12 November, 2010

(Audiobook) Review - Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card

While still a proponent that Card should have left it at Ender's Game and been done with this saga, Ender's Shadow [US] [UK] is not only good, it's definitely worth reading.

As a parallel novel to Orson Scott Card's classic Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow follows Bean, the kid Ender treats like the teachers treated him.

While hesitant to pick this up, I had heard that the Shadow series is better than the original quartet, but I couldn't get away from the feeling that it would pretty much be the same book. I'm glad I was wrong.

The first quarter or so of the book takes us from Beans upbringing in the slums of Rotterdam as he barely survives on the streets through the child gangs and bullying to his discovery and entry into Battle School.

Already, Ender's Shadow is completely different from Ender's Game. Bean has obviously survived because of his immense intelligence, which not only rivals Ender's, but far surpasses it. The only problem is there is one other person on the streets who happens to have it out for Bean because of what Bean's done to him. Achilles (pronounced Asheel) holds grudges like no one else, but also knows how to work the system, especially adults.

Card is a master storyteller, even turning what is essentially the same story in Ender's Game into something new and unique. Characterization is flawless and while Bean is a super-intelligent kid, he is in every way relatable to the reader. Let's be honest, kids can be brutal and Card understands this perfectly.

Bean is able to out-think everyone at flight school from the kid commanders to the teachers and officers. He knows what will get him in trouble whether it's bullies or teachers, but he also knows most everything else that is going on in Battle School even those things the teachers don't want him to know. Those things that make him a risk and have the teachers wondering whether he belongs.

Audio Commentary

There is a full cast for this one and Scott Brick, playing Bean, does an amazing job. In fact there's not one bad performance and even the great Stefan Rudnicki plays a minor role (Worth it just to listen to him).

At the end of the book, Card gives an afterword that mainly discusses the movie Ender's Game that he says will be a combination of Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow. This wasn't the original decision, but actually helped to cut down the script being able to play from both point of views.

Card also mentions that once someone writes a book everyone starts asking when it's going to be made into a movie, to which he replies, it's already in it's perfect form, it's a book. Too true!

Sadly, this movie will probably never come to pass - I don't know how long these talks have been going on, but it's been a while.

Why Should You Read Ender's Shadow?

This is a great follow up (or beginning) to the classic, Ender's Game. It puts you right into the setting and mind of the main character and everything becomes real. Coupled with Card's writing, you can't go wrong - this is a great book. Highly Recommended.

4.5 out of 5 Stars


ediFanoB said...

I could never review an audiobook because I always fall asleep after ten minutes.

After reading your review I'm not sure whether Ender's Shadow is a book for me or not. My taste is in progress ....
Anyhow I should try to give all my unread books a try before switching to a new series.

Bryce L. said...

I really like listening to audiobooks while I'm driving or taking the bus. Not good if you fall asleep easily. :)

To each his own as you always say, I know it's not for everyone. I had lots of fun, but I know you have tons to read right now.

bloggeratf said...

Just finished his new fantasy book and it is great as well. Ender got me into scifi so I always have a soft spot for the author, even with his slightly off kilter political views.

Bryce L. said...

@Alec - He's definitely a great writer and storyteller no matter what he says outside this forum. I had a great time with this one and I'll probably throw a few more OSC books in in the next couple months.

Simcha said...

I've been listening to audio books a lot lately and recently listened to two full-cast ones that were really excellent. It's almost like watching a play. I've never read Ender's Game though I keep meaning to and even have it already. maybe I'll try the audio books instead.

Bryce L. said...

This audiobook was one of the better ones I've listened to. Definitely recommended Simcha, although written form is also great. :D

Ron Buckmire said...

Endes Game was one of my fave books of all time growing up and I have read a fair amount of the seocnd seies of books that Card has put out.

However, I no longer buy them and I can barely stomach to read them now that I know he is raving, misogynistic homophobe. He wants to reinstate sodomy laws to criminalize homosexuality and is a BOARD MEMBER of the "National Organization for Marriage" whose mission is to deny equal marriage rights to same-sex couples nationwide.

It does bring up a good philosophical question: Should/would you read books by authors who have views and values diametrically opposed to your own?

Lynnette said...

This can't really have effect, I think like this.