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The Shadow Series #3

Shadow Puppets

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Bestselling author Orson Scott Card brings to life a new chapter in the saga of Ender's Earth.

Earth and its society have been changed irrevocably in the aftermath of Ender Wiggin's victory over the Formics. The unity forced upon the warring nations by an alien enemy has shattered. Nations are rising again, seeking territory and influence, and most of all, seeking to control the skills and loyalty of the children from the Battle School.

But one person has a better idea. Peter Wiggin, Ender's older, more ruthless, brother, sees that any hope for the future of Earth lies in restoring a sense of unity and purpose. And he has an irresistible call on the loyalty of Earth's young warriors. With Bean at his side, the two will reshape our future.

Here is the continuing story of Bean and Petra, and the rest of Ender's Dragon Army, as they take their places in the new government of Earth.

375 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published August 9, 2002

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About the author

Orson Scott Card

861 books18.9k followers
Orson Scott Card is the author of the novels Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, and Speaker for the Dead, which are widely read by adults and younger readers, and are increasingly used in schools.

Besides these and other science fiction novels, Card writes contemporary fantasy (Magic Street, Enchantment, Lost Boys), biblical novels (Stone Tables, Rachel and Leah), the American frontier fantasy series The Tales of Alvin Maker (beginning with Seventh Son), poetry (An Open Book), and many plays and scripts.

Card was born in Washington and grew up in California, Arizona, and Utah. He served a mission for the LDS Church in Brazil in the early 1970s. Besides his writing, he teaches occasional classes and workshops and directs plays. He recently began a long-term position as a professor of writing and literature at Southern Virginia University.

Card currently lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Kristine Allen Card, and their youngest child, Zina Margaret.

For further details, see the author's Wikipedia page.
For an ordered list of the author's works, see Wikipedia's List of works by Orson Scott Card.


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Displaying 1 - 29 of 1,210 reviews
Profile Image for Spider the Doof Warrior.
433 reviews238 followers
August 12, 2015
Petra- I want to have your babies, Bean, even if you have a fatal genetic disease that might pass down to the kids and kill them painfully at a young age.

Bean-I don't want you to have my babies because I have a fatal genetic disease that might pass down to the kids and kill them painfully at a young age and anyway, I'm not human.

Anton-Even though I'm gay, I'm going to marry a woman and have babies with her because you can't be gay and be part of the Web of Life. You have to marry someone of the opposite sex, even if you don't love them and have babies, so have babies because that's the whole point of life is to just have babies, babies and more babies.

Bean-Ok, I will have babies.

Other stuff happens.

There. Saved you money. Man, I hate this book.

OK. I'm sorry, but Orson Scott Card is GROSS. Do you have any idea how young these characters are when they get married and decide to have babies even though none of their relationship is believable? SUPER MEGA UNDERAGED! UGH! You have a gay dude lecturing them about marrying people of the opposite sex and having babies, but how the hell is being two legal gay people together such a bad thing but two CHILDREN marrying such a good thing? Never mind that them having kids didn't even make any kind of logical sense in this book? In fact the whole plot is people doing something stupid and bad things happening as a result. I hate that kind of plot SO MUCH!
Profile Image for Alex.
48 reviews
November 16, 2011
I've got to speak some truth to power: This is a lousy book.

Ender's Game was pretty cool. The other three books in the Enderverse were progressively less good, but still all right. The first two books in the Beanverse (or whatever we want to call them)... not so great, but kind of fun, I guess? But this one. Oh my.

Why did I finish this? I admit that I read half of it six months ago, was so bored with it that I put it down again, and then just recently finished it up because I didn't have anything else I was willing to commit myself to.

What makes this book awful, even amongst the relative standards of Orson Scott Card (who is not exactly a spry writer), is the writing. The entire book consists of one unrealistic, idiotic, poorly-written dialogue after another, where two "geniuses" decide to hash over strategy again and again and again. There's about 10 minutes of action in the entire book, and absolutely zero new, interesting ideas. (And heaps, heaps, and heaps of crazy-ass neo-conservatism.) The strategy is dull ("We'll attack them, then these other guys will roll in, and then those guys will switch sides!"), much of it is entirely predictable, and, my God, the endless hashing over the joy of babies... WTF?

