This review is on Ender’s Shadow, the
parallel novel to Ender’s Game. Once again,
spoiler free goodness is just a click away.

General Information

Title: Ender’s Shadow

Author: Orson Scott Card
Original Publication Date: September 1999

ISBN: 0-812-57571-7
Cover Price: US $6.99 / Can $8.99

Movie Information: No plans now, but that might
change if the Ender’s
Game movie is successful. I’m not sure if the
Ender’s Game movie is
still going to happen. It seems to have disappeared
from the hatrack. At least,
the search
engine can’t find it there.

Premise

A war is coming, and humanity doesn’t know when.
Children who have
the skills needed to command in a war are being
trained for the
battle.

Readers familiar with Ender’s Game will
recognize this are a
novel covering the same time period, but from Bean’s
perspective.

High Point

“Did you teach him this attitude of default
hostility?”
“No, I learned it from him.”

Low Point

In Ender’s Game, Ender studies videos of a
famous battle over
and over again until he realizes something about the
enemy that was
not known to the general public. Yet, in this book,
it seems to be
fairly common knowledge, known to both the student
who was trapped in
the ducts and the student who trapped him there.

The Scores

When I started reading this book, I expected it to
get a rather low
mark for originalilty. After all, it’s the
same story told
by a different character, right? Wrong. There’s a
lot more going on
here than Ender’s Game would lead you to
believe. There are
some shared events, but this one is more concerned
with the politics
and manipulations the school’s teachers use than the
first. Also,
there is a storyline surrounding Bean’s private life
that did not
surface in the original. I’ll give it 4 out of 6.

In the case of imagery, I’d have to say the
locations common
to both novels suffered. Many locations and people
should have been
described better, but the descriptions were fleeting,
as though there
was a fear of redundancy. I haven’t read Ender’s
Game
for a
couple of years, so I found myself struggling to
picture some of these
environments. Those environments that were new to
this novel were
explained in adequate, although not incredible
detail. I give it 3
out of 6.

The story was well plotted, although half of
it was already
written. I’d really like to know how many of Bean’s
activities were
perceived while the first novel was written. They
seemed to fit very
well with my (admittedly hazy) memories of the
original. However, the
original story elements weren’t enough to carry the
novel on its own,
and I feel that should be reflected in the score. I
give it 3 out of
6.

The characterization is hard to judge.
Bean’s character is
well developed, but the other characters are not.
However, the story
comes from Bean’s perspective, and the character is a
loner. He is
capable of great insights into the character of
others, but we often
don’t see those characters develop before him.
Rather, when we
encounter that character for the first time in this
text, Bean
recounts his analysis of that person’s personality
type and
weaknesses. If you want characters to develop over
time, pick up
Ender’s Game. I give it 3 out of 6.

If I hadn’t read Ender’s Game, I would have
felt a stronger
emotional response in the final chapters.
Instead, Bean’s
personal storyline is wrapped up in a very
predictable fashion, and
the only true suspense in the final chapters comes
from the same
suspense found in the relevant chapters of
Ender’s Game. The
storylines about Bean’s personal life should have
been partially
postponed until later in the novel, and something of
what happens to
him in the future he’s prepared for should have been
present. The
only aspect of Bean’s personal life I cared about was
left untouched.
I give it 2 out of 6.

In terms of editing, this novel was in
fairly good hands. I
noticed no typographical errors, which is not
uncommon for a fairly
new work. I do feel that the complaints I had with
the Low Point
above fall here. One character who knew what Ender
figured out
shouldn’t have known, and if he hadn’t known, it wuld
have made no
difference to the overall storyline and plots. The
other character
who knew had the ability to reach the same conclusion
as Ender, even
without the extra video Ender had watched. I give
the editing 4 out
of 6.

Overall, this novel is pretty good. Fans of
Ender’s
Game
will probably enjoy it. If you prefer
politics to action,
you might even prefer this book to the original. I
do. I give it 4
out of 6 overall.

In total, Ender’s Shadow receives 23 out
of 42.

I think I may be a bit harsh in my ratings. It
would seem that any
score above 15 or 20 is a book worth reading, a show
worth watching, or a
movie worth seeing.