Andrew "Ender" Wiggin was not the only child in the Battle School; he was just the best of the best. In this book, Card tells the story of another of those precocious generals, the one they called Bean, the one who became Ender's right hand, part of his team, in the final battle against the Buggers. Bean's past was a battle just to survive. His success brought him to the attention of the Battle School's recruiters, those people scouring the planet for leaders, tacticians, and generals to save Earth from the threat of alien invasion. Bean was sent into orbit, to the Battle School. And there he met Ender.
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©1999 Orson Scott Card; (P)2005 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC
"An exceptional work." (School Library Journal)
"An absorbing, near-flawless performance." (Kirkus)
"As always, everyone will be struck by the power of Card's children, always more and less than human, perfect yet struggling, tragic, yet hopeful, wondrous and strange." (Publishers Weekly)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Bean was always my favorite character. This it was very enjoyable as he discovers what is truly happening in his world!
Having read ender's game, I really enjoyed this book as a complimentary novel that expanded upon the ideas of the first. It's great for readers who want that extra insight into the world that ender, bean, and the buggers call their own!
This is as good as the original. instead of reading speaker for the dead, and following Enders story line, read this much better "sequel" instead. I lost all interest in this universe after speaker for the dead, but this story rekindled my interest. A better story arc, and a better character to follow after the end of Enders game, if you want more of this story universe read this book instead.
I am immortal. I have inside me blood of kings. I have no rivals. No man can be my equal.
You need to read Ender's Game first. The office will tell you different but I disagree. This is a lovely story that takes place during English game. But you really need to have that story first.
Bean is splendid. I particularly enjoyed the parts which involved Bean's interactions with the teachers. A great story and wonderfully told. It couldn't have bean much better.
"A Return to Battle School."
This book takes us back to the Battle School events in Ender's Game, but retold from the perspective of a secondary character, Bean. You may wonder why you would want to read the same story again, but the manner in which it is written is excellent and at no point did I feel like I was going over old material. The back-story of Bean is gone into in detail which introduces new, interesting characters. The story from when he arrives at Battle School is very much Bean's and the author has ensured that Bean develops his own identity in the school and his own story before even meeting Ender.
This is the first in the "Shadow" series and of the five Enders books I have now listened to, this is just behind Ender's Game which is firmly the best. OSC uses his monumental skills to tell another great story, with great character, plot and dialogue. The narration team are as always exemplary.
You do not need to have read the Ender's series first, but I would strongly recommend it.
I didn't particularly enjoy this book when I read it. But this is an example of how excellent narration can improve the whole audiobook experience. The different voices are excellent and work well together, adding an extra dimension to the book and making me wish my commute home from work took longer. I don't know how this was recorded but the quick interchange between voices at times sounds very real as though they were having a direct conversation. The occasional use of music adds to the atmosphere.
This book is a perfect example of what an audio book should be and I hope that the same excellent production is in place for the rest of the Ender series of books.
"A "parallax" novel of Ender's Game"
Story: This is an interesting story, basically retelling Ender's Game from one of the supporting character's view. Bean is by far my fave from Ender's Game, so a whole book devoted to him? I'm in there :) His back story is fleshed out, and Bean is far more aware of the whole political dynamic, which gives a whole new flavour to the story. So whilst you know exactly what happens, there's enough new material for those who are familar with Ender's game; but for those who haven't read it; it's self contained enough that it shouldn't need the knowledge of what's coming to make sense.
Audio: The full cast recording, was more like "three cast parts". But it really worked: the dialogue between Graff and Sister Carlotta was excellent, in particular. I had a bit of a flub at the end, where the audio seemed to skip back half a chapter, but then it carried on without any issues. Excellent narration.
"Not a sequel but a dual book"
If you read enders game already, then you will really enjoy this. Totally different and as good.
"Bean's Story is a compelling aternative to Enders"
Pretty high. If you like Enders game, this will be an interesting book.
Bean and then Petra. Its good to see Bean again having liked his character in the original Enders Game.
"Good story but not as good as Enders Game"
The desperate struggle of a boy who feels totally abandoned and alone to stay alive and win at everything he does.
No, not as gripping as Ender's Game
"Could of been better."
The best things I like is the new look at the story outside of Enders point of view, quite often something that only films can do, so it is well worth listening to Ender's Game and then this book.
