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The Shadow Series #2

Shadow of the Hegemon

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The War is over, won by Ender Wiggin and his team of brilliant child-warriors. The enemy is destroyed, the human race is saved. Ender himself refuses to return to the planet, but his crew has gone home to their families, scattered across the globe. The battle school is no more.

But with the external threat gone, the Earth has become a battlefield once more. The children of the Battle School are more than heroes; they are potential weapons that can bring power to the countries that control them. One by one, all of Ender's Dragon Army are kidnapped. Only Bean escapes; and he turns for help to Ender's brother Peter.

Peter Wiggin, Ender's older brother, has already been manipulating the politics of Earth from behind the scenes. With Bean's help, he will eventually rule the world.

451 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published December 10, 2000

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About the author

Orson Scott Card

836 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 - 30 of 1,765 reviews
Profile Image for Stephen.
1,516 reviews11k followers
May 8, 2011
5.0 stars. Sometimes love is not a strong enough word so I am going to borrow from Woody Allen, "I LURVE THIS BOOK!!! This is my second favorite book in both Ender series (behind only Speaker for the Dead). In fact, like Speaker for the Dead, I thought this book significantly surpassed its predecessor, Ender's Shadow which I loved by the way.
This story takes place in the latter half of the 22nd century (so my poster above is for the 2208 elections), soon after the end of the Formic (aka Bugger) War when all of the gifted children of the Battle School that fought under Ender have returned to Earth. Upon their return, these gifted warriors all become instant national treasures in the eyes of their respective countries who want to use their vast expertise in strategy and tactics to assist them in the global war that they know is coming. It seems once the threat to humanity has been eliminated, people are going back to thinking of their own petty dreams of power...typical.

Ender, whose very presence on Earth was seen as too much of a destabilizing force, has agreed to be sent into exile to avoid a global fight over the use of his abilities. Personally, I think he should have shown up with his mates and kicked the idiots in power in their collective, narrow-minded asses, but that's just me.

Anyway, soon after their return, the former members of Ender's Army or “jeesh” are kidnapped and an attempt is made upon Bean's life. I won't give away any spoilers, but from this point forward the plot unfolds as a massive, complicated version of the board game "Risk" with moves, countermoves, alliances, betrayals and some absolutely stunning battle maneuvers with the end prize for all of this being global domination.

The scope of this book is amazing, but the best part about it is Card's writing and his attention to detail. Especially impressive is the dialogue between the various gifted characters (most notably Bean and Peter Wiggins) and how authentic it sounds. This certainly belongs among the elite installments of the Ender series and I give it my HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!!!

Nominee: Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.
Profile Image for Nicholas Karpuk.
Author 4 books64 followers
February 23, 2009
I'm tired of you Orson Scott Card.

Ender's Game was fun. Ender's Shadow was a similar kind of fun in the same setting. I had hoped Shadow of the Hegemon would follow the nifty character of Bean back to Earth.

It does.... sort of.

Have you ever met one of those nerds who owns multiple editions of Risk? Who had complete DVD series spanning half a wall that's entirely about World War 2? Who owns board games relating to a single historical battle? That's how Card seems to roll these days.

This book scrapped the idea of character development entirely. We don't learn much about these characters we didn't already know. Card even acknowledges that the story is essentially RISK set in a near future.

I don't like RISK, I'm not interested in strategy. I enjoyed the earlier Ender books because I like the pacing and the characters. None of that is left here. We get a book where India feels like Thailand feels like North Carolina. He seems to preoccupied to bother with atmosphere or storytelling. None of the characterization or physical detail got through in this volume.

Maybe Card should stick to alien worlds and invented environments? Most of the last two books I read took place in a fictional battle school in space. Perhaps I should double back and read "Speakers of the Dead" instead of pursuing my current path.

The trouble is that Card appears to have become a bit of an ass in his old age. There's some really obnoxious political editorializing that goes off the rails in a few instances. I might not mind this as much in a political thriller, but this story is set 200 years in the future. The fact that his opinions are rather toxic and hostile does not make those moments go down any better.

Card has misread his audience. He assumed we all care as much about military history, strategy, and tactics as he does. The shift in priorities made this volume drag.

