Learn more Shop now Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Fitbit

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

There are very few examples of "parallel novels," and I must confess that when I think of such things it is Tom Stoppard's play "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead," which parallel's "Hamlet," that first comes to mind. Anne McCaffrey plays around with it to a limited extent in several of her Pern novels and there is a book out about Ahab's wife, but neither of those is trying to do what Orson Scott Card attempts in "Ender's Shadow." It is rare indeed when the original author decides to go back and cover old ground from a new perspective. But then as most of us well know by now, Uncle Orson does not disappoint his legion of readers.
The title character is Bean, who was introduced in the original novel as even younger and smaller than Ender Wiggin when he first arrived at the Battle School. The Bean of "Ender's Shadow" does not conflict with the character as originally presented in "Ender's Game," but certainly there is little to suggest in the first book of the true extent of Bean's abilities. There was the definite notion that Bean was closest to Ender in terms of being the chosen one, but it was a sketchy idea at best. The strength of this book is how Card expands Bean's character, developing the idea that Bean, the production of an illegal genetics experiment, is the main competition for Ender and perhaps the only viable alternative. It becomes clear early on that Bean is smarter than Ender, maybe smarter than anybody else in the world. However, what is in doubt is whether that awesome intelligence is enough to make him the best choice to lead the Earth's forces against the Buggers. Again, as in the entire Ender series, the question of "humanness" comes into play because of the genetic experiment that resulted in Bean's birth. As always, Card wants to explore this issue in terms of actions and behaviors rather than physical forms and structures.
In his forward Card tells us that he wanted to write "Ender's Shadow" so that it would not matter to the reader which of the two parallel works they read first. In the abstract he has certainly succeeded in this regard, but of course they should be read in the "proper" order simply because it is this newer novel that better informs us of what happened in the first rather than the other way around. When Card actually does cover a scene from "Ender's Game" one of the things I really appreciated was how he could give added significance to dialogue from the first novel (the best example of this is Bean's "The gate is down" during the battle at the Bugger's Homeworld). For those who always liked "Ender's Game" as the first and best of the Ender novels, this one is certain to be their next favorite work in the series.
0Comment| 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 28 January 2001
Having read some reviews about this book before reading it, I came to it with mixed feelings. I didnt want a re-hash of Ender's Game which is one of my favourite books ever. And I'm glad to say you don't get any of that.
The story is just as envolving second time around, as it was in Ender's Game. Orson scott card is one of the elite few science fiction writers who can do brilliant characterisation. I was hooked from the first page and couldnt put it down. I was glad to be on holiday while reading it, so i didnt have to stop.
At the Beginning of the book I didn't like Bean, I hadn't liked him from Enders game. But through the book his character grew on me, as a seperate entity, not at all detracting from Ender's accoumplishment. If anything he helped me appreciate Ender more.
This book could easily be read on its own. but if you read Ender's game first you will understand some of the mystique that Bean feels towards Ender.
This book in some ways felt like a flashback scene in a movie. Adding to the original story unconvering information you wished for in the original.
Fantastic gripping novel. It leaves you wanting more.
Only hope the next one in the series ("Shadow of the Hegenmon"), justifies my anticipation.
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 19 January 2007
I loved "Ender's Game" when I read it as a girl - and then reading "Ender's Shadow" 15 years later, I am amazed at how brilliant it supplements Ender's Game.

It's the same story, but with a very different angle. We follow Bean and learn of his childhood as an urchin in Amsterdam and how he is recruited to Battle School and fight alone, side by side with Ender - against the buggers, Battle School and himself.

