This book takes us back to the Battle School events in Ender's Game, but retold from the perspective of a secondary character, Bean. You may wonder w..Show More »hy you would want to read the same story again, but the manner in which it is written is excellent and at no point did I feel like I was going over old material. The back-story of Bean is gone into in detail which introduces new, interesting characters. The story from when he arrives at Battle School is very much Bean's and the author has ensured that Bean develops his own identity in the school and his own story before even meeting Ender.
This is the first in the "Shadow" series and of the five Enders books I have now listened to, this is just behind Ender's Game which is firmly the best. OSC uses his monumental skills to tell another great story, with great character, plot and dialogue. The narration team are as always exemplary.
You do not need to have read the Ender's series first, but I would strongly recommend it.
First the Audio - this is a top-notch production, well voiced, with multiple readers, each giving a different voice to the primary characters. In fact..Show More », it is closer to a performance than a reading. A set of closing comments by Scott Card mention that his novels are meant to be read aloud. You can understand why as this makes for a truly gripping listen.
The story is also excellent. It centres primarily about Bean and Petra as they struggle to prevent Achilles from making a play for world domination in the political chaos following the conclusion of the Formic wars. Several Battle school graduates play important roles and it is quite suspenseful, the lives of the characters, not to mention global domination, hang in the balance. The plot also offers some interesting views on how nations may jockey with each other for global dominance. Card refers to this book as a book about 'the great game', and while you may not agree that some of the scenarios he spins are plausible, I found them to be so. In fact, I found some of the geopolitical subplots a somewhat scary prediction on the next 50 years.
I had not read Ender's Shadow in a while (the previous book dealing with the character of Bean) and I did not remember most of it. I do not think it is necessary to have read it to enjoy this book. I do however recommend reading (or re-reading) Ender's Game before this one, as it increases the understanding of the background and increases the emotional investment in the main characters. There is an excellent audio version of Ender's Game on Audible.
I feel the Shadow series has gone on a little too long with this one. Although I really enjoyed it, there is nothing particularly novel in the story...Show More » There is a sense of fatigue in the way the story is being told, almost as though the author is only really trying to mirror the number of books in the original Ender Series with the number of books in the Shadow Series - four a piece. (There are three others at present that fill in story elements)
"Ender's Shadow" was a five-star book, but since then, the series has declined in purpose and originality. The character of Peter Wiggin has been reduced from the brilliant, emotionally violent and sarcastic future world saviour, to what I feel is a churlish, weak individual, greatly outshone by Bean.
I will listen to the final book in the series ("Shadow of the Giant") but only for completeness and with a sense of apprehension as to how far the author will continue to undermine its superb antecedents.
This book redeems the previous two books in the series and I am now happy that I finished the "Shadow" series. The storyline speeds up and improves i..Show More »n this book compared to the previous two offerings and the whole saga is nicely rounded off.
I still hold that by writing these Shadow books, OSC has undermined the original four "Ender" books, mainly eroding the strength of character and actions of Ender and Peter Wiggin. This is a shame, as these two characters had been so well worked on and developed by OSC in the original series that they each had a magically unique aura by the series end.
Nevertheless, reading the eight books has been a great experience and I would strongly recommend reading the first seven to reach this brilliant book. I will probably continue with the other 3 books in what has been termed the "Enderverse".