that. Unless the next rewrite of Enders Game claims that homosexuality some how caused the bugger invasion I’ll keep reading books in this series.