Science-fiction epic. If you're a fan of Tepper's work, just go ahead and buy it. This is one of her best.
Working within her chosen themes of emancipation, ecological sustainability and family planning, Tepper creates strong and more-then believable characters. Epic in its scale, her work always surprised and Shadow's End is typical of her work. It contains well-formed and communicated worlds without getting bogged down in an excess of description. Chilling at times, heart-rending at others, thought provoking throughout. The characters begin their journeys so separately, as is typical of Tepper, that at first you wonder when and how they will tie together but as the book progresses she ties up each individual thread towards a conclusion that leaves you breathless.
An excellent and riveting book, typical of Sheri Tepper. As usual, she raises pertinent issues about the way we live and treat our world (and each other) within the context of a fast moving and intriguing story. i have yet to read a book by sheri Tepper that I didn't think extremely highly of and this was no exception
I enjoyed the book. By comparison with many books by many other authors, it was a jolly good read, with interesting ideas. It just was not as good as other works by Tepper, such as Family Tree or Grass or Raising The Stones, which I absolutely loved.
'Shadow's End' does not waste too much time with exposition; the manner in which characters and story elements are introduced is reminiscent of Pratchett, where short (seemingly unconnected) episodes serve to introduce the characters and story, making it implicitly clear that they are meant to converge at some point. The reader does not have to wait too long for them to untangle either, the story is fast paced and quick to read, offering just the right amount of titbits to keep tension high until the half-way point, when there appear to have been too many revelations to allow the reader to guess at the ending. Here, the story takes a turn, this time with all protagonists and all previously introduced facets of the alien threat in one place and hinting at something larger and even more dangerous, but the final confrontation with this ultimate threat is handled very poorly. The characters are two-dimensional, presenting little more than stereotypes drawn from across the world of feminist sci-fi literature, with the author not quite bothering to make them her own. The male characters are belligerent and parochial in their thinking, while the female characters are emotional and clueless and their constant soul-searching over the injustices done to women and nature in a universe ruled by men (or Man) is tiring. The antagonist, too, is a problem, an alien threat, which is about to wipe out human colonies in a sector of space and which takes different forms in the different episodes. The author herself does not seem to have figured out what motivates this creature, nor is she at all sure how to bring her characters' arcs to a fulfilling end (in the case of the child of Lutha, she appears to have given up any attempt at a sensible conclusion). The final confrontation is over so quickly that there is still much time left for more soul-searching and crying and the resolution is far too neat for what is supposed to be a contentious social and environmental issue.