Ender's Game told the story of the boy "Ender" Wiggin and his hard-won victory over an alien race that would have destroyed the Earth and all of humanity. But Ender was not the only child in the Battle School. He was just the best of the best. In Ender's Shadow, Orson Scott Card told the story of another of those precocious generals, the one they called Bean - the one who became Ender's right hand, his strategist, and his friend.
And now Card continues Bean's story, and finally tells a tale long awaited by millions of fans. At last we learn what happened on Earth after the destruction of the Hive Queen's worlds, after humanity no longer had a single enemy to unify the warring nations. This is the story of how Bean turned away from his first friend, Ender, and became the tactical genius who won the Earth for Ender's brother, Peter, who became the Hegemon.
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Recording (P) 2001 by Audio Literature; Copyright ©2001 by TOR
I really enjoy Orson Scott Card's stories but unfortunately I had a science fiction bias when I bought this book. There is in fact little to no science fiction in this book. It's Earth bound and in the future, that's it. Good story though.
The production is poor. Everyone has their own preferences as to how narration is done but I'm sure all agree that the editing of corrections and music are like loud bangs in a quiet room. Clearly it wasn't until the end that someone pointed out the mispronuciations of names and words. The solution of letting some instances slide, warbling others, and dropping in mismatched re-records was just plain BAD. You can get through it but you may feel you didn't get your money's worth.
I have read five other books in this series, and Shadow of the Hegemon is yet another great story, that I highly recommend. If you have listened to any of the other books in this series, you will already be familiar with the acting work, as these are the same voices used throughout this series.
What is very disappointing is the work done to transfer the title to the audible format. The title plays very muddy, and I had to set my treble all the way up, and bass all the way down. In addition, there are several places where the tone suddenly shifts to a high pitch, stays that way briefly, then jumps back to the muddy low tone of most of the work. Really, Audible, this recording needs to be recaptured from the source material.
I agree with the main annoyances of the recording previously posted by many others. There were just too many glitches in the production for them to be overlooked. The story was decent, but the audio blunders were very distracting. This book needs to be re-recorded with everyone on the same page and properly edited. A free download of an acceptable recording, for those of us who purchased the original, would also be nice.
Note the word CONTINUES. This is a wonderful book, if you have fallen in love, as I have, with these characters. My suggestion is to read "Ender's Game"...then "Ender's Shadow"...then proceed to this book. "Speaker for the Dead"(my personal favorite), although an amazing book in itself does not need to be read to thoroughly enjoy this one.
What I find so fascinating is, how Card, thru these sequels and/or parallels, takes characters that you thought you understood and knew, and gives them dimension and substance, that of course, you didn't know, because he never told you. I personally have alway enjoyed his characterizations, more than the story, but because Card makes me care about the characters so much, I then care what happens to them, hence the story then becomes important. I always listen twice to each book, because he tends to foreshadow so much that I sometimes "miss" things the first time around.
If you haven't at least read "Ender's Shadow", don't read this! You have to know and love, or know and hate these characters for the full savoring of this amazing "world" that Card has created for us.
Now for me, with excitement and anticipation, it is on to "Shadow Puppets". I can only imagine its delights. I hope your journey is as delicious as mine!
This is an excellent story (as are most by Mr Scott Card), read by extremely talented people. Then the money ran out, or something. It's strange that the sound can be so shabby in this day and age. And the music? SHEESH! The author and actors work hard to create an eerie, nail-biting mood, then in comes happy elevator music made on a kiddie keyboard from the 80's. Gone is the suspence!
Audible usually makes me feel that the books I buy here are well worth the price. Not this one though. I got sorta ripped off.
I still recommend this one though. Just be warned of the tinny, unprofessional production. Five stars for the story. Five stars for the actors. Half a star for the guy who was responsible for the sound and music.
Note that if you download this book, there is a (possibly confusing) technical flaw. In part I, at around the 3:37:55 mark, the recording seems to pause, then begins repeating the last half-hour or so (picking up at what the listener heard starting at around the 3:09:16 mark). The narrative then continues smoothly through, but can produce odd feelings of deja vu. ;) So, at the 3:37:55 mark, when you think, "Didn't I just hear this part?!" Just fast-forward up to about 4:06 and you'll be fine.
I know many other reviews have spoken about it....but if you took a cassette recorder with an old cigar length external microphone, and you recorded audio for a book, then have it read by several different people who play all the characters at some point for no reason, let it age for 30 years, then dub it to CD..... and when the audio drops out so low you have someone reread it in a different voice over the top of the original recording, you have Shadow of the Hegemon. Wow....how could they let this go out and then never fix it. This is a $35 audio book!!?? To quote the great Gomer Pyle "For shame, for shame for shame"
The story however kept my attention in between audio drops. The story has continued and fortunately is so strong I managed to keep listening through the horrid audio.
