Read Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card Online


Welcome to Battleschool.Growing up is never easy. But try living on the mean streets as a child begging for food and fighting like a dog with ruthless gangs of starving kids who wouldn't hesitate to pound your skull into pulp for a scrap of apple. If Bean has learned anything on the streets, it's how to survive. And not with fists—He is way too small for that—But with braiWelcome to Battleschool.Growing up is never easy. But try living on the mean streets as a child begging for food and fighting like a dog with ruthless gangs of starving kids who wouldn't hesitate to pound your skull into pulp for a scrap of apple. If Bean has learned anything on the streets, it's how to survive. And not with fists—He is way too small for that—But with brains.Bean is a genius with a magician's ability to zero in on his enemy and exploit his weakness.What better quality for a future general to lead the Earth in a final climactic battle against a hostile alien race, known as Buggers. At Battleschool Bean meets and befriends another future commander—Ender Wiggins—perhaps his only true rival.Only one problem: for Bean and Ender, the future is now....

Title : Ender's Shadow
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780765342409
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 469 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Ender's Shadow Reviews

  • Stephen
    2018-10-15 12:39

    4.0 to 4.5 stars. Okay, now don't turn away thinking that this book is just a "re-telling" of the story of Ender's Game from the perspective of the character of Bean. Not at all. This is not simply OSC cashing in on the success of the Ender Series. This is a completely different novel and there is little to no overlap in the actual events of Ender's Game. It simply takes place at the same time as those events. The purpose of this story is two fold. First, we get to really know Bean who turns out to be a character as gifted as Ender and whose life story is absolutely fascinating. Growing up poor and homeless on the streets in Amsterdam, Bean difficult early childhood is used as the backdrop to explore the Earth of Ender's Game and provide much greater detail of the socio-political-economic environment. I love that kind of stuff so I was in heaven. From there, we get to see Bean's recruitment into Battle School and watch the very different road he takes through the Formic (or bugger) War described in Ender's Game. At the end, it feels like we have finally been told the complete story. The second and MUCH MORE IMPORTANT purpose of this novel is to set the stage for the novels that follow (Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow Puppets and Shadow of the Giant), of which Bean is a central character and which deals with the aftermath of the Formic wars on Earth and the rise of Peter Wiggins (Ender's brother) as Hegemon of Earth. This is a wonderful novel and the beginning of a new and exciting chapter in the Ender saga. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!Nominee: Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (2000)Nominee: SFSite Reader's Poll Best Science Fiction Novel (2000)

  • J.L. Sutton
    2018-10-04 14:29

    Not sure if this was my third or fourth read of Ender's Shadow. Couldn't believe I had never reviewed it (or some of the other Ender books I reread this year). So I really enjoyed this book, which is a parallel novel of Ender's Game. And if you're wondering, I would be on Team Bean. I prefer the Ender sequels, but Bean's story of Battleschool and the war with the Formics is more compelling than Ender's version (in my opinion). That said, Ender's Shadow, Ender's Game (and the Ender's Game Series) are well worth the read. Even though the protagonists are very young (especially Bean), this novel connects lots of issues with good storytelling.

  • seak
    2018-10-10 11:48

    Very impressed with how good this was. I count myself in the party that there shouldn't have been anything past Ender's Game (like The Matrix and most any sequels Hollywood makes nowadays), but I have to admit this was great.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 CommentaryThere 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. [EDIT: Obviously this was written a couple years ago because it's definitely going to be a film]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

  • Nicholas Karpuk
    2018-09-22 18:31

    When I read a description of a book summing it up as a retelling of a story from a different perspective, I groan internally and my interest wanes slightly.Ender's Shadow follows those exact lines. We switch from Ender's perspective to Bean's, the brilliant dwarf child who serves under his command.What shocked me the most was how much more I preferred Bean's perspective. Ender grew up with a loving family and had a generally conventional outlook for a genius. Bean functions as a direct contradiction, having grown up in squalor with no family, a tiny body, and a brain capable of cutting through almost anything.Bean spends most of the novel slicing through the world of the Battle school at angles that give him vastly more information and awareness of the world than Ender possessed, and his angry, calculating view gives the story a much richer perspective.The only issues arise from the few points where it directly intersects Ender's Game. Bean wasn't written with a great deal of depth in the original story, he qualified as a background character, and anytime his conversations with Ender come up, the interactions feel weirdly unnatural. It's almost as if this larger, more multi-faceted Bean doesn't fit back in his original container.Despite what Card states in the introduction, you should not read this book first. Many bits of necessary exposition from Ender's Game are not reiterated here, and part of the fun derives from getting Bean's bird's-eye view of what Ender's witnessed from within the trenches.The score I gave this book should almost be the score awarded to the two books collectively, as I read them consecutively. There's a reason Card wanted to movie adaptation to essentially be a combination of Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow. The two complement each other amazingly well.

  • Kat Kennedy
    2018-10-08 13:38

    I personally found that I enjoyed Ender's Shadow more than Ender's Game. Perhaps because I found Bean, as a character, more relatable in how he analyzes and views people and the world in general. He also felt more real as a character in that he is awkward and clueless and greatly flawed.The pacing for this book is a little less smooth in comparison to Ender's Game. The plot, on the other hand, is a little better as you have a greater insight into the background workings of Ender's success. Graff and other characters come to life in a greater degree and have more personality and "air time". So too does Petra.Over all, I enjoyed this book.

  • R.K. Gold
    2018-10-14 15:30

    While Ender's Game taught me that reading is fun, Ender's shadow is my favorite book (and series) in the Ender Universe. Ender may be the hero the universe needed but Bean is the most powerful weapon the universe had. The down and dirty story of an orphan child who had to learn to survive on his own at the age of four and looked on the world in contempt is just the hero I needed to re-introduce myself to Card's work.I read this book back when I worked at Barnes and Noble and would sneak reads behind the cash register when the store was slow/would get most of my reading done on breaks and lunch. I didn't particularly feel guilty either because most of the time I was never relieved for my breaks anyway. Bean decisiveness, cold-hearted calculating nature, and minuscule stature really created the perfect contrast for a world in danger and a military in dire need of a savior. He is easily one of my favorite fictional characters of all time, and writing this review now makes me feel the urge to re-read the book.

