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Shadow Puppets (The Shadow Series) Hardcover – August 19, 2002

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Editorial Reviews Review

A Reading Guide for Ender's Game.


Ender's Series: Ender Wiggin: The finest general the world could hope to find or breed.

The following Ender's Series titles are listed in order: Ender's Game, Ender In Exile, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind.

Ender's Shadow Series: Parallel storylines to Ender’s Game from Bean: Ender’s right hand, his strategist, and his friend.

The following Ender's Shadow Series titles are listed in order: Ender's Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow Puppets, Shadow of the Giant, Shadows in Flight.

The First Formic War Series: One hundred years before Ender's Game, the aliens arrived on Earth with fire and death. These are the stories of the First Formic War.

Earth Unaware, Earth Afire.

Ender Novellas

A War of Gifts, First Meetings.

The Authorized Ender Companion: A complete and in-depth encyclopedia of all the persons, places, things, and events in Orson Scott Card’s Ender Universe.

--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition. Review

In Shadow Puppets, Orson Scott Card continues the storyline of Shadow of the Hegemon, following the exploits of the Battle School children, prodigies who have returned to an Earth thrown into chaos after the unifying force of the alien invasion they stopped in Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow has dissipated.

Foremost among these whiz kids is the brilliant Bean who, in Shadow of the Hegemon, rescued his comrades from his nemesis--the dastardly Achilles. Now, the down-but-not-out evil genius is again scheming towards global domination and vengeance against the irrepressible Bean. It's up to Bean and his newfound love, Petra, to outwit the young psychopath and save the world. Meanwhile, the other Battle School children are called to serve again as an expansionist China threatens the stability of post-Bugger War Earth.

Shadow Puppets is, for better or worse, exactly what readers have come to expect from Card. There are thought-provoking musings on geopolitics, war, courage, arrogance, good versus evil, and the concept of children wise beyond their years dealing with grave responsibility. Unfortunately, many of these furnishings are looking a little frayed around the edges, but fans will enjoy an exciting, fast-paced plot and a suspense-filled conclusion. --Jeremy Pugh

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Product Details

  • Series: The Shadow Series (Book 3)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (August 19, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857423755
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857423754
  • ASIN: 0765300176
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (286 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #871,732 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Shepherd VINE VOICE on September 23, 2002
Format: Hardcover
The spectacular Ender's Game and its very good to excellent sequels established Card as a major SF writer. With Ender's Shadow, he came close to matching the brilliance of the original story. Then came Shadow of the Hegemon, with its focus on Peter Wiggin and Achilles, and it seemed like all the power, originality, and dramatic tension faded away, leaving only a shadow to lay across your mind. This latest work is neither as good as Ender's Shadow nor as mundane as Hegemon, but rather somewhere in-between.

Here we find Bean growing beyond the norm, symptomatic of his genetic flaw that will eventually kill him while still a young man. And growing in other ways, as his relationship with Petra finally flowers under her tenacious insistence. This is probably the best part of this novel, as we see sides of the two that have not been in great evidence in the prior works. And we get some small looks into the thoughts and characters of some of the other Battle School graduates, mainly Virlomi, Han Tzu and Alai, each of whom contribute some major items towards Peter and Bean winning their current battle with Achilles. The Wiggin parents emerge from obscurity and are revealed to be (unsurprisingly) very intelligent and (surprisingly) quite forceful. All good things...

So where does this book fail? The main failure is Peter Wiggin himself. For a man who could sway world opinion with his exacting, careful logic as Locke and browbeat everyone into emotional frenzy as Demosthenes, Peter is depicted here as a remarkably stupid, arrogant, and emotional teenager. Achilles, the demon, remains almost totally offstage, providing little room for dramatic confrontations, and what ones there are come off as almost anti-climatic.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Patrick L. Randall VINE VOICE on April 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I put a question mark next to the word conclusion in the title of this review because it's not clear if "Shadow Puppets" is the final book in the entire 'Ender's Saga' ('Bean sub-saga'). A large number of issues are resolved in this book, but others are still left up in the air. At the present time, there is listing or information about any future episodes in this series. So, for the time being, I will assume this is the last book. If it is, despite seeming loose ends, it would make a satisfactory conclusion.

"Shadow Puppets" should probably be the end, though. Much like the last portion of "Xenocide" and all of "Children of the Mind" in the original 'Ender's Quartet', Orson Scott Card seems to be running out of steam with these characters. Card still displays his gifts of representing human interactions, but "Shadow Puppets" has less ability to stand on it's own. Unlike "Ender's Shadow" and, to a slightly lesser degree, "Shadow of the Hegemon", you absolutely have to have read the previous books in the series for "Shadow Puppets" to have any true meaning. Whereas "Ender's Shadow" and "Shadow of the Hegemon" were connected by similar characters, yet told different stories (much like "Ender's Game" and "Speaker for the Dead"), "Shadow Puppets" merely continues the storyline from "...Hegemon".

To summarize, Peter Wiggin has achieved his long sought after goal of becoming the Hegemon, but the title carries little power with it in the wake of a large Chinese invasion throughout southern Asia, and subsequent assumption of the position of Earth's premier military power.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover
As soon as Shadow Puppets entered stores I ran out and bought it. I'm a huge fan of Orson Scott Card and the Ender series. Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow were my all-time favourite books.
But while Ender's Game was spectacular, Ender's Shadow great, and Shadow of the Hegemon good, I thought Shadow puppets was way below my expectations.
Everything felt tired, boring, and predictable. As with the later books in the Ender series, It seemed as though there wasn't enough plot to stretch across the pages.
Bean and Petra's characters seemed to change radically from Shadow of the Hegemon and Ender's Shadow with no explanation. I also was disapointed in the dialogue. People said things rather abruptly and for no reason. Bean and Petra's romance also seemed very awkward with no excitement at all.
And where was Achilles? His great chapters with Petra made me forgive some of Shadow of the Hegemon's boring parts.
But as a loyal fan, I still give it 3 stars because it kinda satisfied my longing for another Ender book. It's great for fans, but I wouldn't really recomned it.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Gary M. Greenbaum on August 22, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The genesis of the Bean/Achilles interaction was clear. Two telegenic, winning characters (to the other characters, not necessarily to the readers). One with a tragic physical flaw that is likely to kill him, the other with a tragic moral flaw, ditto.
The problem is that the writing, especially in this book, doesn't rise to the level that Card seeks.
Unless you enjoy endless conversations about minor issues, or five-page musings by minor characters, you are likely to find this book very slow moving indeed. This book resoves the Eastern crisis that Card set up in the last book. But it does it in almost a storybook fashion. After a drop by drop setup (Chinese water torture, maybe?), we are told of tremendous military manoevers that I really don't find convincing. Sure, maybe the Muslims can do all the things that Card has them do. But the denouement relies on all the things being UNDETECTED, it is never explained how that is possible. What happened to radar, satellite imagery, intelligence (in more ways than one)?
The whole military plot relies on the Chinese being slightly stupider than a comic book villian and little weapons advancement beyond 1949. Very strange.
The Bean/Achilles conflict reaches its resolution in this book as well, I will not say how. But by the time we finally get to it, it is difficult to care. In my opinion, this is due to Card's failure to make us feel anything except irritation when it comes to Achilles, however much we may like Bean. Shadow of the Hegemon gave Card the opportunity to make Achilles interesting, rather than just an almost hypnotically alluring (to the other characters) villian. It didn't work.
We get to see more of Peter Wiggin in this book. But he comes across more as a sullen teenager, who (no fewer than twice!
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