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am 19. September 2000
Although the story line is exactly the same as Ender's Game - and the ending is somewhat spoiled since you already know the outcome (at least if you've read Ender's Game) - the book remains interesting due to the unique perspective of Bean. I really enjoyed seeing the story from a different angle. Other people I have recommended the book to have skipped the parts they think they already know - but I recommend reading them. You may see something you missed before.
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am 13. September 1999
Had I never read "Ender's Game," I would have high praise to give to this novel, but I caution those who have a strong attachment to that original to approach "Ender's Shadow" with full knowledge of what you may find. Not only was I ultimately disappointed, but I almost wish I could un-read this book because of the diminishing light it cast upon the original for me.
The first third (or so) of the book, before Bean meets Ender, is a fine story and well-done. The plot of Bean's story is much the same as Ender's Game, and at times I found it a bit repetitive -- seeming sometimes to be merely a re-telling of Ender's early days with different names and places. Still, it was compelling and invoked enough of the original feel of "Ender's Game" for those very reasons that I enjoyed it considerably that far and was optimistic.
Thereafter, however, my impression changed sharply. From this point, the story builds itself by diminishing the original. Although I have read reviews by others who found it a wonderful tale of how Bean and Ender complimented each other, I found it a story of the true hero of the Formic War (the new politically-corrected name) -- Bean -- and the figurehead who was Ender Wiggin. This is, to an extent, and exaggeration, but I felt cheated out of the original story that I enjoyed so much, as if it had been torn down by this new re-telling and its magic forever tarnished. Be forewarned of this, if you cherise the original, and approach "Ender's Shadow" with caution. I, for one, wish now that I had never read this book and fear that "Ender's Game" will no longer hold for me the same magic it once did.
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am 24. Oktober 1999
The story is good and entertaining, but I think most fans of Ender's Game will feel betrayed by the plot. As others have said, the undermining of Ender Wiggin and the way Card tries to fit this "revised" Bean into the fabric of Ender's Game often doesn't fit together.
Ender was a more believable character than the Bean of Ender's Shadow, and I was deeply disappointed in the way Ender's genius was somehow negated by Card's revision of the story.
It would have been a better story on it's own.
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am 19. September 1999
To begin, the four stars do not mean that this is four-fifths as good as Ender's Game; I'm merely pointing out that it's not quite as good. But I suspect that someone who read this first might have the opposite reaction...anyway, here's my justification.
Ender's Game can never be repeated. It is unique. It is so simple yet so profound that it defies description. One does not read it; for a few hours, one lives it. That indefinable surreal quality is what Ender's shadow lacks, but I wouldn't ask for it again. This book has a fascinating story, well told, intense, and gripping. I don't want to give away detail, but the amount of depth it adds to the character of Bean, and the entire story, is amazing. I have noticed a decline in Card's recent books (Children of the Mind, Pastwatch, etc.), so I was pleasantly surprised by this. However, it isn't written in quite the same style. It's not as immediate or intense. (Still can't find the right words. If you read Ender's Game, you know what I'm talking about.)
And I wish he had refrained from making Bean so much smarter than Ender. Part of the appeal of Ender's Game was the mystique of "the one," alone. Suddenly we find out that Bean can do everything Ender can, except he's not likable enough. Hmm... Also, the idea that Ender was the only one in Battle School who hadn't heard about Bean--and no one bothered to tell him!--is a bit implausible.
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am 22. Dezember 1999
After I read Ender's Shadow, I found a great urge to go back and read Ender's Game for the umpteenth time. Ender's Shadow and Ender's Game really should have been one book. They complement each other so well and yet have stood alone.
Reading many of the reviews, both good and bad, I found that many people forgot that this was a "parallel" novel. Think of these novels as "behind-the-scenes" of each other. It is very hard to believe that any one person could have performed the feats of either Ender or Bean without help.
People think of the title as Bean's experiences in his younger life and at Battle School being very similar to Ender's. Looking at it that way, it is very easy to see similarities. This is what I gleaned from the story; not that Bean would always be in Ender's shadow or that Mr. Card was trying to outdo Ender's game, but that Bean was working from the "shadows". You find out that when he isn't being told about in Ender's Game, he is still doing things that help the overall mission.
I highly reccomend this book to all of Card's readers, whether they have read Ender's Game or not. This is definately one that I will revisit my library for.
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am 1. August 2000
Here's the deal with Ender's Shadow: it's nearly as good as Ender's Game. In fact, if this novel came first, and there were subsequent stories about Bean and family, I may consider it better than Ender's Game. As a huge fan of the first novel about the Battle School participants, I had enormous expectations for 'Shadow,' and I must say that those expectations were indeed fulfilled.
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am 24. Juli 2000
Bean's smart. He's logical. He's a leader. His flaw? He is not Ender.
Ender's Shadow is a perfect companion book to Ender's Game. I read Ender's Shadow right after I read the first, and you should re-read if you haven't read it in a wile because it is so much better if you know what Ender was thinking in that same situation. In this story we fallow Bean through the training. Bean has a more removed point of view then that of any other person close to Ender. Bean's logic also adds a new dimension to the world around Ender, and into the teacher's world. Bean's broad perspective and logic give you an entirely new point of view.
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am 24. Juli 2000
I enjoyed the entire series of Ender's Game... and I've found myself wanting to read more of it. So, when I heard that this was out I had to go read it for myself. Once I picked it up I couldn't stop, and now I find myself with the urge to go back to the original series since it's been so long since I read it... I'm curious to see the "original" side of the story now that I've seen Bean's side. This was a very believable character, and I find myself hoping the saga continues!
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am 16. Mai 2000
Shadow is a rare instance where the sequel is even better than its first. I loved Bean, and hope there's more coming.
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am 8. Januar 2000
In this "parallel novel to ENDER'S GAME," Bean starts as an intelligent but starving (and I do mean starving) four-year-old on the mean streets of Rotterdam. By chance he is noticed, then tested for both intelligence and leadership potential by the International Fleet. The IF runs Battle School, a facility where children are taught the skills necessary to win the inevitable War with the Buggers, an alien race who nearly wiped out all human life.
I'm not big on either military or intrigue plots, but ENDER'S SHADOW has very little of these. It is a fascinating study of a fascinating character, the events and ideas that shape his life and his mind, and how he copes with it all, from the gang bosses of Rotterdam to the other kids (all older than he) in Battle School to finally meeting the almost legendary Ender Wiggin to the stress and trauma of impending war. While ENDER'S SHADOW takes place in the same time frame and covers some of the same events (from Bean's very different point of view rather than Ender's) as ENDER'S GAME, this novel stands alone very well, so that it doesn't matter which of the two you read first. I first read ENDER'S GAME several years ago and greatly enjoyed rereading it (for the fourth or fifth time) immediately after finishing ENDER'S SHADOW.
Orson Scott Card's latest has all the pathos and insight we've come to expect from him, along with characters one can't help but like and even admire. A truly spectacular book that will stay with the reader long after the last page, ENDER'S SHADOW is my pick for both the Hugo and the Nebula Awards this year.
Kimberly Borrowdale Under the Covers Book Reviews
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