Fantasy/SF Book ReviewsThe Internet Writing Journal, September 1999
Page Two of Four
Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott CardTor, Sept., 1999.
Hardcover, 352 pages.
This is a parallel novel to the first in the Ender quartet, Ender's Game. Ender's Shadow covers the same time period as Ender's Game, but from the point of view of a small boy known as Bean. Bean was discovered in the slums of Rotterdam where he survived solely by his wits. The idea of telling the same story over from another character's viewpoint is a risky one. Oftentimes, the so-called parallel novel is full of incomprehensible references that leave first time readers puzzled and experienced readers bored. But when Orson Scott Card takes on the parallel view novel, it's truly a different story. The book is absolutely brilliant, either as a stand alone or as a welcome addition to Ender's Game.
Bean is a complex character and his story is incredibly moving. But it is the wonderful character of the nun who discovers Bean, Sister Carlotta, who steals every scene in which she appears. Her wit is rapier sharp and quite funny. One wonders if she is a mouthpiece for Card's own views on religion, honor and duty. In any event, if you've been living on an asteroid for the last 20 years and haven't yet made the acquaintance of Ender Wiggin and the group from the Battle School, you have an amazing treat ahead of you. And as for Card fans -- it would take an army of conquering aliens to keep them away from this book. Highly Recommended.
--Claire E. White
Ender's Game (re-issue edition) by Orson Scott CardTor Books, July 1994.
Paperback, 324 pages.
In the Earth of the future, mankind is at risk of annihilation from a species of aliens. After barely winning the last war, humans must prepare to fight again and defend the Earth. Now the government has decided to handpick the military geniuses of the future and train these children in the infamous Battle School, which uses computer games to simulate war. The school is tough, both in the curriculum and the numerous mind games played by the school officials on the students -- all in the name of defending Earth. Ender Wiggin, an extremely talented child is chosen for Battle School, and it is his story that Ender's Game follows. Nothing is as it seems in Battle School, and the story's shocking denouement only seems perfectly rational after you put the book down.
When Ender's Game was first published in novel form in 1985, it immediately became one of the most talked-about and loved SF novels of the time. Card excels at writing children, and at creating new worlds which are both familiar and exotic at the same time. Winner of both the Nebula and Hugo Awards, this is one book that lives up to its hype, and that no SF lover should miss. Highly Recommended.
--Claire E. White
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