Ender Scott Card has officially made me hate the word "baby." Baby, baby, baby. The characters just can't shut up about babies for the last quarter of the book. It's a curious thing for all of the world's super-geniuses to spend their time hashing over. Yes, yes, it serves the slow-as-mollasses plot, technically, but jeez. Enough already!

The worst is when Card tries to write pillow-talk and love-talk. Did he grow up on the set of a Lifetime movie? The dialogue reeks. And goes on and on and on.

If I had been the editor, I'd have named it Sock Puppets, because that's about as much individual personality as any character has in this stinker, and you could, without any difficulty, re-enact the entire contents of this book as a series of dull conversations between socks-on-hands.

So this book is where I draw the line. Goodbye, Enderverse! I should have quit while you were ahead. Probably shouldn't have started the Beanverse. But definitely should have stopped before Shadow Puppets, which is one of the few complete one-stars I've given a book. Totally boring and totally stupid.

Also I was really surprised that he cites Guns, Germs, and Steel as some kind of "inspiration" for the strategic discussions in this book. Don't let Mr. Card's endorsement keep you from reading GGS — it has absolutely nothing to do with anything that is said in this piece of crap.
Profile Image for Stephen.
1,516 reviews11k followers
May 8, 2011



For those of you interested in learning to make hand “shadow puppets” or reading more about the movie starring “James Marsters,” I invite you to check out their entries in Wikipedia for more information. For those interested in the origin and history of the band consisting of Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys and Miles Kane of The Rascals...well...you should be ashamed of yourselves and I will not be an enabler for you.

For this review, we will be discussing the book by Orson Scott Card...

4.5 to 5.0 stars. This is book three in the Shadow series, following Ender's Shadow and Shadow of the Hegemon. For those that have not read the Shadow of the Hegemon, there may be some spoilers below as the plot summary deals with the consequences of the previous book. Otherwise, I will try to avoid all but very minor spoilers regarding this book, though I do assume that if you are reading this you have some general familiarity with the Ender series and role that Ender’s brother plays in the series.

Anyway, this story picks up shortly after Shadow of the Hegemon with Peter Wiggin now the Hegemon of Earth. Despite the title, Peter is really nothing more than a figure head as the major power in the world following the events of the previous book is the Chinese Empire. As with the previous book, the plot unfolds as a massive game of “Risk” with Peter, Bean and their allies trying break the Chinese power bloc and create conditions for a truly peaceful and unified Earth. Standing in their way is the massive Chinese army and the central villain of the Shadow series, Achilles.

In addition, an important subplot of the book involves Bean and Petra’s growing relationship and their attempt to cope with Bean’s “condition” while staying on the run from Achilles and his global network.

While not quite as good as Shadow of the Hegemon, I still thought this was a FANTASTIC book and certainly worthy of 5 stars. The writing is great, the tactical/strategic plot elements are superb and the dialogue between the "gifted" characters continues to be incredibly well done. I am looking forward to reading the last book in the series and seeing how everything ends. Highly Recommend!!

Nominee: Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.
Profile Image for Bailey Kleinberg.
5 reviews1 follower
August 7, 2013
As the Ender series progresses each book gets significantly sadder. I thought Ender's Shadow was brilliant, I love the parallel novel and I love Bean.
This book had some fatal flaws however. What happened to Petra? When did she become a character whose only desire is to pop out a couple of kids and take the minivan to soccer practice? Was she not the best sharpshooter in the whole Battle School? It's as if Card redefines her entire life by the fact that she was the one who cracked up there on Eros so many years ago. She cracked because Ender pushed her hardest (besides Bean who we know is a genetically altered super human who could take it). So she breaks down, so Bean has to take care of her and all of a sudden she's reliant on him to support her in all things, she's degraded to role of wife and mother and nothing else. All she snivels about is her babies, not the fate of the world. In fact, the theme of women stopping work or contributions to the world and just having babies is mentioned to EVERY female character including the brave Virlomi and Mama Wiggin. But I digress...

The worst of it was the painfully obvious speech by ::gasp:: gay character Anton who basically says "it doesn't matter if I'm gay, I'm going to marry this woman and make some babies (ew, icky, lady parts!) because that's the only way to be a part of society that matters. Okay, so we have aliens, space travel, and a gay couple can't get a surrogate and have as many babies as they want? I guess that technology disappeared.

Final verdict: if you are a completist like me and just want to read the whole series then you have to do it. If you can let go, do it. This shames the previous books. I could seriously write a book about how he destroyed Petra. I need a drink....
Profile Image for Mandie McGlynn.
104 reviews66 followers
March 31, 2012
I used to be the sort of person who prided herself on not quitting a book. Much as I flit from one project to another, leaving things unfinished, books and movies deserved my full efforts, no matter how abysmal they might seem in the beginning.

Thanks to a run of bad novels, I've changed my mind. Life is too short to finish a book that doesn't grip you. It's definitely too short to finish a book that makes you roll your eyes, chapter after chapter.

I trudged through the first hour or two of this audiobook with little interest. A rambling quasi-love story, it kept my mind busy while I did my duties as domestic engineer. However, I rarely thought about the story after I'd put it away, and it didn't draw me back in, enticing me to do my chores the way pretty much all of OSC's other books have done. This should have been my first clue that it wasn't worth it.

Then came the preaching.

Orson Scott Card, of whose religious and political beliefs I was blissfully unaware until after my first reading of the original Ender saga, claims not to preach through his fiction, unless he says he is (as in the Alvin Maker series, which is based loosely on the life of Joseph Smith). I could give him the benefit of the doubt, but that would just mean he is painfully unobservant of the underlying messages in his own writing.

From a diatribe against gay marriage (the character given this not-so-subtle soliloquy decides that, even though he's gay, he'll marry a single mother and use his pension to support them. Seriously.) to anti-abortion rhetoric that is pounded like a nail again and again, I just couldn't stomach it anymore.

So I've given up. I've got a to-read list a mile long, and I'm sure most of it deserves more attention than this drivel.
Profile Image for Chris Friend.
354 reviews15 followers
March 15, 2008
This was quite a relief.

I'll admit that I'm growing a bit tired of the "Enderverse" as it's so often called. The cast of characters Card created are great, but I'm growing a bit tired of having so many books covering the same people. The Shadow series was a nice change of pace, but the previous book had been a bit slow in the action, feeling like the author was treading water.

Card got a fire lit under his butt. This book makes up for lost time and moves through events quite well. There are a number of crucial moments in the plot that excited me simply because I had no idea how they would turn out, and each time they did so perfectly logically, as though there was no other possible outcome.

Card is great at explaining situations and revealing plot points at just the right moment, providing readers with the right information at the right time, to ensure that the suspense and pacing are moderated exceptionally well. This story is a fantastic example of his abilities. Enough characters are involved, enough plotting is being discussed, and enough ploys are put into motion that it's all quite interesting and even nail-biting-worthy. The characters have senses of humor that had me laugh out loud on several occasions, and the end of the book is quite rewarding, making the book simply *feel* like it was worth reading.

This was certainly my favorite book of Card's since Ender's Shadow, and I think this one pulls more adeptly at the emotions. While I didn't cry here (like I did for Ender's Shadow), I certainly cared what happened to each of the characters. I had respect for them, I was sad for them, and I laughed with them, all in turn. An awful lot is revealed about a number of the characters who have been in the stories for quite some time, and the revelations alone are enough to drive the story on. The fact that there are so many twists and turns involved make it that much better.

For Card to take such a large cast of characters, such a broad playing field, and such a variety of situations and work them together so smoothly into a series that is already so full of scenarios and surprises is impressive, admirable, commendable, and entirely worth experiencing.
Profile Image for Maria Dobos.
108 reviews44 followers
April 27, 2017
Plăcută, dar nu atât de incitantă ca primele două volume ale seriei.

In ciuda intrigilor pe care le-a țesut în favoarea Chinei și care au condus la cucerirea Indiei de către acesta, Ahile este întemnițat. In același timp, încercând să medieze conflictele militare care macină planeta și amenință echilibrul precar de după încheierea războiului cu "furnicile", Peter Wiggin devine Hegemonul Pământului, un titlu ce îi oferă mai mult prestigiu decât putere. După ce află că Peter plănuiește să-l elibereze pe Ahile din mâinile chinezilor pentru a-l aduce în fața unui tribunal internațional, Bean și Petra se hotărăsc să se ascundă, încredințați că acesta își va urmări răzbunarea.

