Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card

So, after a long hiatus, I'm back with a few updates. First on the docket: Ender's Shadow, Card's parallel novel to the classic Ender's Game. If you've read Ender's Game, you'll know that it follows the path of Ender, an unusually talented child who becomes the human's leader in their war against the invading Buggers. It's quite good, one of the best sci-fi novels I've read, so I was rather interested to see how Ender's Shadow would augment Ender's Game.

The original title of Shadow was Urchin, and it would have been a little more fitting. It's obvious that Ender was included in the title to obviously tie the book to its classic predecessor, but anyone reading Shadow hoping to learn about Ender will be sorely disappointed. In fact, Ender doesn't appear in the first half of the book, and for most of the second half, he's a periphery character. The protagonist in Shadow is Bean, a periphery character in Ender's Game. The first half of the book chronicles his life on the streets of Rotterdam, and how me managed to survive despite being the smallest and weakest. Without giving spoilers, it also sets up characters that I suspect are expanded upon in the later volumes of the series.

The first half of the book is the most interesting, since it gives nothing but new information. The second half is good as well, but if you've read Ender's Game, there's no big reveal, and the ending is already known, so it lacks the suspense of its older brother. Still, Ender's Shadow is a fine book in its own right, and anyone who enjoyed Game should give it a shot.

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