Card succeeds in giving a thorough and interesting insight of the "backstage" life of Battle School and the mechanics - and not least of Bean pulling strings and trying to survive and save the world in his own way.
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 23 May 2001
Ender's shadow is a book about ender's game but from "Beans" perspective. But it isn't ender's game! It does not detract from the origianl nor pay homage to it. Ender's shadow stands out as a brilliant, inspired, inspirational and riveting read all on it's own, via it's own merit.
It doesn't matter if you've read ender's game or not, you will still love this book. I personally raved about ender's game, but in it's subtle ways I prefer this one. I started reading it at 10am and was still doing so at 4.30am, it was so captivating and spellbinding that i just did not want to put it down until I had finished it.
In all honesty this is probably one of the best books I have ever had the pleasure to read. It is emotional, inspired, enthralling, astounding, spellbinding, a true unmitigated work of art. It is obviously well researched and well loved by the author and deservedly so.
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 7 March 2000
I read Ender's Game, the first book in Orson Scott Card's Ender saga, a couple of weeks ago and found it compelling reading. The book was by turns exciting and tragic, and Card's writing style was brief and to the point, focussing on the characters and messages within the story without falling into the trap of excessively descriptive prose to pad the book out. This made Ender's Game one of my favourite books of all time, and I eagerly awaited the sequel (Speaker for the Dead) to appear in my local library.
However, Ender's Shadow (Card's latest novel in the saga), was available first and I desperately needed to read another of the series. This book is a parallel novel to Ender's Game, set in the same time period and featuring the familiar settings of Battle School and Command School, as well as most of the original characters. This time the story is seen through the eyes of Bean, a frighteningly intelligent and perceptive boy who has had to fend for himself living rough on the streets of Rotterdam since the age of 9 months! (He is no ordinary child). His sharp mind and will to survive against all odds are soon noticed, and like Ender he is rushed through Battle School as the threat of the alien invasion draws closer.
The character of Bean contrasts Ender perfectly - his early years on the streets have made him calculating and without emotion. It is fascinating to see his attitude to Ender change as the story progresses and Bean realises and accepts the part that he will play in the war against the alien race. He learns the meaning of love, trust and loyalty, and finds that he has, after all, got a soul. Anybody who has had to struggle in life and felt that they were "different" will relate to this aspect of Bean's character.
Much of the story concentrates on Bean's thoughts and unfailing sense of logic and tactics, making Bean's character probably better defined than Ender's, but I somehow cared more about Ender because he was ridden with guilt and regret at the tragic end of Ender's Game. In contrast, Bean's conscience is clear at the end of the "Bugger War" (he doesn't have to live with the consequences) so the reader feels much less pity for him. In this respect, the conclusion of this book has less impact.
In brief, Ender's Shadow is another classic which can be read immediately after Ender's Game - reading the saga in this order probably has its benefits, as it is rewarding to have the first novel fresh in your mind. "Shadow" explains many events and actions of the characters from "Game" but you have to bear in mind that "Shadow" is seen from Bean's perspective and opinion. Ender's Shadow has pages that are almost cloned from Ender's Game but are new and fresh because of Bean's outlook, and these are expertly handled. This book didn't quite have the impact on me that Ender's Game did, but I still cannot recommend it highly enough. Now on to Speaker for the Dead!
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 30 November 1999
Mr Scott Card has the ability to write deceptively simple prose. His writing style doesn't intrude and so it is very easy to lose yourself in one of his books: I certainly lost myself in this one even though I did not find this book had the intellectual stimulation of the others in the series. Even so it was a very enjoyable read. I will have to re-read Enders Game (again!!) in the light of what I know about Bean and that is where this book has its strength - it enhances the original, which is why I think that it is not a stand-alone book. My only complaint is that somehow the ending was too sweet. Bean's character was developing to the point where he could start to emote but I feel the last chapter was somehow wrong. Perhaps the situation was right, but I do not think Bean would reveal himself emotionally to people he had only just met. Despite that, the need for a sequel is there and I will be first in the queue for the book.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 15 September 2009
Firstly, this story is very entertaining in its own right, but if you haven't read "Ender's Game" then I recommend that you start there. In fact, stop reading reviews of this book now before you read any spoilers. This book was written with the intention of being a stand-along novel, and I think that it's a success in that regard, but it's still better to read the 'right way round' in my opinion. Although the two stories are parallel, this one has some 'plot spoilers' of "Ender's Game". Obviously, you'll know what's going to happen either in the other story whichever way you read them, but it works better this way round as the background to some of the key events is not explained to the same extent in "Ender's Shadow".

The story itself centres around Bean, who is a supporting character in the original story. We follow his struggle to survive on the streets of Rotterdam among the gangs of urchins, and then his recruitment into Battle School. The school is located on a space station and is the central training facility for a branch of the international military forces that protect the Earth. They are trying to find and train the greatest military commander that mankind has ever seen in order to defeat an alien race that has attacked Earth twice already. They are expected to return, so all children are tested in order to find the next space fleet commander to defend the planet in the forthcoming battle.

The majority of the book details the tests and training that Bean goes through. This to me was the best part of "Ender's Game", in particular the scenes within the Battle Room, with the teachers contually changing the rules to test Ender. In this story we don't see as much of that side of the action, as Bean is more concerned with the larger picture. He's the youngest and smallest child there, but also smartest. In many ways he appears to eclipse Ender in this version of the story, and that might seem a bit strange to people who have read the original book.

I can't say much more without giving away the twists and turns in the story, but I thoroughly recommend the book to any fans of the Ender series.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 2 December 2002
Orson Scott Card is undoubtably my favourite Sci-Fi author. 'Ender's Game' was a fantastic book and, if possible, 'Ender's Shadow' is even better. Both books are thoroughly enjoyable and the physiological imput is astoundingly clever and accurate, and all the characters were detailed and wonderful. I cannot give this book enough praise. It's the best book I've read in a long time in any genre, and that's saying something!
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 25 October 1999
I just read this book and i must say that it was very interesting. Not only is the book a complete unique story, it also gives a whole new look at certain facts from the Enders game story.(like his army, what is the story behind the genetic enhancement on the chinese Path world, etc)
Card gives a very disturbing view of Rotterdam, and the whole Netherlands, especially for someone born in Delft. Because the first signs that can lead to such a future are already visible.
The end gives me the idea that there will be more, because some very important story line is left open.
Good book, even if you never read Enders Game.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 13 January 2000
This book is amazing. I first read ENDER'S GAME about 4 years ago. I bought it and have re-read it many times and each time it makes me awestruck immediately after putting it down. When I got ENDER'S SHADOW through the post I couldn't wait to read it, but was pleasantly surprized to find myself feeling the same way afterwards. Even though it is not a sequel, I wasn't expecting it to be as good. It is exciting, exhilarating and thought-provoking. I honestly found it very difficult to put down. Orson Scott Card provides a very good read here. He uses the events from ENDER'S GAME, but prevents them from becoming identical and repetative by using such a different perspective. A perspective which reveals a deeper and more subtle chracter to the shaping of the main events, and to the behaviour of the individuals in the first book that we all picked up on, yet weren't explained. ENDER'S SHADOW is to ENDER'S GAME what Bean is to Nikolai. You just have to keep your mind on the Big Picture. I wonder what happened to Bean?
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse