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Shadow Puppets (The Shadow Series) Mass Market Paperback – June 16, 2003
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A Reading Guide for Ender's Game.
THE ENDER UNIVERSE
Ender's Series: Ender Wiggin: The finest general the world could hope to find or breed.
Ender's Shadow Series: Parallel storylines to Ender’s Game from Bean: Ender’s right hand, his strategist, and his friend.
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.
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.
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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
"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.Read more ›
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.
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!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Of course it met my expectations. And shadows in flight is going great too. Love the transformative perspectives of the characters. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Mike
Another great book in the Shadow series following Bean, introduced to us in Ender's Game. I am enjoying the series immensely and look forward to the next book.Published 3 months ago by Stephen M McLain
The story was interesting about what Peter Wiggins and Bean working together. How they bring about a World order to mankind.Published 4 months ago by Ken Schielke
Shadow puppets was a good read but it was really slow paced and didn't have anything to tempt me to read just one more chapter or think about what might happen in the next chapter... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Tom
The story is alright. I'm getting a bit tired of the story and the idea of genius kids determining what goes on in the world. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Kregg Hyer
I've been trying to think if I've ever read a book where so many exceptional people spend so much time doing pretty much nothing. Maybe Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Stewart Bushman
The book is amazing, as is the rest of the series. But there is something I noticed in the middle of the book. Alai's name is pronounced like ally. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Forrest Weintraub
I love the Ender series, and the Shadow series surpasses even that.Published 9 months ago by Kalika