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Be cautioned if you loved the original.
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.