  • Seth
    2018-10-06 16:44

    This is the simplified version of Ender's Game for the kiddie set that can't handle rich characters with moral ambiguity, moral introspection, and character growth.Card does great work teaching people how to re-imagine stories from different viewpoints and with different motivations in his workshops. It's a shame that he didn't demonstrate it here.Instead, we get Bean (a great character in the original story) as a classic Mary Sue, a wish-fulfillment character with all of Ender's skill but none of his angst or growth around it. Even the adults who spend the first book walking a delicate line trying to save Ender from their own work fall down at Bean's feet and beg him to save them from their own inadequacies.The one limitation he has, and I'm not kidding, from his genetically engineered childhood where he was found in a toilet tank, is that he is so smart, so physically developed, and so gosh-darn what the 6 year old reader wants to grow up to be that he's going to die young. Except, of course, you know he's not. Because Mary Sues do die young, but he obviously won't. We have more sequels to milk, after all, and not enough uberkinder to go around.Skip this. Do your local child a favor and don't let them read it. If they want to read pablum, let them read fun pablum, at least. This book should come with insulin.

  • Jacob
    2018-10-06 13:22

    March 2010Previously: Ender's GameEnder Wiggin, hero of Earth, did not defeat the Buggers Formics single-handedly. He had help. Soldiers, followers, people in the background, unimportant characters whose own stories didn't really need to be told, you know where I'm going with this, etc. etc. One of these soldiers, Bean, was smaller than Ender, younger than Ender, infinitely smarter than Ender......and not nearly as interesting.But that didn’t stop Orson Scott Card, so here we go: Bean, an orphan living on the streets of Rotterdam, catches the attention of Sister Carlotta, a compassionate nun on the lookout for potential soldiers in the war against the Buggers Formics. Bean is incredibly intelligent despite his age and lack of education, and his high test scores get him into Battle School. There he makes all sorts of wonderful friends (well, just one) and has a glorious time hiding in the background and discovering all the big secrets the authorities kept from Ender and surprised everyone with at the end of the other book. Back on Earth, Sister Carlotta follows various clues to discover an entire subplot about Bean’s secret origins, while elsewhere, a dangerous character from Bean’s past plans to finish things once and for all, eventually, at some point in one of the sequels. As other reviewers mention, Ender’s Game was about the action. When faced with a problem, Ender solved it, often permanently. Bean, on the other hand, thought about it. And considered. And weighed his options. And then acted, often too late to actually do anything. The mystery is gone, too, since Bean figured out the true nature of the games long before Ender did, and as for the best part of the original novel--the battle room--what little action we get doesn’t compare to the Ender’s version of the story. And then--oh, hell, forget it. Here’s the thing, folks: Ender’s Game was damn near perfect. Ender’s Shadow didn’t really add anything to it. A mild curiosity at best, but hardly essential reading. Barely able to stand on its own, and obviously a set-up for more books in the series, which are also mild curiosities and hardly essential reading either. That didn't stop me, of course, so let's see if I can work up the energy to review them as well. Maybe. Eventually. Any day now. Next: Shadow of the Hegemon

  • Maria
    2018-09-24 11:45

    ...dacă nu ar fi coperta asta care pe mine mă îngrozește, aș spune ca e perfectă.Publicată la treisprezece ani după Jocul lui Ender, Umbra lui Ender urmărește evoluția lui Bean, unul dintre personajele inițial secundare ale aventurii lui Ender. Orfan, mult prea firav pentru vârsta sa și fără să-și cunoască prea mult trecutul, Bean reușește să supraviețuiască în iadul străzilor din Rotterdam datorită inteligenței sale. Abilitățile lui neobișnuite atrag atenția sorei Carlotta care îl recomandă Flotei Internaționale, deschizându-i astfel drumul spre Școala de Luptă. Evoluția stilistică a lui Orson Scott Card este fascinantă, mi se pare uluitor modul în care acesta reușește să își captiveze cititorului printr-o poveste al cărei deznodământ e deja cunoscut. Pe lângă surprinzătoarea origine a lui Bean și incredibila luciditate prin care Orson Scott Card îi motivează acțiunile, cartea asta este genială și prin subtilitatea cu care surprinde frământările politico-sociale ale Pământului. Pentru mine, Umbra lui Ender nu este doar o poveste spusă din altă perspectivă, este ceva nou care completează într-un mod minunat seria inițială și stabilește premisele viitoarelor volume.

