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.
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 ..
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The abridged audio of this title is absolutely awful, but for years it was inexplicably the only audio version available. Why anyone thought Michael Gross would be a good narrator for this title is beyond me.
I've had the release date for the GOOD (i.e. UNabridged) audio version on my calendar for months and now it's FINALLY here. Unabridged, full cast, hopefully as good as the full cast audio versions of the rest of this series. I don't know why they waited to do a correct version of the first "Shadow" title LAST, but I'm relieved they finally did.
"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.
"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.
"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.
This was really my first audiobook and whilst initially it took a little getting used to the style I really enjoy it. It is a fantastic listen for anyone that has heard or read Ender's Game, and is a brilliant book both as a companion and in its own right. The voice acting did its job well and was dynamic enough to keep you listening throughout, being suited for the wide range of emotions and situations in the book. I loved it and this has made me want to get the rest in the series in audiobook form (even though I already have the hard copies!). The convinience was brilliant and it was fantastic to be able to effectively 'read a book' whilst doing something else physically. I would wholeheartedly recommend this for people who like their science fiction with philosophical questions that are not proposed to the reader in an abstract manner but rather are fundamental questions whether fighting a war in space or living in the 21st century, and who like science fiction that is clear but still complex though never needlessly so - the complexity is to a level appropriate for the characters, never unbelievably so in the universe Card had established. It is fantastic!
This was a fantastic start to the whole ender series. Excellent quality with a number of narrators speaking different parts. Orson is a terrific writer. Recommend listening to ender's shadow after this. I was amazed that the same events could be so different. Listen out for Orson himself
"Both and excellent read and listen"
The Ender series is one of my favorites and Ender's Shadow is a worthy entry. The audiobook brings the title to life with strong narration, but make sure you read/listen to Ender's Game first.
"Bean is just as interesting as Ender"
I was worried about reading this book. I loved the Ender series so much, and I wasn't sure if I wanted to go back to the space station and relieve the story in case it was ruined. I did not have to fear. The story is just as thrilling, if not more so, from Bean's point of view.
This isn't a retelling of Ender's Game. This is fresh new material. You won't be bored and you will still be surprised when the cards fall. It also reveals a whole new nemesis who is just as terrifying as the buggers.
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