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 usually hate "Companion Series" books, they usually seem to decline in entertainment value after the original book (Enders Game, in this case), especially when the original book seems to neatly end with no loose ends to warrant another book.
The Ender series is MUCH different, the "follow-up" books just keep getting better... The characters are well fleshed out (sometimes it seems a little too much time is wasted fleshing out a character, but it ends up being just the right amount of information you needed to know to keep up with the character's motivations further along in the book, or series).
If you liked Ender's Game, then the follow-up books are a "Must have", even if you think "How could they be better than the original"?
The unabridged versions are a bit long winded at times, but you get details that you NEED to have to keep up with the complex stories being woven.
Card says, "hearing" the books are the way he wanted them presented, and having several narrators in each book makes the audio books MUCH better.
I found myself downloading the next book in the series before I finished the one I was listening to so there wouldn't be a gap where I wasn't caught up in the stories.
Card suggests that this book can be read independently from, "Ender's Game." I disagree. Read Ender's Game, then Ender's Shadow, then re-read Ender's Game. Ender's Shadow follows the same time line and events as Ender's Game, but from the perspective of the character, Bean. These two novels compliment each other so well, that they leave you wanting more. These are two of the best sci-fi novels out there.
Before you click over this title, stop and ask why has Orson Scott Card's books endured? Because of Ender. Ender and the concept that children can think endure tragedy and triumph even under the most difficult of circumstances. The magic of the full cast narration and the humble but magnificant brilliant ending will leave you breathless. If you love science fiction it is a must have. If you are 50+ and want to indulge in psychological thriller this is for you. If you are a teen looking for who you are you will find it in this book... no matter who you are the story will grab you and you will be challenged by this book to think and imagine, which of course is what books are all about ..
After reading Ender's Game over a year ago, I though it would be nice to now read Ender's Shadow. Both books are superb and I recommend them both without reservation (in addition to "Speaker For The Dead" - which you will want to read after you have read Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow). The fact that Scott Brick and Stefan Rudniki are two of the narrators only sweetens the deal. For the past two years, I have been downloading books based on the narrator more than the author. In my opinion, Mr. Brick can read the telphone book and make it sound interesting (but I digress).
In order for me to truly enjoy Ender's Shadow, I started to re-listen to Ender's Game again. I then thought it would be interesting to listen to both books at relatively the same time since they are both the exact same story told from different character's perspectives (Brilliant Idea!!). I started to listen to Enders Game up to the point where he meets his friend Bean for the first time. I would then start to listen to Ender's Shadow up to the point where Bean meets Ender for the first time. Then I would listen to one for an hour or so, and then start listening to the other until I got to the same point in the story. What an unbelievalbe pleasure! I actually had fun listening to these two stories in this fashion. It allowed me to understand certain things that were either missed or that seemed to be unimportant the first time around.
Orson Scott Card is a great author and it amazes me that there are people who have his type of mind and imagination to tell these types of detailed and intricate stories. Even if you are not a science fiction fan (which I never was until now), I recommend these three particular stories without reservation.
Card re-visits Battle Scholl in "Enders Shadow" through the eyes of Bean. Card has grown as a writer since he wrote "Enders Game" and it shows. Characters in "Shadow" are much better developed and the story has a much more "polished" feel to it. I found the narration to be very enjoyable and easy to listen to. I would recommend listening to "Enders Game" and "Enders Shadow" before going on to "Speaker for the Dead", the books compliment each other.
Ender's Game was and is arguably the best science fiction book to come out in the past thirty years. It stands apart from even such greats as Diamond Age, Ringworld, the Dune books and Stranger In A Strange Land.
Ender's Shadow does it again, complementing and completing Ender's Game like no other book could. It's the same story with the same characters, and yet it is almost completely new and exciting. By showing the character differences between an ultra-smart little kid (bean) and Ender (smart yet more innovative than a walking computing machine) OSC has shown that he truly is a remarkable writer as well as a visionary.
Excellent read. A+++ read it if you haven't. In addition, make sure you listen to OSC's afterward describing the difficulties of making an Ender movie and how Ender's Shadow helped to make it possible.
With Ender's Shadow I have come to a problem, I refer to this as the "Godfather Dilemna" when a sequal is as good if not better then the original, as was Godfather 2 vs the original. THe Godfather Dilemna is essentially, the sequal being as good but what would it have been without the original. Ender's Shadow is a must read for any fan of the series. It gives great insight into of course Bean but also into that of the teachers, other students at battle school and gives an "objective" appraisal of Ender himself.
I have to admit this book shocked me. I loved Ender's Game. I had read all the other Ender books before this came out and they were just OK at best, nothing like the first. I had thought the magic was gone but..... This book was fantastic.
Same story as Ender's game, same characters, same occurrences, different point of view. I enjoyed every minute of it. How can the same story be so original? Good work Mr. Card.
I loved Ender's Game and am now re-reading the whole series in audio format. It's great to see the same story from the perspective of a different character. Bean, in particular, is a very interesting character. Learning about his background, where he came from and what made him who he is, really fleshes out the story. Much of the book takes place exactly overlapping Ender's Game, but Bean's life is so different and Card's storytelling is so good that it doesn't feel at all duplicative, even though I reread the two books right after each other in this go-around. I particularly liked things like *mild spoiler alert* how we find out that some of the things that were done to Ender by the teachers were actually thought out by Bean.
My only complaint is that Card seems to try almost too hard in spots to differentiate Bean's understanding of events that happened in both books from the viewpoint of Ender. He occasionally took things that Bean said or did, and injected ulterior motives on Bean's part that seemed a little forced, like no event could ever have been viewed the same by both Ender and Bean. This often took the form of a statement or action by Bean having actually been perfidy or sarcasm that Ender didn't catch on to. This process made Bean a little less-likable, as if he were constantly throwing barbs at Ender and Ender just didn't notice. Every once in a while I'd have liked to see Bean's recollections of a situation be the same as Ender's because in real life, sometimes everyone has the same understanding of what's going on and that's fine.
Despite that complaint, this is a thoroughly enjoyable book and adds a new and interesting dimension to the story of told in Ender's Game. Incidentally, Card speaks at the end of the book (it's nice to hear the author's own voice on audiobooks and I always like it) and says that without Ender's Shadow, a movie of Ender's Game wouldn't really be possible and that a movie version would bounce the story back and forth between the two books to handle some of the difficulties of telling the story from Ender's viewpoint alone. I don't entirely understand the difficulties he speaks of, even though he tries to explain, but regardless, if adding Bean's perspective makes an Ender's Game movie more likely, that's another plus for this book, in my opinion.
Happening paralell with Ender's story is the story of Bean, the smallest, youngest and brightest of Ender's team and friends. Bean's story is one of survival, loyalty and what it means to be a friend. Trying to shoulder some of Ender's responsibility, and trying very hard to save the world is Bean, child warrior with so much intelligence that even the instructors fear him. I loved this version of Ender's story, the same story from a different perspective, showing you the mind of yet another wonderful child.
"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.
"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.
"Let your own imagination roll before the movie"
An equal to the original Ender's Game that provides the pairing of perspectives which enabled the Movie production, due for release in late 2013.
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