  • Chris
    2018-10-17 15:40

    This book made me wish I could forget that I had ever read Ender’s Game.Not because it was necessarily a better book – though it is longer – but because the two books offer different views of the same events from two distinctly different perspectives. Ender Wiggin is brilliant and empathetic, a boy torn apart by his own doubts and fears and driven to greatness by a government that sees him simply as a means to an end. It is only his ability to understand and come to love those around him that gets him through his trials, endure his isolation, and which ultimately allows him to put together the team that defeats the Buggers. Ender seems to be more human than human, and not in that ironic Blade Runner sort of way, but in a way which makes us want to see him succeed and do well.Bean, on the other hand, is about as different from Ender as it’s possible to get. He’s introduced in Ender’s Game as a foil, a character designed to show us how far Ender had come in the short time that he had been in Battle School. When we meet Bean, Ender is using the same techniques of isolation and constructive abuse that were used on him, making us wonder if Ender will turn out to be just a copy of the adults who were tormenting him. We learn that Bean, like Ender, is brilliant, but he is also strong-willed and ambitious and takes well to the atmosphere of Battle School. In the end, Bean shows himself to be a vital part of the team that Ender assembles to save the Buggers and cement humanity’s place in the cosmos.Ender’s story is all about empathy and self-understanding and his desire to be the person he wants to be, rather than the person humanity needs him to be. He has to give up some of his essential humanity in order to save the world.Bean’s story comes from the opposite direction. More brilliant than Ender, Bean learns to find his humanity. He has to learn to see people as people, rather than a means to an end or a puzzle to solve. The hard lessons that he learned on the streets of Rotterdam as a small child were vital in preparing him to become a commander, but they have to be put aside if he’s to become a human.Bean’s story is much bigger in scope than Ender’s, which gives the book as a whole more depth than Ender’s Game. We start out in Rotterdam, which has become a center of poverty and violence among rival gangs of street children. Bean, tiny and starving, manages to prove his worth to one of these gangs by suggesting strategies by which they can get more food and more respect. He gains the attention of Sister Carlotta, a nun who is working for both God and the International Fleet, and she is the first to see his full potential as a student in Battle School. But in the course of trying to understand Bean, she learns that his origin is one of horror, and that his future is even worse.As a character, I liked Bean more than I liked Ender, possibly because on a scale of Complete Misanthrope to Bodhisattva, Bean and I are pretty close to the complete misanthrope end of the spectrum. To be fair, though, Bean has a lot more reasons to feel that way, and he’s a lot worse than I am. As we meet him, Bean views people as means to an end or as problems to be solved. He doesn’t reform the street gang culture of Rotterdam because it’s the right thing to do – he does it because he needs to eat. When he does experience attachment or fondness for others, he doesn’t know how to deal with it, and turns it into just another problem to be solved.That hyper-analytical way of looking at the world makes Bean a much more aware character than Ender as well. While Ender spends most of his book wrapped inside his own head, Bean is constantly testing the world, analyzing it and trying to figure out what’s really going on. So while Ender was exploring the computer fantasy game, Bean was crawling through air ducts in the Battle School. While Ender was researching the battles of the past, Bean was learning how to spy on his teachers. In the end, just as Ender is learning to put aside his humanity for the common good, Bean discovers a deep well of compassion that he never knew he had. Ender becomes more isolated, and Bean becomes more connected to others. The two characters come at each other from different directions and view the world in vastly different ways, giving us a kind of parallax view of the same events, to use Card’s preferred terminology.Most interestingly, many of the revelations that were revealed to Ender in his book were discovered by Bean in this one, which creates a whole different reading experience.And that’s why I wish I could delete my memory of having read Ender’s Game,, or at least put it away for a while. Reading this book, I constantly compare what’s happening to Bean with what happened to Ender, looking for those scenes that are shared between the books and others that we only get to see once. Whether it’s the early days of Battle School or Ender’s fight with Bonzo Madrid or the climactic end, there are enough similarities and differences to make each book worth reading.But at the same time, I want to read each one for the first time, without knowing what’s going to happen next. I want to share Bean’s ability to see plans unspool before him without already knowing what those plans are. And then I want to read Ender’s Game the way I read Ender’s Shadow and have those wonderful moments of revelation as new light is shed on topics that were only briefly mentioned before – like Locke and Demosthenes, or the true fate of Mazer Rackham.Card has done a difficult job very well in this book, and I can’t imagine it was easy at all. As he noted in his forward, a dozen years passed between the first book and this one, and a person changes in that much time. He learned new things and gained new perspectives, and that naturally had a great influence on how he chose to write this story. And then there’s the enormous popularity of his other Ender books. Between Game and Shadow, he wrote Speaker for the Dead in 1986, Xenocide in 1991, and Children of the Mind in 1996. That means he had a much more solid understanding of his world by the time he got around to Ender’s Shadow in 1999, and a much larger fan base as well. Writers will always say that they write for the story, not for the fans, but every writer wants in their heart of hearts to have people love what they write. Revisiting your most famous work and exploring a popular character brings great risks with it.Fortunately, I think Card succeeded with this book. It both compliments and contrasts with Ender’s Game, offering enough new information and new viewpoints to merit a second novel, while being faithful to the story that fans had come to love over a decade and a half. What’s more, it feels like the work of a more experienced writer. The scale is larger, the characters have more depth, and he takes more chances with the story than he did with Ender’s Game. All in all, if you were a fan of the first, you’ll like this one. If you haven’t read either, you really should. And if you start with this one, let me know how it goes.----------------------------“Ender was what Bean only wished to be — the kind of person on whom you could put all your hopes, who could carry all your fears, and he would not let you down, would not betray you. I want to be the kind of boy you are, thought Bean. But I don’t want to go through what you’ve been through to get there.”