Temându-se că modificarea genetică ce a declanșat uluitoarea sa dezvoltare intelectuală va fi transmisă împreună cu toate consecințele ei și copiilor săi, Bean refuză la început propunerea Petrei de a-și întemeia o familie, dar acceptă până la urmă să se căsătorească cu ea, cu condiția ca toți embrionii viitorilor copii să fie testați pentru Cheia lui Anton. Dar nici Ahile nu stă degeaba în acest timp, reușind să acapareze Hegemonia, să-l determine pe Peter să fugă pe o platformă spațială și să captureze cinci dintre embrionii lui Petra și ai lui Bean. And so the fun begins.

Spre deosebire de volumul precedent al cărui accent cădea pe situația geopolitică globală, Umbra Marionetelor îi urmărește îndeaproape pe Bean, Petra și Peter. Bean, al cărui timp se scurge încet, încet și încercă să își găsească țelul, folosul vieții, Petra, a cărei evoluție ca personaj m-a întristat și Peter, adolescentul care încă încearcă să se elibereze de umbra succesului fratelui său. Mi s-a părut puțin deplasată ideea de a-i defini pe oameni prin urmașii lor, de a reduce scopul întregii existențe la procreare. Perspectiva creată de Orson Scott Card asupra lumii islamice după ce a trecut de extremismul religios este destul de interesantă, mai ales in contextul actual.

3.5 ★
Profile Image for Erin.
341 reviews6 followers
February 9, 2012
This book would be how Orson Scott Card would novelize watching Bella and Edward play Risk. So, you know, if you're into that kind of thing it's really gonna be your cup of tea. I skimmed over all the "zomg baaaaaaaaaaaabeeeeeeeeeees" angst and just read the political/military strategy sections. Not the strongest book in the series.
6 reviews
May 11, 2007
This is the first truly bad book I have read by Card. The story from the political standpoint is not terrible. It is just a "what-if" future political thriller in the Enderverse. However, Card is basically telling you that you should have babies, and that babies are the most important thing in the world, and if you don't have all the babies you can have by the time you die you are selfish and stupid and don't really know what life is all about.

OK. I get it, Orson. You like babies.

I think my thoughts on this book are tainted by the author's often annoyingly one-dimensional religious philosophy, on which he has written numerous essays and such.
Profile Image for RJ - Slayer of Trolls.
765 reviews179 followers
November 29, 2016
Not as bad as the majority of reviews would have you believe, but there are some valid criticisms to be made. OSC's finest efforts in this series are likely behind him (Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead, Ender's Shadow) while this volume more closely resembles the remainder. Trite dialogue, over-writing, long dull stretches, and confounding and baffling leaps of logic drag the story down. It is said that this book and Shadow of the Hegemon were originally one book but were split in order to allow the story to be expanded (or possibly to sell more books?); they probably should have been condensed back into one book for purposes of clarity and brevity.
Profile Image for Sarah Capps.
68 reviews
October 6, 2013
Well, Card basically destroyed Petra. At one point she was one of the best and only female battle school kids. Now all she wants out of life is babies, apparently, but this isn't a strange character shift because making babies is the deepest desire of all women, or so Card would have me believe. Also, Card needed to pick up a thesaurus and find a word synonymous with 'babies.' I also felt the extent to which a lot of the characters feared Achilles never seemed to be supported in the work. Whenever he had lines they just came across as ridiculous. All in all, a preachy story without much real action.
Profile Image for Nicholas Karpuk.
Author 4 books64 followers
March 24, 2011
I gave up on this book about halfway through. I seem to recall saying I'd give up on the Shadow books after the last one, but this was loaned to me, so I have that comfort at least.

This book is uncomfortably fixated on breeding. The opinions espoused on passing on genetics in this book rival the weird rantings from Xenocide when it comes to sheer needless ranting. Unfortunately, this book lacks the solid plot buried beneath the blather.

Card is still playing a game of Risk with world powers, and so little is done to properly develop these characters that at times only the names remind me that there's been a change in scene.

A big chunk of the plot is about Bean breeding. So essentially it's a discussion of teenagers having children. I can't help but find this disconcerting. Card has gone from a ranting Neocon throwing his opinions into a story where they didn't necessarily fit straight into creepy old man territory.

Seeing as I've already read the two award winning books he wrote roughly two decades ago, it feels like a fine time to call it quits on this particular author.
Profile Image for Anna Dalvi.
Author 4 books20 followers
March 24, 2014
....and here Orson Scott Card goes off the deep end, and uses his characters to push the agenda of marriage being sacrosanct and between one man and one woman only.

