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130 of 152 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Maybe Urchin would have been better..., May 11, 2000
This review is from: Ender's Shadow (The Shadow Series) (Hardcover)
Card, in the acknowledgements, voices his wish to have named the book Urchin, only to be trumped by the marketability of the name "Ender". So in a desire to sell books, his publishers convinced him to force everyone to look at Bean, and at this novel, through the eyes of their love for Ender and Ender's Game. That was a mistake.
It seems that the Ender aficionadoes out there judge Card a standard by which he himself set. For them, every other book must meet or at least approach meeting the acclaim of Ender's Game, otherwise it is a dismal failure. To anyone fitting this description, please read Card's masterpiece, "The Worthing Saga". I think you may finally be able to tear yourselves free from your Ender obsession and be able to recognize that Card is a very talented and engaging writer even when he is not writing about Ender Wiggin. Then perhaps you can return to "Ender's Shadow" with an open mind.
"Ender's Shadow" is a well-written, substantial book in it's own right. The development of Bean through his precocious street life to the final battle reveals a depth and complexity beyond even his hyper-brilliant mind. This is not a novel about a "superkid" as a reader below says. This novel dives into a child's psyche to discover what lies bare at the center of all of us. There is no question as to Bean's ability. His infallibility of mind leaves no excuse for any fallibility of character. Card is hopeful about human nature and exemplifies with Bean the possibility of benevolence even in a world of vacuous and deceptive morality. Card's little urchin from Rotterdam stands tall enough on his own and casts a shadow so large that a comparison to his commander is not necessary. And so it is with this book and its "parallel".
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 11, 2008 12:25:34 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 11, 2008 12:28:47 AM PST
R. B. McCord says:
The problem with rating a "parallel" book with regards to its predecessor is that one will always be superior. Ender's Game is superior in just about every aspect to Shadow. Plot, arch villian, and politics all felt like setups for the next Bean story to me. Bean is not a bad character but having read most of Cards works well before reading Shadow and Shadow of a Hegemon I was extremely dissapointed. I am usually cerebrally challenged when I read Card novels, but with the Bean series it felt like reading teen action novels: Predictable plots, story, and characters.

You talked about how supposedly "Card is hopeful about human nature and exemplifies with Bean the possibility of benevolence even in a world of vacuous and deceptive morality. Card's little urchin from Rotterdam stands tall enough on his own and casts a shadow so large that a comparison to his commander is not necessary." The problem is just that, Ender's Game and Ender really does overshadow Ender's Shadow and Bean. And Ender has always been a much better character in regards to both his benevolance ( which he truly had to learn ) and his flaws. Reading him was interesting on a level that I have never found with Bean, I fail to see this depth and complexity you saw with Bean.

I really like Card as a writer... but his Bean novels leave me with a bad aftertaste, there was just room for so much more. I hate to say it, but it almost feels like Card wrote the Bean series more for money then art.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 6, 2008 8:18:56 PM PDT
In response to your concluding paragraph: Considering that Card titled the book "Urchin", without regard to pecuniary gain, whereupon the publisher re-named it for sake of marketability, how can you even support that line of reasoning? I hate to say it, but it almost feels like you wrote the last sentence more to support your main argument rather than to make a valid point.

Furthermore, stating that "Ender has always been a much better character" is a matter of opinion, not fact. You are welcome to bring up supporting evidence to convince others of that fact---however, whether you found Bean interesting or not has little relation to his absolute value as a character.
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