Genre: Science Fiction
Series: Fleet School #1
Publisher: Tor Books (October 10, 2017)
Length: 384 pages
My Rating: 3 stars
With Children of the Fleet, Orson Scott Card delivers the fast-paced, exciting space adventure he has long been synonymous with. This tale of teen genius Dabeet Ochoa riveting both in its re-purposing of battle school as well as its focus on the trial and tribulations of its new protagonist, as he encounters manipulation and mysteries along his way toward fulfilling his dreams.
After Ender Wiggin ended the Third Formic war, the focus of the International Fleet changed. Now, the old Battle School has been re-purposed as a Fleet School, tasked with producing a new generation of leaders, who will lead the Ministry of Colonizations’ expeditions to settle humans across the habitable worlds of the Formic Empire. The only thing which hasn’t changed is Hirum Graff is still involved, and child geniuses are still the preferred students for the new Fleet School.
Enter Dabeet Ochoa. This teenager is an immigrant to the United States and also a genius by any standard. He is driven, arrogant, yet cunning enough to cover-up his inner feelings of superiority with a veneer of politeness and harmlessness. Naturally, Dabeet aspires to attend Fleet School, though he doubts he will ever be accepted since he has no ties to the Fleet, but his motivations to do so are less grand or altruistic than others. All Dabeet really desires is to get away from his over-protective and smothering mother, who never tires of telling everyone elaborate lies (At least, Dabeet believes them to be untrue.) of a Fleet officer who impregnated her then abandoned her and Dabeet. The constant annoyance of his mother the driving force behind Dabeet’s success.
For all his plans and triumphs however, Dabeet never dreams of actually being accepted into Fleet School. At least, he doesn’t until one day he has a rather notorious visitor: Colonel Graff. The old teacher of Ender Wiggins having taken a personal interest in this gifted youth.
As many of you will have no doubt guessed, Children of the Fleet is a coming-of-age tale about Dabeet Ochoa, involves military-like training, and it definitely has some similarities to Ender’s Game in its general execution. But make no mistake, this is a completely different beast with new characters, different themes, and a more detailed build.
The main focus of the narrative and its greatest success is the character of Dabeet Ochoa. Orson Scott Card crafting a complex youth who has exceptional abilities yet severe weakness, specifically his difficulty making friends, judging people, and not allowing his arrogance and disdain for others to get in the way of being able to work with them. His flaws major hurdles to overcome if he ever wishes to become an expedition leader, who must lead large groups of people into space. This story a tale about Dabeet attempting to mend his ways, mold himself into the new sort of hero which the world now needs.
Complimenting this character study is a very intriguing undertone of political lies and intrigue. Something is going on in the Ministry of Colonization; their motives not as altruistic as one would expect from this organization. But what the Ministry is hiding and what their true motives are is never revealed, merely teased, and promise an unwelcomed surprises as the series progresses.
The only criticism I can level at the book is the fairly numerous explanatory sections of the narrative, which were lengthy at times. Certainly, new visitors to the Enderverse need to be brought up to date on everything which occurred with Ender Wiggins, but these interludes of tell-not-show were used a bit too much for my personal tastes, though others might not necessarily agree.
Overall, Children of the Fleet did a great job introducing a far different kind of character in Dabeet Ochoa, placing him on the pathway to exciting adventures and real character growth, and teasing readers with suggestions of far more dangerous and ominous intrigue taking place just outside their perceptions. Plus, it did something even more noteworthy to Enderverse fans: it returned Orson Scott Card to this beloved setting and promises even grander stories to come.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank them for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.