"Ender's Game" was a fast paced work of economic prose and it's sad to see how bloated and self-absorbed his style has become 15 years later. I'll probably stick to the stuff he wrote in the Reagan era.
Profile Image for seak.
429 reviews473 followers
November 16, 2011
I enjoyed Shadow of the Hegemon but not nearly as much as Ender's Shadow, the first in the Shadow series.

I don't know, and I had this same problem after finishing Speaker for the Dead (Book 2 in the main Ender series), but I just feel like this series is getting beat to death. I'm not the only one right? As good as these sequels are, I still think Ender's Game (with possible addition of Ender's Shadow) should have been left that way, on its own, no sequels. I know, now I'm beating a dead horse.

I still have to admit this is a good book. It's well done as always, and Bean is a great character. In Shadow of the Hegemon, we learn more about Petra Arkanian and Peter Wiggin and guess who's back, Achilles (pronounced in the French way - Asheel).

I know Achilles has only been the "bad guy" for two books, but I was already getting tired of him to be honest. His motivations for his evil are explained, but I'm tired of it and ready to move on to another threat.

Now that the alien threat is over, earth once again turns to its old ways - countries are back at each other and the best military minds in the world, the battleschool kids, are the prime currency.

Other than great plotting and highly believable characters, Hegemon delves into some deep topics from time to time that I found quite interesting to ponder; notions such as, What is living without children? and, What does it really mean to live? Card makes some good arguments about our duty to the future.

One last thing regarding the audiobook - it's extremely well done, if you're into that sort of thing. The typical voice actors come back (like Stefan Rudnicki and Scott Brick) for another Ender installment and they're superb as always.

Why Read the Enders Shadow Series?

So far it's been a great series, on the same level as the original series (at least as much as I've read - to Speaker). The characters are extremely well drawn and easy to care about especially since they're so intelligent - you just feel smarter yourself. I'm looking forward to Shadow Puppets.

4 out of 5 Stars
Profile Image for K.D. Absolutely.
1,820 reviews
October 7, 2011
This is my second book by Orson Scott Card (born 1951) and he is still to disappoint. I think he is a born-storyteller as I haven’t met anyone like him who wrote a book Ender’s Game in 1985 and after 25 years, it is now a full length series branching into several two excellent sagas, i.e., The Ender’s Saga (7 books, 9 short stories) and The Shadow Saga (4 books published called Bean Quartet, 2 forthcoming). So 11 books so far with related 9 short stories is something that I have not seen yet done successfully and artfully by any authors whose works I’ve so far encountered.

After the Formic Wars, Ender Wiggins has to remain on self-exile in another planet as nations are fighting to get hold of him for their selfish interest. However, his 10 equally-brilliant classmates at Battle School have to go back to Earth. Among these is Bean, his toon leader in Dragon Army and at the Command School and Petra who was the commander in the Phoenix Army and toon leader at the Command School. The story is practically about the struggle for world dominance after the Bugger War, in which the Battle School children, as well as Ender’s brother, Peter Wiggins a.k.a., Locke are involved. With Bean as this novel’s protagonist, obviously, since this is part of the Bean Quartet, he needs an equally-strong antagonist. Enters Achilles who Bean imprisoned in the previous book, Ender’s Shadow so Achilles stages a revenge here starting with the imprisonment of the remaining classmates of Ender. Afterwards, he plots to kills Bean and his family. In a move to defend himself, Bean aligns himself with Sister Carlotta and later in the story with Battle School graduate from Thailand, Suriyawong. On the other hand, Achilles found an ally with the forces of Virlomi, also a Battle School graduate from India.

I have to stop here because if I tell you how they fought, I should already click the spoiler alert and since this is a sci-fi/fantasy, telling you everything is not right. Suffice it to say that this is a good sequel to the Ender’s Shadow and compared to Ender in Exile, I liked the fact that the scope has broadened to other countries. It shows Orson Scott Card’s awareness on world politics and the dynamics of the struggles of different powerful countries. However, his being a Mormon preacher (thanks, Wikipedia) also shows with the heart-tugging dialogues. I particularly liked the one between Bean, an orphan like Achilles, and Ender’s mother.
Bean: “I do not understand why you are happy being a mother when they did not give you anything but pain? Ender is in exile. You lost Valentine there too. And Peter has not give you anything but grief…”
Ender’s Mother: ”The joy of being a mother is in grieving. At least I have them. How about you, who do you have?”
I may be an old man but I am not ashamed to admit that I still feel some thrill in reading this book. However, what really sticks to me are these kinds of line. These lines that pinch my heart.

I can wait to read more and more Orson Scott Card’s books. Maybe I should read Ender’s Game next. The one that starts all of these.
Profile Image for Maria Dobos.
108 reviews43 followers
March 28, 2017
Plasată după încheierea luptei dintre omenire și "furnici", acțiunea din Umbra Hegemonului urmărește luptele și intrigile politice ce sfâșie Pământul după desființarea Școlii de luptă. Odată ajunși pe Pământ, foștii membrii ai armatei lui Ender sunt răpiți și folosiți pentru a planifica strategia militară a celor ce visează să conducă lumea. Reușind să evite mai multe tentative de asasinare, Bean se desparte de familia sa și pornește în căutarea Petrei, fosta lui colegă din armata lui Ender.

Deși stilul lui Orson Scott Card rămâne la fel de captivant, se simte o detașare care te îndepărtează de personaje, accentul căzând de aceasta dată pe evoluția politică globală și implicațiile pe care le are fiecare alegere, fiecare acțiune. Strategii militare, planuri de rezervă, rezerve ale rezervelor, alianțe, trădări... recunosc că aș fi avut nevoie de câteva cursuri de istorie pentru a înțelege complet motivația din spatele mentalității unor civilizații...

Discuțiile dintre sora Carlotta și Bean mi s-au părut delicioase; mi-ar fi plăcut să aflu mai multe despre Peter Wiggin, portretul lui din Jocul lui Ender îmi lăsase un gust amar. Chiar dacă nu aș încadra-o neapărat în tiparul science fiction, Orson Scott Card reușește să creeze o poveste complexă și fascinantă, cel puțin pentru mine... probabil asta e una dintre cărțile care fie te fascinează, fie te plictisesc de moarte...

Ce amuzant, totuşi! Să crezi că un om l-ar putea cunoaște cu adevărat pe altul. Te poţi obişnui cu celălalt atât de mult încât să poţi rosti cuvintele în acelaşi timp cu el, dar nu vei şti niciodată de ce celălalt spune ceea ce spune sau face ceea ce face, pentru că nici măcar el nu ştie. Nimeni nu înţelege pe nimeni.

Pentru că oamenii sunt doar nişte maşini, Petra ştia foarte bine asta, maşini care fac ceea ce vrei tu dacă ştii pe ce butoane să apeşi. Şi oricât de complecşi ar putea părea oamenii, e suficient să-i deconectezi de la reţeaua formată din ceilalţi oameni care le conturează personalitatea, de la comunităţile care le formează identitatea, şi ei vor fi reduşi la acest set de butoane. Nu contează că se opun din răsputeri sau că ştiu prea bine că sunt manipulaţi, în cele din urmă, dacă ai răbdare, poţi să-i faci să cânte ca un pian, cu fiecare notă exact acolo unde o aştepţi. Chiar şi pe mine, gândi Petra.
Profile Image for Eric.
65 reviews78 followers
December 7, 2008
I didn't enjoy this one as much as Ender's Game or Ender's Shadow. As in those two, the plot and action were just backdrop. The book was really about people deducing what other people were thinking. In the previous books, this was used for character development and I enjoyed it. In this one, it seemed like the author used it more as a gimmick. Rather than use it as a tool to accomplish something else, he just trotted it out to do tricks over and over. It accounted for most of the book and got old.

The whole book was one genius child or another making impossible guesses about what another genius child was doing and why. Knowing almost nothing about what another genius child was doing somewhere else in the world, one genius child would explain to some nearby genius child what this other child's options were, why he would choose Option C and not B as it appeared, what that would lead to, etc etc etc. And then they'd go pull off some impossible feat while the slackjawed adults would stand around and take orders.

It was too much and makes me want to give up on this particular strand of the Enderverse. I am interested in knowing what happens to Bean eventually given his physical condition, but am not sure I want to wade through the next two books to find out. And the fate of the nations of Earth in this series seems like unimportant subject matter now that the aliens have been beaten. Wars, politics, realignment, snooooze. Maybe I'll hop over to the Ender Quartet and try that line out.

Card spent a little time on Bean trying to come to grips with his genetically-modified origin, which could have been a nice idea to focus on and develop, but not a whole lot. I found I wasn't interested in his relationship with Petra. I was also sick of Achilles by this point. Omniscient sicko bad guy, we get it. Somebody kill him already!
Profile Image for Kim M.
213 reviews1,377 followers
February 22, 2018
Shadow of the Hegemon follows the brilliant battle school children from the exciting space-centered, alien-fighting novel Ender's Game into a new political thriller.

Full disclaimer: In general, I do not like thrillers and I don't like heavy politics in books. However, since I already know and care about the battle school kids, I should have liked this book more. The book starts out with the kidnapping of all of Ender's friends except for Bean, who is instead nearly killed when his vacation home is blown up. It follows Petra who is a prisoner, Bean who is trying to help her from the outside, and Peter Wiggin, whose "Locke" personality and identity as Ender's brother also gets him involved.

The beginning of the book was intriguing. I very much enjoyed the encoded messages/sneaky covert communications between all parties. I thought that Bean and Petra had decent personalities and I really liked Peter. However, there were several aspects of this book that really drove me crazy:

(1) The kids know everything.

Okay, okay, it's a book about genius kids, maybe I should be able to suspend my disbelief and say that, sure, the battle school kids are just brilliant and the adults on earth are fools to disregard them. However, the knowledge of these kids goes beyond intelligence and into the realm of the supernatural. Not only can these kids come up with brilliant military strategies and analyze people to predict possible behaviors/plans of action, but they are always right about it. There's always a right answer, the kids always know the right answer, and they always know that their answer is the right answer. Seriously. Like, Bean's a fortune teller.

(2) The kids are obsessed with their brilliance.

Look, I get it. You're smart. Like, really smart. The rest of us mere mortals should defer to you to do all the thinking. But yeah... referring to regular people as "stupid" and as "idiots" all the time is a little much? I mean, just because we don't have ESP doesn't mean we're complete and utter fools.

(3) There is always a "right answer."

If only the world were as clear as it is in this book. All the issues have actual "right answers," and the smart battle school kids all know what that right answer is. Military campaign strategy? There's a right answer. Political maneuvering strategy? There's a right answer. Leadership strategy? There's a right answer. How to manipulate a stupid human into feeling/doing/thinking what you want them to? There's a right answer. Life, the universe, and everything? There's a right answer. Forget that people aren't 100% predictable and that there are as many possibilities as there are people to think of them--because there are no options, just right answers and wrong answers.

(4) I feel like I'm being preached to.

Card has strong opinions about life, morality, and philosophy, and he takes every opportunity in all of his books to give us a "Card Sermon." I've noticed this before, but this book is the first time that it has really bothered me. I mean, it's great for him to have strong opinions about life, and it's great to put that into his literature. But when he starts having characters state his opinions as universal truths I have to roll my eyes. (Remember how there are always right answers and the kids know everything? Well sometimes the right answers are Card-losophies and the all-knowing kids who are obsessed with their own brilliance can't help but share what they "know.")

The thing is, as annoyed as this book made me, I feel like it still deserves more than 2 stars. It wasn't horrible, after all. It was pretty decent. Peter is a fascinating character and the secret messages were awesome. I'm not a huge fan of Achilles as a villain, and kids understanding and manipulating world politics is a little much, but overall, it was entertaining.
2 reviews
July 28, 2012
I hope I can finish this book. I liked the Ender quartet and Ender's Shadow too much not to try. Yet it is difficult to actually believe the same person wrote Shadow of the Hegemon and the others. Ender’s Game is a fun fast paced book of adventure while the other three books in the Ender quartet borderline on genius. The formulations of issues of xenophobia are uncanny in SFTD, Xenocide, COTM and integration of Christian beliefs into the mix yield an unparallel argument for empathy being central in Christianity and for human evolution as a whole. In those books Orson Scott Card is a visionary of nearly prophetic magnitude. Then, Ender's Shadow reverts back to the fun, fast-pasted way the first book in the series, Ender's game, was. This is nothing to sneer at but nothing extraordinary either when compared to the depiction of Ender’s adult years. Thus you can’t imagine my current disappointment with this volume. Written with a smug, know-it-all voice and a thinly veiled pro American attitude the book reeks of xenophobia and prejudice. This book is predictable from the first scene. There’s simply nothing cool about it like Ender’s Game or Ender’s Shadow. Worse, there's no deep understanding of motive of the characters as in SFTD, Xenocide, COTM nor the balance of the villain-less environment where even crazy religious fanatics like Qing-Jao are presented in a kind, likable light. For another writer this book would be a subpar effort but for Mr. Card this is a failure of grandiose proportions and may indicate a radical change in the author’s mindset. Too bad... really.
Profile Image for Ivana Books Are Magic.
523 reviews190 followers
October 6, 2020
Shadow of The Hegemon is the second novel in the Shadow Series but my first book by this author. I picked it up from the library a while ago. I figured out that it didn't matter that I missed the first novel and that it won't be hard to follow the plot. It wasn't, but I ended up not enjoying the novel anyway. I don't think I will continue with this series. Maybe Shadow of the Hegemon is not the strongest book in the series, but from I read I doubt I would immensely enjoy any of it.

I found it hard to relate to characters that are supposed to be teens and kids (brilliant, but still kids) because they sounded too much like adults most of the time. They did sound and behave like kids occasionally but not very often. Another thing that I didn't like was the cheesy writing. Petra lines are as cheesy as the cheesiest James Bond and action film blockbuster lines. Surely, a brilliant person like her could come up with something better. There were a lot of eye rollers in this one. I remember one of the kid character commenting how he will never fill out a uniform like some soldier but then going on how he is useful in his own ways. Eye roll.

There was a lot of repetition of ideas, especially in dialogues. For a while, I got my hopes up when the nun and Bean started discussing some ideas, but it amounted to nothing. Everything is so cliché in this book: the all powerful villain, the good guys, the kickass girl and so on. There is one line that says that Petra had so much testosterones the doctors didn't believe she is a girl. We are told that expecting to believe that she is a kick ass kind of girl. In fact, high levels of testosterones in young women can be due to various health problems and have nothing to do with one personality. Being a tomboy doesn't get you high on testosterone. I just found that line so off putting. I mean, does she have to be boyish in order to be a hero?

There were some good ideas in this book, but ultimately I didn't dig it. The concept is alright, but the book itself seems to be lacking in many ways. What can I say? This kind of science fiction doesn't appeal to me. This book reminds me of spy kids' genre and James Bond-like novels and that's just not my cup of tea. Besides, I'm not a fan of books targeted at young adults and kids that make them think the whole world is out to get them. Surely that is not the case? To conclude, this book was alright, had some interesting ideas and subplots, but for most part it lacks in the quality of its writing.
Profile Image for Rollie.
86 reviews20 followers
February 19, 2011
God! I‘d been having an Orson Scott Card’s books marathon these last few weeks. So far, since there is nothing left of his books in my hand that I haven’t read yet, I’ll have to take a pause reading his books and resume till I find his other books then—especially the sequels of this book.

After checking the rating details of this book on Goodreads, I found out that I belong to those people who are twenty-two percent addicted at this. Unfortunately, since before reading a book, I always refer the rating detail before I read a book, this turned out a not-so-good logic to me. For this mean I shouldn't have rely my preference of picking a book at the rating detail nor should I be persuaded by the negative reviews of other readers.