I had heard he was opposed to same-sex marriage, but as the issue wasn't addressed in the books, I had thought he kept his writing separate from his political views. But dialogue in this book degenerated into a multi-page rant about a man marrying a woman is the meaning of life. Procreation is the meaning of the union, although he 'generously' allows that "even old people beyond mating" and people unable to have children can be "woven into the fabric".
Apparently we all have "...a deep hunger to find a person from that strange, terrifyingly other sex and make a life together."

Profile Image for Kat.
Author 1 book20 followers
August 7, 2011
The Post-Bugger war for control of Earth grinds on, but Card's main interest seems to lie in philosophizing at length--mostly about the innate, evolutionary need of humans to reproduce, whether they like it or not, and he uses formerly-interesting characters Bean and Petra as his mouthpieces. The villain, Achilles, becomes even more of a ridiculous bugbear, and less of an actual character.

I have a great deal of respect for Card as an author, but the "Shadow" series, after such a magnificent start in Ender's Shadow, is increasingly looking like a good idea gone horribly awry.
Profile Image for Kent.
50 reviews22 followers
April 18, 2012
Ender's Game is one of most favorite books. It was so good that Card managed to tell the same exact story all over again from a different angle (with Ender's Shadow) and still make it fantastic. Shadow of the Hegemon was fine.

But this--this is a miserable book. It made me physically ill. He took the characters that I knew and loved and made them spout hetero-normative bullshit and "BABIES BABIES BAAAAAABIES," said Petra.

I haven't disliked a book this much in recent memory. 2/3rds in and I couldn't finish it.
Profile Image for Sean.
79 reviews1 follower
October 31, 2015
The single worst reading experience of my adult life.

If you're like me and blissfully ignored Orson Scott Card's personal politics and enjoyed both the Ender and Shadow series, your ignorance ends sharply with Shadow Puppets. Card's views on homosexuality, abortion, and Muslims are not only apparent, but central to the plot line, despite no relevance to the previous books. And what makes it even more unbearable is that after going out of his way to fit all of these into Bean's story, very little even happens in the book at all. It's completely devoid of action, and don't get me started on the George Lucas-esque romance dialogue.

I was tempted to stop reading, but I finished it just to confirm what I already knew. There was no redeeming aspect to Shadow Puppets, just unrecognizable characterization, overwrought dialogue about battle philosophies for battles that never take place, and lots of preaching. I don't care how many of his beliefs you agree or disagree with, none of those things had a place in this story, and it is sadly the last book I will read in the Enderverse.
Profile Image for Kathryn Fulton.
97 reviews
November 5, 2012
Orson Scott Card is fantastic at imagining political and social futures, and at tracing way small decisions lead to worldwide changes. He is very good at internal monologues from characters tortured by deep questions about the morality of their actions and about their own nature.

He should probably not try to write romance. Or, possibly, dialogue. Petra jumps into this book completely obsessed with having Bean's babies. And no, that is not a euphemism for having sex with him. She doesn't seem to care about the sex, or about being in a romantic relationship with him, and she doesn't express many romantic feelings toward him. She is absolutely taken over with this drive to bear Bean's children. I didn't find any of the romance between the characters very believable, and when Bean occasionally comes out with a sexy comment it just sounds ridiculous. This book, like many of Card's, also suffers from his elevated tone, which works great for Ender's anguished internal dialogues but sounds extremely stilted when it's normal people talking in a hotel room.

Card's own moral views started imposing themselves on his characters in unnatural ways in the book, as well. This book features a gay character who, after openly explaining that he was attracted to men, not women, begins spouting stuff straight out of the mouths of anti-gay campaigners: namely, that what gives life meaning is to join with someone of the other gender and leave behind a family with them. And he specifically says that it's the terrifying and exciting Otherness of the person of the other gender that is an important part of it. This is very much a "straight" view of romance, and to have it coming from a gay character's mouth was unbelievable--and a blatant attempt on Card's part to preach his own views. I recognize that Card has his own opinions and that they are necessarily going to color his writing--this is the case with every writer. But running such blatantly anti-gay sentiments through the mouth of a gay character was going too far.
Profile Image for Matija.
263 reviews1 follower
September 24, 2013
The magical battle school children and Achilles are at it again. The character of Achilles has jumped the shark several books ago and is even more ridiculous in Shadow Puppets, succeeding in basically kidnapping the world government for himself, despite the fact that he has no support left anywhere in the world.

The geopolitical stuff with the war in Indochina is fairly interesting (now the Muslim coalition is entering the fray), as are Peter Wiggin's attempts to reclaim the Hegemony for himself. However, that is about all that is worth it in this book.

The rest Card dedicates mostly to espousing the Mormon point of view on life. Mainly, to marry and have as many children as possible is the ultimate achievement of any human being and apparently even gay scientists who have been single all their lives eventually come to this realization. As does everyone else who is a good guy in this series. Also, non-implanted, possibly unfertilized eggs in a tube are children, in case you didn't know.

Since this is the case, battleschoolers Bean and Petra are of course compelled to make some babies, like good little Mormons. Despite the fact that they are two of the most brilliant minds left on Earth, they go about it in such an unbelievably incompetent way that the embryos are kidnapped from under their nose in a completely transparent heist. You have exactly one guess who is responsible for this.

It seems to me that with every book Card gives up a little on making the series a well-rounded science fiction story and focuses a bit more on preaching his religious believes. At this rate two books down the line we will probably have a transcription of the Book of Mormon.
Profile Image for Cecily.
270 reviews29 followers
March 13, 2015
I reread this one almost in one sitting after a good 10 year gap. Funny enough, I remembered a LOT of this book, which I can't say about most books really. There are some really memorable moments that stick with you involving Peter, his parents, and (of course) our main characters.

I think the big problem I have with this book is just how violently the focus shifts from military action to sloppy, sentimental romance. Sure, I love the sloppy stuff as much as the next person, but it's Bean that seems to change on a dime. I know Card tried to ease us into it with some well-placed trauma and a LOT of inner monologue (oh gosh, so much) but it still always feels a bit abrupt and out of character. HOWEVER, who am I to say that someone like Bean who gets the news about his own future like he does (at the end of the previous book) wouldn't take such an about face on his views and life course?

Petra's violent change also bothered me. In Shadow of the Hegemon, Achilles taunts her by reminding her that they had to test her to see if she was a boy just because she tested so aggressive. And honestly, in Shadow of the Hegemon, I can still see a glimpse of the similar girl that we've known throughout Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow. But by the time we get to this book, she seems to be much more docile, sweet, emotional, and....girly. And there's nothing wrong with girly, mind you. I just felt like the character shift was too sudden to be believable. It almost feels as if Bean and Petra are two different people in this novel (and in the final, upcoming novel, Shadow of the Giant). Sure, their story is still compelling, but it's a little bizarre.

Part of my issue stems from the fact that, technically, they are not old enough to be doing, ahem, the things they're doing in these books. Petra, maybe. But I did the math and a GENEROUS estimate puts Bean at about 14 in this book. GENEROUS. Ok, so yeah, I guess he can do what he does and Petra's probably closer to 18-19 (GENEROUS) but it just doesn't feel like enough time has passed, especially since they made such a big deal about Bean's age (or lack thereof) in Ender's Shadow. (I calculated that he MIGHT have been 10 at the end of that book, but probably more like 9-ish and then someone mentions that it's been 3 years since the battle, so that lands him at 13 and maybe another year somewhere in there?) I suppose it doesn't matter in the long run, but it feels like Card REALLY wanted to write about the schmoopy stuff and kind of smashed that into the plan for these characters. AGain, not that I don't like it, it just feels a little sudden, out of character, and...weird.

That said, thank heavens that one important, obnoxious plot thread was resolved by the end of this book. I probably would have thrown it out the window the first time I read it had that not been the case.
Profile Image for Nick Dasher.
19 reviews19 followers
November 21, 2015
As with the Ender series, the third entry in the Shadow series is not quite as good as the first few. It is still a lot of fun though if you're willing to look past a few classic OSC-face-palm moments. The occasional bouts of slight misogyny or vague homophobia completely ruin OSC's books for some, and that's a real shame because, in my opinion, the moments of brilliance far outweigh the gaffes. There is a lot to love about this book.

I firmly believe that this man has a good heart and means no wrong, but he is from a different era and draws from a lineage of authors who were far more blatant in their misogyny. The fact is that he creates some outstanding female characters and had the bravery to include gay characters and some reflections on motherhood, despite knowing full well that it would safer and more politically correct to steer well clear. He may have missed the mark just slightly in the eyes of some of his readers, but his willingness to discuss controversial topics is good for a genre that at times seems exhausted, scared, and a bit too careful.
Profile Image for Zachary Flessert.
175 reviews3 followers
January 16, 2015
Fundamentally, I don't think I can understand Orson Scott Card. Even if Bean is able to get into Achille's head, I don't get why Card is writing such awful novels. He should have ended it all after Children of the Mind (which should have been annexed into Xenocide). Ender's Shadow may lie as the only exception.

The book is shallow, shamelessly upholds and proselytizes Christian values but you don't think about it because Card is using an atheist character to do it. While Speaker and Xenocide dealt with interesting science and went fairly deep philosophically (considering the type of book and market they had), this was just a flop. A mere jog to keep the Enderverse alive.

The dialogue is flat. The whole banter between Peter and his parents is so corny. The whispering between Bean and Petra induces high rpm eye rolling.

I'm done with the Enderverse. I may bookshelf Game, Speaker, Xeno, and Shadow for read-overs.

Moving on!
345 reviews3 followers
March 29, 2023
After milking a great series for several books, the more this progresses the more embarrassing it becomes. What is this book even for?! There is no sci-fi. There is no tension. We already know the characters, and their development jumps in leaps and bounds, with huge departures from their past portrayals. The story doesn't make me care enough. It feels more like a prequel to a book where something really interesting happens to the embryos (leaving it consciously vague to avoid spoliers). Moreover, this prequel has content that might be enough for a novella, but somehow it got blown out of proportion with way too much filler.
It was OK to read, but only due to the inertia of the series as a whole. I felt like the author was out to make some more money, vs create a memorable book.
Profile Image for Seamus Quigley.
56 reviews1 follower
July 2, 2013
Well, what a disappointment this book turned out to be.

A bit more context; after reading Ender’s Game I was blown away and eager for more. Speaker for the Dead and it’s sequels were disappointing. They weren’t bad, they were just very different in tone to Ender’s Game. Finding the Shadow series proved to be a boon. Much closer in tone and time, Ender’s Shadow and Shadow of the Hegemon proved to be the sequels I was looking for.

Then this book happened.

The geopolitics and strategy that so gripped me was relegated to the back seat, displaced by the story of two young people deciding whether or not to have a baby. How fascinating.

Consider the creation of this baby, or Bean’s whole relationship for that matter. It’s quite clear that he has gone through puberty, even though the first two books established that he never would; that he would die a giant child.

Then, of course, there are Orson Scott Card’s personal politics. I’ve never really picked up on them in his writing before, but in this book they come through loud and clear. There’s a lot of talk about men, women, babies, and “the way things are meant to be." Not only are OSC’s personal politics repugnant, they’re now also immersion breaking.

In summary, OSC breaks canon so he can tell us a story we’re not interested in and proselytise a message no decent human being wants to hear.

Taken from http://seamusquigley.tumblr.com/post/...
Profile Image for René.
9 reviews
April 25, 2014
I really wanted to finish this one but honestly I can't.

Enders Game was a great read.
Enders Shadow for me was even better with a completely different viewpoint on essentially the same backstory. Shadow of the Hegemon picked up after the Formic Wars and - while being completely earthbound - still managed to keep me engaged. All about Bean in hiding, trying to rescue his former Battleschool comrades form insane Achilles.

All good and fine but Shadow Puppets killed it for me after seven chapters. Up to this point the whole story is just Bean trying to kill Achilles, Peter trying to understand and exploit Achilles (and, failing miserably, probably kill later), Peters mother trying to kill Achilles to save Peter and Achilles - true to himself - trying to basically kill anyone else while weaving his net to create his new world.

The whole story got to a grinding halt..
It's just Achilles, Achilles, Achilles - we'll except Petra who turned from smart Battleschooler to must-make-babies-with-bean freak.

Maybe I'll give this another try but not in the near future.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Austin Wright.
1,187 reviews21 followers
March 24, 2016
I'm going through the 10 novels in the Enderverse, and this one is my 8th (Shadow of the Giant, and Shadows in Flight are the last two). I really liked the previous 7 books, but this book was just a dud.

We get it, Card. You think a sperm and egg are a full human being. I didn't really need a Muslim character discussing this at length...then an Othodox Christian discussing this at length...then the Catholic Church's position agreeing with this....then somehow Bean the Atheist jumps on the pro-life bandwagon...

...more than 50% of this book centers around fertilized eggs and their absolute sanctity of life...

...just came off as a drag, despite a conclusive and interesting ending.
Profile Image for Katie.
166 reviews36 followers
April 7, 2007
Third in the Shadow series, this book follows Bean and other characters from Ender's Game / Ender's Shadow, including Ender's brother Peter, and looks at events that occured on Earth after Ender went off into space.

The importance of Ender is repeatedly stressed, and gets more and more awkward throughout the Shadow series because Ender is, well, gone. This and the other Shadow books are more geopolitical, and therefore boring (to me - personal preference). I've just never been a current events type of gal. But if you like that kind of thing, and you want some more great Card writing, along with sweet political machinations and intrigue, then you'll enjoy this.
98 reviews43 followers
November 22, 2014
a complete disappointment. witness the demise of a great science fiction premise to a rambling religious tome.
Profile Image for Haley.
Author 2 books65 followers
April 30, 2020
I have so many criticisms about where Card took the characters of this book, that I genuinely don't know where to begin. The more I read, the more this seemed like an entirely new cast of people who played no part in the events of the previous two Shadow books, and, especially after enjoying the other two books so much, I found it exhausting.

First, we come to a bunch of internal monologues from Petra that we've heard before about how she came to love Bean, which I could accept if A) they weren't so repetitive, and B) they bore any resemblance to her actual voice, which up until this point was survivalist and cocky and sarcastic and tough. But no. She's gone from being the best sharpshooter in the game, so able to overcome any situation that she managed to beat up Achilles and then convince him that he loved her, to a lovestruck preteen so obsessed with the idea of popping out babies that she'll lie to the boy she loves about his greatest (and completely rational) fear just so she can get pregnant.

And then there's Anton, who give a speech pages long about how the only way to be worth anything to the world, and the only way for life to have any meaning at all, no matter what else you think you want, is to get ensnared in a heterosexual marriage and have some kids. He punctuates this point, of course, by explaining how he's asexual or gay and either way completely and utterly not attracted to women, but that he understands the meaning of life now, so he, too, will be getting married to a woman and forcing himself to sleep with her so that he, too, can finally be part of the Web of Life. Because why else exist, right?

And then we have Bean, who, despite being the most brilliant mind the world has ever seen, is taken in completely by the above speech and agrees to marry Petra and father her children, even though he's wracked by fears of dying young from his genetic disorder and lives in terror of passing that same horrible anomaly onto offspring. And then, this boy who up to this point has been a thoughtful, arrogant, sarcastic, agnostic military mind, is suddenly so in love with the fertilized embryos he and his wife and his enemy create in a lab that when they're stolen he finally realizes that Christianity had it right all along and embryos are exactly the same as human babies, and forgets all about his fears of their genetic mutations. So yay pro-life...

And then we have Peter, arguably the most compelling storyline in this particular book, who's gone from being way too smart, completely selfish, sadistic, and overreaching, to suddenly just a little petulant teenage boy with some brilliance, but not enough to ever begin to consider understanding that he got some of that brilliance from his really smart parents. No matter how many times they literally save his life and his career by their own quick thinking, he's always mad that they're so dumb. Not a hint of his previous ruthless sadism to be seen.

AND THEN we have Achilles. Or do we? Because, despite being the villain of this entire series, brilliant enough to bring empires to their knees in previous books, cruel enough to use and discard people, and delusional enough to think he can keep doing it, not only does he barely get any page time in this book, there's almost nothing from his point of view—the only point of view I actually wanted to hear—and then when we finally do see him, it's only to watch his final plan crumple and to see him die begging for his life. An entirely disappointing end to what was once a worthwhile bad guy.

And there's still one book left.

So, while I suppose I appreciated the military cunning in this book, I loved the return of Alai, I absolutely adore Theresa Wiggin and wish she'd get her own series, and am always pleased to see just a few nods back to Ender’s Game, I mourn the death of so much character development. This does not read like a book published in 2002.

Off to skim Shadow of the Giant...
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