  • Stuart
    2018-10-20 13:39

    Ender’s Shadow: Better than expected - Ender’s Game from Bean’s perspectiveOriginally posted at Fantasy LiteratureEnder’s Game was a SF book so successful and critically acclaimed that it launched Orson Scott Card’s career for decades to come. In fact, it’s fair to say that the story of Ender Wiggins is one of the most popular SF novels the genre has ever produced, to the point of getting the full-budget Hollywood treatment in 2013 (grossing $125 million on a budget of around $110-115 million) with A-listers such as Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley, but receiving mixed critical reviews.Not one to miss a commercial opportunity, Card has returned the favor, producing a whopping 15 Ender-related books with more in the works apparently. I read Ender’s Game (1985, winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards) at the perfect age for that book, in junior high school and overlapping with the character’s ages. In fact, it’s fair to say that the book launched my love of SF after having mostly read fantasy such as THE LORD OF THE RINGS, CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, CHRONICLES OF PRYDAIN, etc.I quickly went on to Speaker for the Dead (1986, winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards again) and was deeply moved by its examination of the ethics of Ender’s actions in the first book and subsequent attempts at redemption. However, I found the follow-up Xenocide (1991) a bit dialogue heavy and didn’t ready anything else by him for over two decades including the fourth Ender novel Children of the Mind (1996). In fact, I was quite surprised to discover the cottage industry Card has built around Ender during that time, when I finally re-read Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead 30 years later. I thought Ender’s Game held up well as a fast-paced but thoughtful military SF yarn, but Speaker for the Dead became fairly tedious with all its anguished moralizing. Maybe my reaction is more about how I have changed since my innocent days of youth.In any case, I’m not so enamored of Ender’s Game that I feel obligated to read 15+ sequels and spin-offs, etc. However, having read a number of reviews, many readers claim that Ender’s Shadow (1999), essentially a re-telling of Ender’s Game from Bean’s perspective, was surprisingly good. Although it is part of a series known as THE SHADOW SAGA, following the stories of major characters from Ender’s Game such as Bean, Peter, Petra, Achilles, etc.I've read THE SHADOW SAGA gets much more into the political and military intrigue back on Earth after Ender prevails over the alien Buggers, and I have to admit I’m not that interested in that direction (and reviews I’ve read have been fairly negative too). Ender’s Game captured readers’ attention, especially YA readers, because the story was about a lonely 12-year old military genius who had to survive Battle School, prove his leadership skills against older kids and the manipulative generals in charge of him, and beat an implacable alien fleet with only his tactical ingenuity. It’s easy to get pulled into his story and so it makes sense to revisit it, but only if you have something new to add and not just rehash it.So I was hesitant to try Ender’s Shadow but I was drawn into the story of tiny Bean trying to survive on the mean streets of children’s gangs in Rotterdam in in 2170. At the opening, Bean is supposedly just 4 years old and starving to death. Despite being almost too weak to put food to mouth, he manages to convince a small street gang led by female boss Poke to keep him alive by giving them critical survival tips to gain entry to food kitchens and stave off older bullies. Bean’s special skills and behind-the-scenes influence on the entire power balance of the street gangs brings him to the notice of Sister Carlotta, who runs one of the food shelters but also is a recruiter for the IF (International Federation) that is looking for promising candidates for Battle School.Against all odds, tiny Bean excels enough to get picked for Battle School, where he intersects with the famous storyline of Ender Wiggins. It’s unlikely that readers will come to Ender’s Shadow without having first read Ender’s Game, so Card has to achieve the difficult goal of giving us a fresh look at the events of Ender Wiggin’s time at Battle School from Bean’s perspective, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that he pulled it off quite well.Bean is a very different character from Ender. He is a child-genius that has grown up on the streets with only one goal — to survive at all costs by using his wits and tactical skills to manipulate stronger people around him, both children and adults, but remaining behind the scenes and avoiding the notice of powerful enemies. So while Ender is constantly under the spotlight and is forced to prove his leadership again and again, Bean stays in the shadows, carefully gathering data on the other commanders in battle school, the trainers, and the generals who think they are controlling events. He surreptitiously helps Ender when he can, but sometimes makes crucial mistakes that actual expose Ender to potentially fatal danger.Eventually Bean’s tactical skills become apparent to the other children, but it is Ender’s leadership that captures their hearts and loyalty, not Bean. So there is the emotional dynamic of love/jealousy with which Bean observes how Ender can control those around him, and even when more credit for tactics in the battle simulations should be given to Bean, it is generally Ender who gets the accolades. At the same time, the intense and unrelenting pressure of Ender’s success in the games is also a burden that Bean can only observe from outside, unable to share the cross that Ender bears each day. As the games get more relentless as the generals accelerate the pace, knowing that the real battle with the Buggers at their home world is rapidly approaching, it is Bean who seems most aware of the real situation, and Ender who is withering under the pressure.I was impressed with how exciting the story remained even when I knew in detail what was going to happen. Card managed to give the reader new angles that make us reexamine the same events with greater emotional depth and understanding of the greater context of the story. Card called it a “parallax” story, and it’s something that might have failed in lesser hands. I think after having written so many books about Ender over the years, Card has a deep knowledge of the characters, storyline, and universe, and also what appeals to fans.The audiobook is an all-star production featuring Scott Brick, Stefan Rudnicki, and Gabrielle de Cuir. They provide a level of dramatic range to the characters that really enhances an already-compelling story. Ender’s Shadow is a great companion piece to Ender’s Game, so give it a try.

  • Michael
    2018-10-15 17:46

    Ender's Game:There's this really, really smart kid, see, and he's lonely, and he has to do really hard stuff, and adults are mean.OK. I can get with that.Ender's Shadow:Oh, but I forgot to mention, there's this OTHER kid, who's even smarter, like really, really, REALLY smart, and he's also even lonelier, and he has to do even harder stuff, and the adults are even meaner.Give me a break. Yawn. I think Card is great but this is just ridiculous. I read Shadow of the Hegemon but quit after that.

  • Jared
    2018-09-27 15:37

    This book tried really hard to ruinEnder's Game for me. The premise of the book is that Ender wasn't really the hero of his own book, but that his course was manipulated and prodded onward by an even greater genius, in the form of Bean, a member of Ender's army.Bean had a brutal upbringing on the streets, and somehow ended up in Battle School, where he takes over the computer system and runs everything by the time he's six. He ensures that Ender ends up saving the world -- without his help, Ender would have failed.It was interesting to see the events of Ender's Game from a different perspective, but that's about the only positive thing I have to say about this book. Possibly the deepest theme element in the book is how Bean's interactions with Ender forced him to care about someone other than himself. End of Bean's worries that he might not be human.It seems like Orson Scott Card also tried to pull in some elements of Alan Dean Foster's "Flinx" series, with the whole "genetically manipulated super-human with emotional insecurity" thing.Great. "I see your super-genius and trump you with a super-super-genius." Lousy book.

