Thursday, November 1, 2012

Book #58

Ender's Shadow, by Orson Scott Card. Unabridged audio.

Not exactly a "sequel" to Ender's Game, this book is closer to being a "co-quel," if you will. It covers the same time frame and events as Game, but this one tells the story of Bean, and Ender Wiggin is merely a supporting character. This change of POV is an interesting idea in storytelling, and the fact that Card is able to in essence tell the same story again in an engaging way is impressive.

The first 80% of the book was very interesting, as the focus on Bean was something entirely different from what I've already read in Game. The introduction of the character of Sister Carlotta helped add originality to this novel, successfully placing the novel in a different world from its predecessor (literally and figuratively). I appreciated much that this new character represented, and felt that she added depth and a sense of reality to this very sci-fi world. The story of Bean's early life in this novel more compelling to me than Wiggin's early life in Game, and Card does a great job explaining the complicated psychology (and physiology) of Bean. 

But the last few chapters of Shadow, the most plot-heavy parts of the novel, felt too familiar. The ending was a highlight of Game, with a terrific twist that I did not see coming at all. The tension that was thick in Game is much lessened here, as the ending of the story is already known. The ending states of the characters were not known, and Card does a good job filling in those, but the story is such a critical part of both Shadow and Game, that is hard to make that part of the book compelling.

The character of Bean, and the overall world that Card has created in these novels, make this a worthwhile read. I will pick up more books in from this world, continuing with either (or both) the Wiggin stories, or the Bean stories.

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