Born in the seventies. Love Sci Fi & Fantasy.
I listened to this book straight after Ender's Game and then Ender's Shadow, so the bar was set very very high. Too high for this book for it did not manage to captivate me as well as the first too - but then again, that was a very high standard to meet.
It's still a good story and a must if you want to know what happens to Bean, Petra and Peter after Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow. For me the story came up somewhat short though, mainly because the main villain of the story - Achilles, who we met in Ender's Shadow - is so ridiculously good that it was no longer believable.
I mean, Bean is presented as a super intelligence, perhaps not even human, the smartest savant who may have ever lived. Peter Wiggins is Ender's brother and from Ender's Game we know him to be even smarter than Ender. Achilles on the other hand is only presented as "smart". Achilles also lacks the training that all the highly intelligent children of Battle School have had, like Petra.
So whereas I could suspend my disbelief where a battle school filled with children was concerned, I simply could not go where the author wanted me to go with Achilles. I mean he's only a kid yet seems to be all-seeing and all-knowing, and even less plausible, able to convince almost any government to hand him the reigns of their armies and strategies. How that is possible and why we should find it convincing, is left unexplained. That made it seem too obvious a plot tool and a bit of a rush job on the part of the author - as if he also didn't know but simply needed it to be so for his story. Everything after that became slightly annoying and I found myself taking longer and longer breaks from the book. A noticeable difference from the first two books, which I tried to finish in one listen and was very annoyed that I simply could not avoid having to go to sleep between sessions.
Nevertheless, it was still entertaining enough for me to finish it within one week, and the narration was as with the first two novels very very good.
One point of criticism on account of the narration though is the pronunciation of Achilles - we know from Ender's Shadow that it should be pronounced the French way, but in Shadow of the Hegemon it's only pronounced like that part of the time. Many other times it's pronounced the English way. Since both sound quite different, I think this was a director's mistake, a flaw that was missed.
Another minor peeve is that sometimes the word Hegemon was very obviously inserted afterward, and sometimes even by another narrator, all mid-sentence - which was very awkward to listen to. Perhaps the original script had another word there, like king, which may later have been altered to Hegemon, but the insertion was rather sloppily done.
But, as I said, only minor points of criticism so still 5 stars for performance.
As usual, Card delivers a stunning, sweeping, intelligent and deep story... it's too bad the producers didn't have the equipment or the respect to make it sound good.
Key component to audiobooks: GOOD AUDIO.
Normally Cards books are well performed and edited. This one was not. There were obvious edits throughout, attempting to correct mispronounced words.these attempts were poorly done.
Additionally, names were not pronounced consistently from the previous book.
While I have spent quite some time reading, and indulging myself in the entire Enders series, the audio recording was so far from immersive I wish I could return it! I paid almost $30 expecting the type of audiobook I could immerse myself in while I worked or dove. Between the constant changes in pronunciation that made me have to remember that the reader couldn't decide how to say a name, to the very very very annoying way that the recording would just stop to insert a word or two from a COMPLETELY different reader. I was unable to fully enjoy this book. This audiobook DOES NOT do the book justice due to this, and is in absolutely no way worth the almost $30 I paid for it.
Another great Card book preformed wonderfully! My only qualm was the polish of the finished product. In many places this the voice of a character would abruptly change for one word or more to an entirely different one... Distracting to say the least.