  • Kyle Johnson
    2018-10-13 16:32

    This is a hard book for me to review without getting angry, so bear with me. The review may also contain spoilers, so if you have not read this book or "Ender’s Game" you may want to skip over this review and just note I'm giving it a 2/5, and would probably drop that down to a 1.5 given the choice.The original "Ender’s Game" novel is, in a word, extraordinary. Its one of those books almost everyone has read. Its translated in hundreds of languages. Its won many, many awards, and has won Orson Scott Card many awards as well. So you would think that revisiting "Ender’s Game" through the eyes of the rather important side-character Bean would be hard to mess up. Whole sections of the book are already written, as Bean and Ender experience the same situations together. All Card needed to do was fill in the blanks, toss in a bit of behind-the-scenes information on Ender through the eyes of a team member, and voila! Instant hit, especially with fan boys like me.Unfortunately, thats not what happened. Instead, Card let the many years that passed between the writing of the original "Ender’s Game" short story, and the conceptualization of "Ender’s Shadow", shine through. He forgot what it meant to write a story based on a childhood dream during the time of Nixon, Carter, and Regan. Instead, he wrote as an upstanding citizen and devoted Latter Day Saint. Don't get me wrong, neither of these attributes are bad! They're just not where he was personally when he wrote "Ender’s Game", and this changes the whole tone of not just "Ender’s Shadow", but "Ender’s Game" as well!In "Ender’s Game", Ender is manipulated by the world government into becoming the greatest space admiral, and the world's savior. Along the way, Ender knows he's being manipulated, and believes he understands the implications found within such manipulations. And even in the face of severe adversity, chooses to keep going because he knows its the right thing to do. He sees their deception and continues on, because even if the deception itself is wrong, their goal is just. And it coincides with his own reason for continuing on; to save his sister Valentine. Throughout the book, we also are given the perspectives of Generals Graff and Anderson, who speak constantly of the affects their manipulations are having on Ender, and the justifying reasons for their deception of someone so young. Graff is even put on trial at the end of the book for his involvement, and is deemed not guilty, in no small an example of the ends justifying the means."Ender’s Shadow" takes these machinations, these deceptions of both the children at Battle School and the general public, and throws it out. Instead of sticking with the idea of a government uncaringly using a very small segment of the population for the protection of the species as a whole, instead the government is painted as almost completely lost in how to proceed. Only the arrival of hyper-intelligent Bean saves the day. Younger even than Ender, Bean ends up manipulating Graff and Anderson, in order to achieve the results we saw in "Ender’s Game". The government wasn't smart enough to plan anything in advance, but Bean is! Not only that, but he continues to get smarter and smarter. By the end of the Bean series ("Shadow of the Giant"), he has long since past the point of believability. Nearly every problem Bean faces, he is able to solve with his unbelievably powerful brain without any outside help. This makes the books following "Ender’s Shadow" gradually get worse, but it all starts here. The Bean series, beginning with "Ender’s Shadow", has me hesitant to read anything else Card has written in the Ender-verse. "A War of Gifts" seems to be yet another attempt by Card to re-write the "Ender's Game" tale by repainting it rosier than it once was. A recently-announced prequel to "Speaker for the Dead" makes me fear Card will start rewriting the rest of the series as well. And that makes me quite sad, because it will mean the scuttling of one of the greatest science fiction series around.

  • Jenna
    2018-10-11 14:31

    Almost everyone I talked to about Ender's Game, told me I should read Ender's Shadow, it's just as good, if not better. So naturally, I was super pumped to get my hands on Card's retelling of one of my favorite tales. Instead, however, I found that after the first couple chapters, it was getting harder and harder to read the book without wanting to chuck it out the window. Here are the main reasons why this book drove me completely bananas and caused me to finally abandon it 200 pages in:1. The redundancy. Not in the fact that ender’s shadow is a retelling of a previously-written novel, but in Bean’s continued consideration of everything around him. His thoughts, which are described to run at an incomprehensible to speed to anyone but Bean himself, are spelled out word for word at an appallingly slow pace. Concepts that are comprehendible the first time around are continually repeated, leading to paragraph after paragraph restating the same idea. This is extremely unnecessary and took up the entire first couple weeks of Bean's stay at Battle School.2. The technology. The advancement in technology between the writing of Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow is directly reflected into Card’s description of the technology. Desks are described much more to resemble laptops, at one point card goes so far as to call someone’s desk a computer. His description and use of the technology has been clearly affected. What’s wrong and annoying about this is that it seems like the technology between the two books are no longer the same entity as they are supposed to be. No longer do the desks have an other-worldly presence that separates this world from ours. Card has allowed the world around him to affect his analysis of his own sci-fi-future world. This is ignoring the replacing the name "Buggers" with "Formics," another unnecessary change that only divides the two books.3. Bean's character. As a character, Ender Wiggin has the major contrast between his strong compassion and love for those around him and the ability to demolish anyone who threatens his own survival. The cross between his brother’s brutality and his sister’s empathy leads to wonderful characterization that enhances his account of his adventures through the book. In contrast, Bean’s character is described as a machine. The events affecting Ender's learning at Battle School have been replaced by monotonous thoughts and explanations in Ender's Shadow. Everything that happens is overanalyzed and over explained, whereas in Ender's Game, Ender simply acts as he sees fit, we learn why this is as we learn about his character and personality. Besides this, Bean, now in this retelling, is newly arrogant and conceited. He is offended when Ender doesn't know of his great "reputation" and reacts badly to everything Ender does as a commander, complaining about how horrible he is and what he is doing wrong.4. The conception of Ender Wiggin. On this previous note, through Bean's arrogant perception, Ender comes off as a huge a-hole as well. There is no hint that Ender treats Bean and his fellow soldiers in order to get the best performance out of them, rather Bean sees everything as a product of Ender's arrogance, doing pointless things just to humiliate his soldiers. Also, although it is understandable that he would be some sort of legend at Battle School with the best ratings, the extent of his legend and ubiquitous obsession comes too soon too fast. He is good yes, but it is not until Dragon Army when Ender's presence truly takes over the school, when it becomes truly clear how obsessed the teachers are with his potential.In essence, none of the characters in Card's retelling held any interest to me, even Sister Carlotta, the nun, came off as arrogant, sarcastic, and manipulative. At least in Ender's Game, Ender had good qualities that conflicted against his ability to control and manipulate those around him. With Bean, even when he has a chance at having a friend, he still sees himself as superior.

  • bj
    2018-09-24 16:40

    This book was definitely not as good as Ender's Game. The best parts of Ender's Game were the action parts, and also the parts where Ender would be faced with a problem and he had to come up with a clever way to fix it. But in Ender's Shadow, Bean is the main character and he tends to be much less subtle than Ender. He also spends an absurd amount of time thinking, just thinking and thinking. It's like... dude. STFU! Maybe if he thought about interesting stuff, but he spends most of his time thinking about military tactics and politics and his own relations with people when he was a baby. Also, one of Bean's character traits is that he's very small, so there's no hand-to-hand combat with him in the way that there was with Ender. All the parts that might have been hand-to-hand combat in Ender's Game were instead replaced with pages and pages of--you guessed it!--thinking.Card seems to enjoy going off on this boring tangents wherein his characters have cryptic discussions about religion and the military--two subjects I really couldn't care less about. Which brings me to the religion parts of this book. Bean's caretaker for a while is a nun and often the narration will return to her story. Those are by far the worst parts of the book and I often found myself skipping them. I don't care about the adults of the Ender books. I care about the kids and the Battle School. And I especially don't care about the theological beliefs of every single minor character in the series.Anyway, I would go so far as to say that this book ruined Ender's Game for me. It was so horrible in so many ways that it's eclipsed the coolness that was Ender's Game. And one thing's for sure: I'm not reading any more books in this series.

