Ender's Game is a very large epic science-fiction series by Orson Scott Card. To quote wikipedia:

It currently consists of fifteen novels, thirteen short stories, 47 comic issues, an audioplay, and a film.

With so many books, it's overwhelming to know where to start. Especially since the books are not all in chronological order, and are still being written today. The books that are currently out (in release order) are:

  • Ender's Game
  • Speaker for the Dead
  • Xenocide
  • Children of the Mind
  • Ender's Shadow
  • Shadow of the Hegemon
  • Shadow Puppets
  • Shadow of the Giant
  • A War of Gifts: An Ender Story
  • Ender in Exile
  • Shadows in Flight
  • Earth Unaware
  • Earth Afire
  • Earth Awakens
  • The Swarm

and The Hive, The Queens, Shadows Alive, and Fleet School are planned to be released in the future.

What is the chronological order of this series? And more importantly, what order should I read them in?


2 Answers 2


In my personal opinion, the best order would be the publishing order. It's the order they were written in and for the most part is pretty straight forward. The main stories, in order of publication:

  1. Ender's Game
  2. Speaker for the Dead
  3. Xenocide
  4. Children of the Mind
  5. Ender's Shadow
  6. Shadow of the Hegemon
  7. Shadow Puppets
  8. Shadow of the Giant

However, the in-universe chronological order is a bit different:

  1. Ender's Shadow
  2. Ender's Game
  3. Shadow of the Hegemon
  4. Shadow Puppets
  5. Shadow of the Giant
  6. Speaker for the Dead
  7. Xenocide
  8. Children of the Mind.

In the end, it's up to you. This list also doesn't include the many other books in the same universe, it's just the main ones.

  • 8
    My opinion, the order should be: 1. Ender's Game Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 19:40
  • I recently bought a Quintet version on Google Play Books, which included Ender's Game to Children of the Mind in this order, then Ender in Exile. It had an afterword by Orson Scott Card which says the Ender in Exile is partly a sequel for the Shadow books. I hadn't read these, and the introduction of VIrlomi and Achilles left me a bit annoyed.
    – muru
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 2:03
  • 1
    I've downvoted this answer because it's almost totally unsupported: you say publication order is best, but without explaining why. Meta consensus is that such answers to suggested-order questions are bad.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Sep 29, 2017 at 10:49
  • This answer is missing everything that came out since 2005, including six novels which are specifically asked about in the question. It's also missing the twelve short stories.
    – user4331
    Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 1:50

Orson Scott Card said something about this (shamelessfully stolen from this answer on SFF)

You can read them in the order written - Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind, then Ender's Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow Puppets, Shadow of the Giant. Or you can read them in chronological order of story beginnings, which is Ender's Shadow, Ender's Game, Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow Puppets, Shadow of the Giant, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind.

But in truth it doesn't matter, except that you should read Xenocide right before Children of the Mind, since they are really two halves of a single continuous story. In most of my books, I include all the information you need.

Emphasis added by me.

  • This is not the full version of Card's stance on reading order. He has a much more nuanced approach which he goes through here. The words you've bolded are his opinion on what you need to understand any particular book, not what order he thinks the series is best read in.
    – user4331
    Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 1:50

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