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Shadows in Flight (The Shadow Series) Mass Market Paperback – January 29, 2013
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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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.
“Card's latest installment in his Shadow subseries…does a superlative job of dramatically portraying the maturing process of child into adult…. Card makes the important point that there's always more than one side to every issue. Fans will marvel at how subtly he has prepared for the clever resolution.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review, on Shadow of the Giant
“Shadow of the Giant is a fitting and satisfying continuation to the Ender series, although it is not a conclusion. Card...seems to indicate that he will at some point return to follow Bean's family and the other Battle School Children as they expand throughout the galaxy.” ―SF Site.com on Shadow of the Giant
“Once again, Card keeps the action, danger, and intrigue levels high...paves the way for further Ender-Bean developments; and leaves his readers eagerly awaiting them.” ―Booklist on Shadow Puppets
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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Bean's DNA was designed with a flaw--he could only live into his twenties until his heart could no longer keep up with his unstoppable growth. Earth leaders sent him into space at near light speed, to travel more quickly into the future to bide time for a possible cure. He brought along 3 children with the same DNA enhancement and the same flaw.
Bean is a dignified genius, now stuck in a ship with 3 children who challenge him as a father. The unusual family is believable--for a group of super intelligent people. They go on a great adventure when they discover a ship orbiting a far away planet.
Was finding the strange ship an accident?
Card is very good at writing dialogue for young geniuses. Conversation is sharp and insightful. Interior dialogue is revealing.
For Card, intuition is the framework of intelligence. When a character gets a hunch, it inevitably becomes the basis for action. We can believe that these super geniuses have the ability to understand and act upon signals from their subconscious, but it sometimes seems a convenient way to portray genius.
In real life, we have hunches, but effective action comes from calculating odds and acting in cold efficiency. Hunches are often wrong.
In this book, intuitions are almost always right. It seems a bit like a cheat--meant to display a character as smart--they just know when they are right.
Bean explains that his experience and intelligence allow him to read people. Then, when he reads someone, he is correct.
At least luck does not drive the plot.
Overall, this book is satisfying. And, as a fan of the Ender Universe, I want more from the Bean family, and this book leaves the door open...
It is the latter in this case so much so that you can appreciate the novel in many different levels. For example:
a) The dynamic between Bean's three kids and how they are likely to think and act being not only superintelligent but also being holed up in a ship for years without outside/physical human interaction.
b) Answering what is happening to Bean as he's getting older and bigger beyond his body's ability to adapt, and the race toward solutions for their "condition"
c) Revelations into details (more details than ever explained) about the Formics, and how, a lot of what the human race knows about them (and what had thus far been put forth in existing novels) are either missing or downright mistaken
d) Like other OSC novels, a fresh reboot on our preconceived notions about how alien planets and technology works. And how different they are from the way we would do them. Instead of thinking in terms of what a human would assume, are instead fresh insights on how aliens would actually accomplish things, including architecture and engineering.
... Basically all these themes and more in a book that many here diss as being too light or shallow, which is just plain wrong. Many people seem to want long books just for the sake of extending their entertainment time instead of getting the full value of a good story regardless of length.
This novel is not only concise but gets to the point without the fluff most other books waste your time with. It's a full book and while it leaves room so you can be sure it's made to pre-sell future sequels, it is complete for the story it tells and adding more stories to it would have just been an exercise to waste your time in reading (looking at you, George RR Martin).
This gets its well-deserved five stars and I can't wait for more new concepts from OSC.
Strengths: it wraps up the loose ends of Bean and his children. While some disliked Bean's ending, I thought it was very appropriate. Bean was larger than life intellectually, physically, and in terms of his achievements. He did, however, have a fatal, unavoidable genetic condition. I was pleased with the way that Bean "went out."
Weaknesses: the three children are very complex but we're not given the opportunity to love them. They're dry compared to so many of Card's characters. The three children seem to overlap too much with past characters and remain insufficiently differentiated. There is a major plot item that significantly alters (and perhaps undermines) the original Ender series; perhaps this gets dealt with in a future book (Shadows Alive?) The conclusion to the search for a genetic cure was also unsatisfactory--too open and closed without being fleshed out. It felt Deux ex Machina.