  • Rollie
    2018-10-11 18:45

    With all honesty, I don’t know what to say right after I finished this book. The book never failed to impress me as it failed my first impression. Yes—my first impression. The fact that I didn’t read yet the Ender’s Game series made me hesitate in pursuing reading the Ender’s Shadow. Credit to Orson Scott for initializing the reason why should I read the book through his well written foreword. Another thing, I’m not deep into novels which set above the earth—or in other words, the outer space. Glad that the book has stricken me--not the setting but the story line and the main the protagonist of the book.Bean is a gifted child. Or is he even a human to be referred a child? When Bean crawled from danger when he was almost one year old, he knew then that he was no ordinary kid. He looks 2-year old kid but the real is he’s 4 years old, yet he thinks at least 10-year old bully. He gets himself a family but soon finds out it wasn’t a good idea because it tends him to escape from the murderer of the person who gave him life—Poke. Through Sister Carlotta and through Bean’s intelligence, he made it to be a launchie in a Battle School where everyone is trained to be commander of the fleet. No matter how smart he is when all his teachers doubt his ability, he still has to prove something. And the worst of all despite the fact that everyone knows he’s the one who has the highest score in every field, yet it is as though inevitable to be a shadow of another excellent student named Ender.Proven and tested. This book is a butt-stapler. Once you get hold of this book, you’ll never try to put it down. One reason of why the book a page-turner one is how interesting the main character is. Have you watched Baby’s Day Out movie? If yes, imagine that this book is a way how we’ll know the main protagonist’s—the baby--perspective. Bean himself is a strong catch up that bounds the reader not to miss even a single word of the book. I admire the personality of Bean that it made me relate myself to him. If you think because I’m smart as him, then you’re stupid like meowing dog. Bean’s intelligence is exceptional that even the readers won’t even guess what had he planned, much less the other characters of the book. His mind is unpredictable, yet prompt. The personality that we shared is how not to snap back when the bullies are up for humiliation and fun. Thus, the only way to cease it is to gain respect and honor. If I have the list of likable child characters, I now say that Bean is at the top of them as what his ratings did in this book. His way of defeating an enemy is not by killing him/her but by letting the authority to do it without dirt in his hands. His means of winning a battle is not by competing to others, instead sharing of knowledge for unity. Bean is not character of bravery but an image of tactics, intelligence and maturity. That’s the Kid. That’s Bean. That’s my favorite character.I love the premise of the book. All along reading the book, as if I was with his journey, I realized that all he needed was love and appreciation. However it wasn’t dig deeply in this book, but as you get yourself into the character, you’ll notice the missing piece of his life that though he was scared to have, he was definitely in need of it. I also love how this book ended, even this book is meant for a series, the ending was justifiable break indeed.I find the book perfect for my taste. From the very first page of the book up to the end is amazement to me. I once said that this book never failed to impress me and I will not hesitate to repeat it all over again. I didn’t pick the wrong book, though I never yet tried reading the Ender’s Game. And because of that, since this book has given also much credit for Ender Wiggin, it’s an exact timing of reading the more precise happened in the battle through reading Ender’s Game.When 2011 started, I decided to have a basis in giving the books ratings. And apparently, this book passed far beyond my standards. So great that at least, for this month, I have read a much deserved book to have my five stars. I haven’t suggested yet any books from my previous reviews. And now I dare break it by recommending this to everybody else especially to those who haven’t read yet the Ender’s Game and also to everyone who loves YA sci-fi books. Some of the sci-fi or dystopia books now are no good than a talking mud, but believe me; this book will hunt your obsession and will cause an impact on every cell of your brain.

  • Jason
    2018-10-09 19:36

    I found it fascinating how Card used this as a parallel to Enders Games. He was able to take my favorite character from Enders Game and tell the same story from a much different and more interesting perspective. This novel follows Bean from early childhood up through the ranks within battle school and command school. I would suggest reading this book AFTER you have read Enders Game.

  • Penny
    2018-10-20 18:31

    I was blown away by Ender's Shadow. I was surprised that a re-telling of Ender's Game from Bean's perspective could be so enjoyable. I loved Ender's Game more after reading Ender's Shadow as it added a depth and new level of understanding to circumstances I thought I already fully grasped. I tip my hat to Orson Scott Card for this brilliant display of story telling. Love it!

  • Annalisa
    2018-09-27 14:36

    I think I may have like this better than Ender's Game. Maybe I wouldn't have liked it at all if I had read them back to back or had read it rather than listened to it, but trying to remember the sequences in Ender's Game as I read them from a different perspective was interesting. I enjoyed seeing the story from the one training just in case Ender fails. Bean's impassionate analysis vs Ender's emotional turmoil. The kid you don't quite like at first because he's too self-confident in his intelligence and then you learn to trust him better than you would yourself. That's about how I felt about the book too. Slow at first but then as you weave into Bean's perspective you see everything from his conclusions and I came to like him very much, more even than Ender. I empathized with him more and came to to root for him more than I ever had for Ender. How systematically Bean took his place knowing everyone would follow Ender but not him, understanding people did not like or trust him, processing lengthy paragraphs of deductive reasoning in a split second until he had could accurately access any situation so you as the reader recognize the potential he never gets credit for. His story's a little more heart-wrenching than Ender's. He could have been the hero, even if he did not believe it himself. I liked that Bean. And I liked his story. My only disappointment with the book is that in Ender's Game this was obviously not Bean's story and the few interactions that did not feel authentic to Bean's character are connector points to Ender's story. Case in point, when Bean says he can't find his way back to the dorm, when Bean freaks out not understanding when Graff takes Ender to Commander school, and most importantly when Ender deducts that Bean is a great strategist on small projects but not good at grasping the whole picture. Card tries to smooth these over with excuses like Ender being fed doubts about Bean so he won't keep him busy, but it doesn't quite hit the mark. Either Ender isn't as brilliant as he's sold to be in not being able to understand Bean's genius or Bean was never intended to be as large of character as Ender's Shadow portrays. I just wish Card would have known Bean's story while he wrote Ender's so he could place better clues about Bean's story in the original story.