Petra...is one hell of a strong character!....Bean is Bean....brilliant, arrogant, and, just a little kid.
Gabrielle de Cuir....I think someone called her "Miss Dramatic" in a different review, is at it again...ooooooooh the poor child, oooooooooh so sad. Geez. Does she mispronounce Achilles name on purpose? When she pronounced it as Asheeel in prior books? Don't know. I know I know, it's the French pronunciation. She just confuses things even more.
Scott Card has written another in depth character driven story
(even though he gets preachy as usual) ..that keeps me wanting yet more and more. Why he would let this mess of a recording stay online literally for between 5 to 10 years or more is crazy!! Fix this thing!!
I'm a huge fan of the Ender series, and I have had the good fortune of listening to the entire series thus far on audiobook (which as Card says is his preferred format). This is another fantastic story involving Bean, who is now living on Earth after the Formic War.
Unfortunately, the production quality of this audiobook is extremely poor compared to the previous books in the series. Initially, the audio was very poor quality and the volume was very low. While the audio levels eventually became normal again, the audio quality was often very poor with certain voice actors.
Multiple mispronunciations plagued this performance, which varied from minor to major distractions. The word Hegemon (being the title of the book, no less) was mispronounced throughout the entire audiobook, and was crudely dubbed over with the correct pronunciation by what sounded to be a different actor.
Finally, the name of the antagonist was severely mispronounced throughout the book, with the exception of a few correct pronunciations strewn intermittently throughout the performance. Achilles, the Battle School failure who later became involved involved in global politics, was pronounced phonetically, instead of with the correct French pronunciation "a-SHEEL". This pronunciation was made very clear in Ender's Shadow, so it was very hard to become accustomed to the mispronounced version. At first, I thought that it was being mispronounced because the character being spoken through did not know the correct pronunciation, but I soon realized that was not the case. The same voice actor would pronounce it correctly in one part of the book, then completely the opposite in a later part of the book.
In summary, I would greatly recommend this book, but do be aware of the audiobook's multiple problems. I am very surprised that this has not been addressed yet, and I hope it is republished in the future.
I have listened to and enjoyed many of Orson Scott Card's book by this creative team. While I enjoyed the books (with one notable exception), the performances and production have always been top notch. Until this book.
The recording and production of this book are the worst of any Card novel I've heard. Apparently no one could decide how to pronounce "Hegemon" during recording, but someone obviously went back in and overdubbed the pronunciation of that one particular word, over and over again. Plus the music was terrible cheesy, and the overall sound quality was not up to spec. Disappointing from a group I have known can produce top quality recordings.
I loved Ender's Game - I read it first many years ago and recently got the audiobook to re-read. Then I decided to re-read the whole series while I was at it. Overall this is a great addition to the Enderverse and I liked hearing about what happened with all the characters I'd grown to love from Battle School, but I have two complaints:
First, as many others have noted, the production of this audiobook is really poor. It is riddled with pronunciation problems, even with the word "hegemon" (which is in the title) and with the name of one of the main characters, "Achilles" (how it's pronounced - English or French - is an important plot point to show if a character actually knows Achilles and it's often done wrong in this book). In some spots a different person has dubbed the correct pronunciation of hegemon into the audio, which is possibly more annoying than just dealing with the wrong pronunciation. The audio quality is overall bad - differences in volume and some garbled speech, etc. The voice actor casting are also not great. In particular, whoever reads for Peter's POV sounds about 70 years old, even though Peter is supposed to be quite young. This is a relatively expensive audiobook given that it was released more than a decade ago and I expected better.
Second, there were a few problems in the story itself. For instance, there's a lengthy portion of the book where they talk about Ender's childhood home, but they're in the wrong city - Ender's family moved from the home he grew up in and this was discussed at length in earlier Ender books. I do believe this was caught and remedied in a later version of the book (which just underscores the need for a newer audio version). I also thought that there were portions of the book that were a bit too long or too preachy, etc., and were both unnecessary and out of character in the story. This is is a problem I've often noticed in subsequent books from a highly successful author - it's like editors no longer take the red pen to texts in the same way they would with new authors.
Despite the problems noted above, if you liked Ender's Game (and other books in the series), this is a worthwhile read. I'd recommend you skip this audiobook, though, and read the newest paper version, which wouldn't suffer from the poor audio production and would also have corrections of some errors that made it into the first edition of this book.
