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 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.
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I liked the story and the complexities of the political parts of the book. I'd give the book 5 stars, but this was one of the poorer audio productions I've heard on audible. Improper leveling of music, words that were spliced into the audio with a different voice, tone, and volume; all of these things distracted from the story and are things that are easily edited by 12 year olds on youtube. Maybe OSC should have taken a page from his own book, and had kids do the audio production.
I personally don't prefer Scott Brick as a narrator for any book as he over-dramatises nearly everthing, and even brings drama into non-fiction when reading it. I did like Ender's Shadow immensely to my surprise as I didn't expect to be able to re-enter easily into the setting. Shadow of the Hegemon is also easy to get into. The downsides of the story to me are mostly to do with the Achilles character.
I couldn't believe that the mispronunciation of the name of the main antagonist was really throughout the second half of the book. What the H...? It was kind of hard to get past that misstep and enjoy the book without thinking every time it was said how dumb it seemed.
I've read the entire Ender Series and was glued to the story. I couldnt stop listening. Then I started the Shadow series. Enders Shadow was great. but Shadow of the Hegemon is soo slow. I found myself fast forwarding to get over the drawn out parts. And I almost stopped listening compleatly because of the narrators. If you have listened to Enders Shadow they explained all about "Achilles" name. Its spelled Achilles but pronounced Asheel. They story line made a big joke about it. Now in this book aparently everyone but us (the reader) forgot about it.
The narrators keep going back and forth between pronunciations. Its sooo annoying.It took me several chapters to figure out who they were talking about. I thought Card brought in a new character. It's so bad that they switched pronunciations in mid sentence. Now come on!! Cant the narrators hear what they are saying. Dont they have editors check anything before they publish the book on tape. Isnt Card one of the narrators in this book. Your telling me he cant remember how to pronouce his own characters name?????? I hope that they dont continue to do this in Shadow Puppets. I dont know if I can take anymore.
Very interesting spin on the "Ender's Game" story. Highly recommended as a follow-on to that book. Exciting, I found it hard to leave the car (ie, stop listening).
This book takes place on Earth after the Bugger War and per the author himself this book was inspired by a favorite board game from his childhood: Risk. This book presents to the listener a global game of Risk where the main players are Achilles and Peter Wiggen along with a few of the Battle School kids from Ender's Game. Political and Military maneuvering form the core of this story and Orson Scott Card has clearly put some thought into the geo-political scenarios he presents.
This book also flushes out the back stories of both Bean and Petra and the relationship between them. Bean winds up learning many key things about his own background as the story progresses and the way you view him will fundamentally change. I found Bean's backstory to be more interesting than I expected and for me this was the better part of the story.
Be warned that the recording is pretty poorly done. The readers are good but it is obvious that certain words like Hegemon were mispronounced during the recording. The solution deployed here was to edit in a different reader saying the word correctly after the fact and this makes for a pretty poor listening experience.
So if you can tolerate the poor recording and are interested in learning more about Bean and Petra then give this one a go but if you are looking for more space based Sci-Fi then you should look elsewhere.
As mentioned in other reviews, the editing and narration is absolutely terrible in this book. Names are pronounced incorrectly and edits of the word "Hegemon" are so bad, I wonder if the person editing the audio was drunk.
The story takes a life of it's own and goes a different direction than Ender's Shadow. This book reads more like modern day political fiction than a sci-fi novel. Achille's rise to power just seemed to convenient to me. Specifically, he went from street thug to modern day Hitler after only been in battle school for a few days. It was just to big of a stretch for me to accept this.
I loved Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow, however the story has gone such a different direction, I doubt I will continue the Shadow series.
The editing of the audio version of this book was very bad. It was obvious there were mispronounced works that they added later. It didn't match well at all.
The Shadow series is a terrific storyline, a true classic. This production almost ruined it. This truly needs redone. The voice actors are fine, for the most part, but the instrumental interludes are annoying in the extreme - untuneful, unrelated, interrupting, and overlong. However, the story is strong enough to overcome the production's flaws.
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