  • Chris Friend
    2018-10-09 15:41

    Wow.I just cried while listening to an audio book. Even more amazing is that this book was the re-telling of a story I've already read, only told from a different perspective. Orson Scott Card is amazing. I'm now looking forward to the other books in the shadow series.The audiobook was, like all others in this terrific series, fantastically well-executed. Full-cast reading, but no audio effects. Nothing is done to cheapen the conveyance of the story, but oh so much is done to elevate it beyond masterful storytelling into a beautiful work of art. Card himself asserts in his afterword that the audiobook version is the best presentation of his story, superior to reading the book in print or to the potentially forthcoming film version of Ender's Game, which will be a blend of this book and that one.The pacing is excellent, the background is rich and engaging, and the characters are deeply complex and consistent. Elements of the story that are shared with Ender's Game aren't repetitive but rather simply familiar. It's a great, great story.One minor glitch I noticed: At one point, Bean realizes the truth of something, then talks himself out of it. Later on, he suddenly believes it again without going through the mental deliberations to switch his opinion again. I got over it, but it needed a page or two of thinking to really be believed.But that's it. The rest is amazing.

  • Tamra
    2018-09-20 13:28

    I am ashamed to admit that I've never finished the Ender's Game original set. But I did read Ender's Shadow, which I think most people really liked. I didn't mind it, but I have some serious reservations.First, the original story is better. This re-telling isn't near as fun. It takes longer to get to the GOOD story, though it is interesting to see the background on this kid.Most of what I disliked, though, is that this re-interpretation is NOT what Card originally had in mind when he wrote Ender's Game. The character that exists in Ender's Shadow is NOT the same character that is in Ender's Game. Sorry. I won't give it to you so easily. And not only that, but you have to re-interpret Ender, too, and I'm not willing to do that, either. In Ender's Shadow we get Ender's softer side, his insecurities. Suddenly, a scene where Ender consoles Whatever-the-main-character's-name-is turns into him consoling Ender. Not buying it.I wouldn't re-read it, and I would rather have done without it, actually.

  • Marc-Antoine
    2018-09-22 16:31

    He's done it twice!!! Just as good as Ender's game, might even be slightly better.

  • Dregus Ilies
    2018-09-23 17:35

    Great new perspective about the actions taking place in Ender's Game ! And the Bean Saga really looks promising! Hope the other volumes are as good!

  • Kevin
    2018-09-21 13:23

    I was really rather disappointed in this book. On every page it felt like the worst kind of inflated fanfic. It's as if someone decided, "My favorite character in Ender's Game was Bean! I'm going to practice writing like Orson Scott Card and then write a whole novel about how Bean was the smartest one, and Bean was the mastermind and best hero and bravest and awesomest!"Okay it's not quite that bad, but it's close.So in Ender's Game we have Ender, a precocious child - well, not just a precocious child but The One, the smartest of all the smart kids that the government could snap up. He's smaller than everyone, younger, gets bullied, doesn't have any real connection to his parents. He faces a true threat from a bigger kid that sets out to hurt him and maybe kill him - but never fear, he overcomes the threat.Therefore in Ender's Shadow we have Bean, a super-precocious child, smarter even than The One, the smartest ever. He's even smaller, even younger, gets even more bullied, doesn't even have parents at all, and faces a true threat from not only a bigger kid but a serial killer bigger kid who will gladly kill him and, oh, anyone else. Oh also this serial killer kid is super-smart too.It's like Card was deliberately trying to strip everything out everything that made Ender's Game so good and repackage it in blazing "NEW!" "IMPROVED!" graphics. The worst part is that Card removes his sympathetic protagonist. Ender was somehow likable. You watched him suffer, you feel for him and his burden. Bean? He's too smart, he's cold, he's aloof, and he's going to come out a-ok because, well, in case you didn't catch the reference every few pages he's the smartest thing in the history of ever.Don't get me wrong, I loved the Bean of Ender's Game. Tiny little guy, bit of chip on his shoulder, becomes a great right-hand man for Ender. That's perfect. Just enough flavor.But with this book Card has gone back and examined every single scene (I think) in which Ender and Bean interact and given it some new deeper subtext, usually implying that Bean is smarter than Ender (WE GET IT ALREADY) and that he's set things up so that Ender can succeed.Bean's analysis of the school and world situation forces the military leaders to push Ender through faster. It's because of Bean that Ender gets an army years before he should. Bean himself is approached to make the list of students that should be in Dragon Army. Poor Bean, the only thing he doesn't have is Ender's charisma otherwise he'd be the leader. In fact, at the end he's sitting there with the ability to take control of the whole thing because the military knows he's good enough to do it.It gets repetitive and frustrating, that's all. I know Card thought he was playing an awesome trick, turning the original book inside out and shaking it and saying, "PUPPETMASTER BEAN WAS PULLING STRINGS THE WHOLE TIME!" and honestly that little flair would have worked well once - once - in this book. But to build a whole re-envisioning of the novel around it? Guh.I also could not have cared less about Sister Carlotta and her "must find Bean's origin" backstory. The reader knows early on that he's genetically modified in some way to be the superintelligent creature he is, so ... yay? We finally get confirmation in a dull reveal wherein Card pulls back the cover and says, "SURPRISE! HE ALSO HAS .. dunh dunh DUNNNH ... A BROTHER! A TWIN BROTHER HE NEVER KNEW!" Who is, of course, not hypersmart and is supposed to, I don't know, represent the life Bean could have had as a normal kid?I'll let you guess whether or not the two of them find this out by the end and become true brothers, sharing an emotional bond with Bean's true parents and living happily ever after in Greece. Hint: of course they do.All in all it was a shambles, a wreck. I am not happy to have read this except that it gave me a reason to go type a frustrated and annoyed review.Various notes:1.) During Ender and Bean's confrontation in the hall it's obvious that Ender really doesn't know who this kid is, yet every other boy in the entire school knows who Brilliant Ol' Bean is and how he's The Next Ender Wiggin.2.) Achilles at some point has some nonchalant internal monologue about how Bean's not running his army the way he should, it should be controlled like the buggers do with a queen in the middle orchestrating everything. Except, as far as I know, at that point in the series only the highest-ranking military officers knew about the queen bugger. Even Ender hadn't figured it out yet.3.) In the confrontation with Achilles the crew records his statement. On what? What recording devices did they have? Card had just a few chapters before detailed exactly how little the students had access to and gave us this big long scene about what a pain in the ass it was for Bean to obtain some deadline.I'm going to stop beating up on this book now. I've made my point - this is toadying revisionist b.s. that cuts apart and guts a good SF novel for what amounts to some weird fan service. By the end I was reading out of morbid curiosity and hoping that maybe ... just maybe ... something bad would happen to this kid that Card had ruined for me.