"Excellent Audio rendition of an excellent book"
First the Audio - this is a top-notch production, well voiced, with multiple readers, each giving a different voice to the primary characters. In fact, it is closer to a performance than a reading. A set of closing comments by Scott Card mention that his novels are meant to be read aloud. You can understand why as this makes for a truly gripping listen.
The story is also excellent. It centres primarily about Bean and Petra as they struggle to prevent Achilles from making a play for world domination in the political chaos following the conclusion of the Formic wars. Several Battle school graduates play important roles and it is quite suspenseful, the lives of the characters, not to mention global domination, hang in the balance. The plot also offers some interesting views on how nations may jockey with each other for global dominance. Card refers to this book as a book about 'the great game', and while you may not agree that some of the scenarios he spins are plausible, I found them to be so. In fact, I found some of the geopolitical subplots a somewhat scary prediction on the next 50 years.
I had not read Ender's Shadow in a while (the previous book dealing with the character of Bean) and I did not remember most of it. I do not think it is necessary to have read it to enjoy this book. I do however recommend reading (or re-reading) Ender's Game before this one, as it increases the understanding of the background and increases the emotional investment in the main characters. There is an excellent audio version of Ender's Game on Audible.
"Excellent but spoiled by some awful overdubbing"
This is the first audiobook I've listened to where I hadn't already read the story and I found it very enjoyable. I find the narration of the Ender series very well done with the voice talent very effective at getting across the different aspects of the story. For some reason, tho, this particular audio book has the word 'Hegemon' overdubbed - by the same actor, true, but so obviously that the word is sometimes shouted, the sound quality varies and it is very distracting. The other books in this series haven't had that fault and I'm really hoping none of the others do as it had the effect of completely affecting the mood.
"Amazing book... weird choices on the performance"
Although the performance in general is very good, I dont know why the hell they decided to change the narrator everytime the word Hegemon was spoken. They changed the narrator for one word and come back to the currenty narrator. It felt very weird.
I really liked Ender's Game and quite liked Ender's Shadow, but this really didn't do it for me and as a result I'm not intending to continue with the Bean saga. The plot lacked direction and focus. The book was just a sequence of scrapes between Bean and Achilles and attempts from Achilles to take power - I didn't feel any momentum and the outcome to every encounter felt very predictable. The narrative just didn't develop; I'm not sure what this book added to the saga.
I'm the kind of person who would love to read about territorial conflicts in a "Risk" like manner (something that OSC was aspiring to) - but it didn't deliver. Achilles is pretty much the only player with the occasional minor interference from Peter and Bean. Everyone else compliantly goes along with whatever Achilles wants (how he manages to ensnare so many world powers goes beyond belief). It doesn't feel like a clash of Super Powers - it lacks intrigue, subtlety, betrayal and espionage - with Achilles being pretty much the only real agent it lacks that complexity that you get in a book like Game of Thrones; I wanted a twist, I wanted a surprise and I just didn't get it.
The performance is pretty good, but the odd dubbing around the word Hegemon makes the production feel very cheap - I have no idea what happened there - or why the lines weren't rerecorded.
"Fresh groundwork but lacks an engaging premise"
Whilst I would not hesitate to recommend Enders game and the sequels that follow Ender into an imaginative future, the philosophies and character tensions are rather lost back on earth where the story evolves like a shallow game of risk.
The quality of this recording is below par with some obvious editing issues around the word "Hegemon". Okay for the curious but not Scott at his best.
"Just as good as the first Bean book"
The story of Bean continues in this book where the child geniuses find themselves facing the consequences of a power vacuum. This book continues to describe Bean, a fascinating character, but the real star of this book is his nemesis. This is a nerve wrecking political battle that will keep your attention from the first to the last minute.
"Satisfactory continuation of the Shadow Series"
The Ender's Shadow books, although very enjoyable, are not up to the standards of the Enders series. They match them in the quality of the narration and the depth of story, but they always feel like they are the poor cousin. Also, the intellect of the character Bean does to some degree detract from the achievements and wonder of Ender and Peter Wiggin. The Ender series left a very strong mental impression of the greatness of Ender and the hegemonic but sadistic nature of Peter. Both were amazing characters in the first series, but as I read the Shadow books, I start to get the impression that Bean was turning the real cogs of power in the background. Also, the character of Peter has gone quite weak and whiney when confronted by Bean. I think OSC has tweaked their characters to fit the new series' storyline.
Nevertheless, this is a very enjoyable book and I fully intend to complete the series. Excellently narrated.
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