The bad parts are the religious links as I found them irritating, at first I only thought that they were there because of a Nun character and was willing to accept this as she was a part of the development with the story, but then as time went on the book started to drop links in all over the place more often, taking you away from the story and more in to religious philosophy from time to time. Even characters that showed no religious views in Ender's Game started to drop in quotes from the bible, thus making no sense from a character development point of view.
Hard to answer without, spoilers :) but needless to say I felt it undermines the ending of "Ender's Game"...
Funny in this case, but the stars of Ender's Game.
I feel, I have more negative to say than good, maybe the reason for the 3 stars I think, but I would still like to add that even with the bad points I still really enjoyed the book, I nearly gave it 4 stars, but couldn't as to top it off the recording did not match the chapter selection in my audible app for windows 8 and edits were clearly noticeable.
"I liked it but..."
I would have liked to see much less of the religious connections and bible quotes. Occasionally they moved the story on but at times - for me- they got in the way.
Beans back story was interesting. I enjoyed matching the back stories of Ender and Bean and seeing how they form the boys and the resulting outcomes of nurture and nature translate into them as commanders.
I would have defiantly miss the fun and excitement of following Bean, He is such a good character
worth listening too and relaxing .
The three stars is because of two things one was that the recording switched back half a chapter towards the end of the book, Not sure what happened but it certainly interrupted the 'flow' of the story .
The second was the religious links that I found irritating because they were happening along far too often and took me out of the story. Im not sure I will read/buy another of his books as i do not want to experience that again. This is a shame for me as I enjoyed most of his writing, pace, good ideas and character development.
"Read Ender's Game? Read this too!"
I read Ender's Game, then read through all of the books with Ender's character. It was so refreshing to go back to the beginning, but have the story told by a new character. Ender's Shadow fills in all the gaps you never new were there. Bean is a very interesting character and the books that carry on after this are just as entertaining as Ender's books.
Bean. Bean actually trumps Ender in this book, in my opinion.
The narrators are consistent throughout the entire Ender-verse catalogue.
Yes, Bean's story is very deep.
All the books in Ender and Bean's respective series are works in their own right. While some are based on intelligent children learning to fight, others are very philosophical and less action packed. All of the books are thought provoking. While this book is fun and action packed. Don't expect the series to be entirely the same.
"Detracts (slightly) from Ender's Game"
I really enjoyed seeing the story from another perspective and to get more insight into Battle School. There were some parts of the book that really added and improved Ender's game. However, overall I felt the book detracted from the original Ender's game.
Bean's character comes across too similar to Ender's especially when he enters Battle School. The main differences are that Ender is empathetic and has leadership skills, whereas Bean is more intelligent but finds it difficult to relate to others - these differences don't come across with enough impact, certainly not in how the characters think or (largely) act. Many of the key themes and challenges that both characters face are very similar; coping with being judged by their size and age, their need to survive at any cost, their battle against the teachers and facing a tormentor from their youth who haunts them throughout their time in battle school. The way they deal with these issues feels too similar, the outcomes are often the same, the thought process of the characters: way too similar. When you hear Bean's story it almost feels like a rehash of Ender's - not a story about a distinctly different character. The closeness of the narrative makes it feel like Ender's outlook and the challenges he faces are less unique and less special. Ender's eventual "triumph" in the war feels less of a feat - because it feels like Bean could have done it had he been a little bit older with better social skills.
The other major flaw is Bean's and Ender's relationship - the relationship feels very different in this book - and only so much can be attributed to a different view point. Some of the dialogue between Bean and Ender is atrociously retrofitted - Bean who comes across as naive in comparison to Ender in Ender's game, is actually revealed to have far more information of the inner workings of the school. So when they talk to each other what was once a sincere conversation in Ender's game, we discover - in Ender's Shadow - was the result of Bean being sarcastic or tongue tied "Can't he tell I'm being sarcastic?", "Does he think I don't know that?". I found that very annoying - in Ender's game Bean is one of the few people who Ender actually confides in - and these special moments are somewhat spoilt by the revelation that where Bean appears earnest and sincere - he's actually being told things he knows already or is acting flippant and sarcastic. If Bean's personality was slightly different in Ender's Shadow we could have had an alternative interesting and plausible viewpoint on their conversations, but Bean's personality (in Ender's Shadow) is just incompatible with those conversations. It doesn't work.
With all that said, I would still recommend this book - I really enjoyed revisiting Battle School and parts of Bean's storyline are very interesting.
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