  • Malapata
    2018-10-17 13:38

    Va de un comienzo titubeante a un final que cuesta soltar. La idea de narrar la historia de El juego de Ender desde otro punto de vista me resulta una forma bastante artificial de seguir exprimiendo el personaje. De hecho, las partes más interesantes del libro son las que se desarrollan más cerca de Ender.En general el personaje de Bean me resulta bastante artificial, y el intento de dotarlo de un pasado, con sus cargas emocionales, es de lejos la parte más floja de la historia. Cuanto más se adentran en las motivaciones del personaje más falso parece, mejorando mucho cuando renuncia a buscar motivaciones y se centra en narrar la acción dentro de la Escuela.Eso sí, me han entrado unas ganas enormes de volver a leerme el libro original.

  • C
    2018-10-18 15:23

    I'm sure I won't be alone in saying that perhaps I'm just partial to Ender's Game and, let's face it, Ender, but this book was ultimately disappointing. It was as if, in order to make Bean into the genius he supposedly was, he had to knock Ender down a notch, make him not as good as he seemed before. Perhaps this is a mature, intelligent evaluation of Ender and his strageties, and yet it felt like simply the only way to up Bean. I mean, when you've made one character seem such a supreme genius, how else can you make another far more intelligent? I guess you have to cut something out from under the first.My second problem was the transition from Bean viewing Ender as "Wiggin" and someone he merely tolerated to "Ender," a commander he admired and respected. Simply put, it was not well done, or at least not so in a book that had, in sometimes painful detail, spelled out Bean's thought processes. Yet here, at one of the most important times, on perhaps the most important issue of the novel, we are left without any kind of epiphany, simply a change from "Wiggin" to "Ender" and a tone of respect. I feel like my original evaluation of Card was confirmed: When he wrote Ender's Game, wrote a beautiful, brilliant novel about children, war, and xenocide, he simply lucked out. I've only read three of his other books since, but not one comes even CLOSE to the magic of that first.

  • Mike (the Paladin)
    2018-10-08 14:40

    This edition comes with a forward by Mr. Card in which he expresses the opinion that his "later books" in the Ender series are "better" than the first "Ender's Game" but that the first book is action packed, adventurous, and has a boy as main character, so it appeals to younger readers. Thus the greater sales etc. are due to the number of younger readers. Well, I suppose that is part of it. But, even though Mr. Card is the writer, I must "on the whole" disagree with him. The first book is just...better. It doesn't mean others didn't "understand" or didn't "get" his other books, the later books are just more caught up in Mr. Card's own belief system and ideas. They get a bit pedantic.This book is well written. While I've noted before that the "coming of age" story isn't a "genre" I find particularly appealing. This one however "holds it together" as follow Bean in his development and watch an actual growth process. I find the book overall not as good as Ender's Game but still a good book. I'm not sure how everyone will feel (what they will think) about a retelling of the events in Ender's Game from the point of view of Bean. I personally think there are some good sized holes here and there but nothing that will ruin it for you. As I said, "overall" a good read...oh yeah, and there's some action to. (LOL)

  • Phrynne
    2018-10-08 11:21

    This was an enjoyable read, occasionally a bit too wordy but still enjoyable overall. As with Ender's Game I struggled with the idea that any of these children could possibly be six years old even with enhanced genes but I coped by imagining they were actually very advanced ten year olds. I also had to totally ignore the part about baby Bean and the toilet cistern. That stretched my bounds of incredulity beyond reason! Nevertheless the rest of it was a good story well told and I will read the rest of the series in due course.

  • Martine
    2018-10-19 16:21

    When I first heard Orson Scott Card had written a parallel story to Ender's Game, dealing with virtually the same events as the original book but told from another character's perspective, I thought it was a cheap way to cash in on the success of his first bestseller. Like many people, though, I had to eat my words after reading Ender's Shadow. For not only is it as gripping a read as Ender's Game, but in some regards it is actually a better book.Ender's Shadow centres on one of Ender's lieutenants, Bean, an even younger and more intelligent child prodigy than Ender himself. After some thrilling adventures on the streets of Rotterdam, Bean is sent to Battle School, where he keeps hearing about this genius called Ender. Bean gets obsessed with Ender, or rather with proving to himself and others that he is a better strategist than Ender. But when he finally meets Ender, he realises that there is a reason why Ender is revered the way he is, and learns to accept his place in the universe. Nope, he doesn't get to command Earth's army, but he plays a major part in the background -- in many ways a more interesting part than the one Ender plays in the foreground. Ender's Shadow does have a few problems. As a Dutchwoman, I dearly wish Card had gone over the Dutch names and references in the Rotterdam segment with a Dutch person, as many of them are riddled with mistakes (Sinterklaas lights? WTF?). Furthermore, there were a few times (especially halfway through the book) when I found Bean's superiority complex a bit grating. Apart from these minor flaws, though, Ender's Shadow is a solid novel by an author who had clearly matured immensely since writing Ender's Game. The prose in Ender's Shadow is much richer, the psychology has more depth, the back story is more fully realised, and thanks to Bean's amazing tactical and analytical insights, he is able to offer an interesting perspective on events known from the first book. Bean himself, too, is a much better drawn protagonist than Ender -- not always entirely likeable, but always fascinating. His story may lack some of the surprise and impact of Ender's, but in its own way it's thoroughly engaging and thought-provoking. It easily holds up as a stand-alone book, and as a companion piece to Ender's Game, filling in gaps and providing new perspectives on known events, it is simply superb. I never thought I'd say this about a young-adult-meets-sci-fi novel, but there you are. Good stuff.