After the successful battle of defeating the buggers, Ender’s Jeesh has been brought back to earth—to be with their respective families—except for Ender Wiggin who never has had the chance to be with his own family because his been exiled by Locke, who’s Peter Wiggin, his brother, behind the curtain. Contrary to what his brother has done to Ender, Peter Wiggin has a greater reason for him to do that, for he has foreseen what is coming to the lives of heroes who killed the buggers and sent down to Earth to join their family. Now, the beginning of what he saw is coming. The Ender’s Jeesh has been kidnapped, and
soon be doomed.

Bean has been in a trip with his family. After hearing the kidnapped of Petra Arkanian, he knows that the rest of Ender’s Jeesh will join her. For he knows and has foreseen it also what has to come, one reason could because on the current situation the most influential people are the heroes of the Earth. Because of Bean’s advance thinking, he has escaped from the people who want to kill him instead of kidnapping him. Now, the question that floats over the situation are: what nation is behind the kidnapping: Could it be the nation that offers to arbitrate and thinks they should rule the world, or those aggressive nations that think they have grievance, and also thinks they’re undervalued—belligerent and snappish?

For Bean, there is only one clue that serves right to conclude who’s the person behind it. Why would someone kill him instead of kidnapping him, like others? Unless, the person behind it is the person who hunts Bean since then—Achilles.

Again, Card impressed me with this book. I thought I could have thrown this away like his other book, Empire, but I was stunned at how my suspicion of inconsistency subsided. His latest characterization is fully equipped and tough. The development of the characters has obviously shown in this book, likewise the evolvement of the circumstances and emotion.

Card is at his best when Bean is at his peak. I deeply admire how Card created Bean and his personality—unruly, straightforward, brave, certain, genius, honest and sometimes innocent. I’m sure this is why I’ve fallen myself on this series. Bean becomes matured here and yet, he’s still the unbeatbale genius with the innocent looks I admire. His analogy of circumstances is quite exceptional. His weakness may be his physical features but his attitude and intellect make up for it. Add the innocence of his feelings and you can have the summation of a perfect hero.

I liked how Card expanded the personality of Petra Arkanian through giving her more exposure in this book. Her character as if hadn’t been valued well enough in Ender’s Shadow and Ender’s Game. But her existence here suggests how she’ll play the rest of the books of Shadow Series.

This book is majorly rotating on politics issue. But dare me, this book is different from other political books I’ve read and hated. I did find this book very much interesting in any form—politics, heroism and brain. The core of this book is how the kids managed to rule the world instead of grown-ups. The heroes have faced a harder problem here where they have to battle a war in a different field. It’s still admirable how the nations heed the plan to defeat another nation from the children who haven’t gotten their teenage years yet, except for Peter who’s thirteen.

In other way, I believe that those who hated this book are just being cynical for having Bean as the main character of this book instead of Ender. However, there are things I considered doing before I read and while reading this book. I had to lessen my interest due to some negative reviews. I had to be patient in order to catch up what they were talking about, and rereading the previous page is part of it. I had to search for political terms for me to understand the situation, otherwise I’d be lost. Lastly, I had to get into the characters and situation for me to never get bored. Overall, I did get into the story.

This may not be as page-turner as the Ender’s Shadow, but this is as interesting as its best. The complexity of the story aspect is not hindrance for a reader to like this book, unless since from the beginning he/she didn’t like this book. And yeah, that reason will really make sense even if you look at the rating details (again sorry, I shouldn’t have suggested that but it’s the only fact that I hold to convince you.) only one percent of readers dislike this book and some them are reasoned out the difference of Bean and Ender. The complexity of the aspects thus expands the learning of a reader on tactics and strategy—like playing chess. This book is also worth page-turning if you want to learn the histories of war. Another thing that makes this not-a-boring book I’ve read this year because of the witty shots of the characters.

This book is another reason for me to read the rest books of Card. And yes, rationally, it deserves my twinkling five stars. Watch out Card, for here I am to hunt down the rest of your best books.
Profile Image for Flannery.
326 reviews
December 27, 2010
Honestly, if I hadn't read the third book in this series out of order and enjoyed it, I don't know that I would've continued the Shadow series. There were just so many things about this audiobook (and book) that annoyed me. Now, I know that a lot of OSC's religious views (and misogyny) come out in his books but this is the first one that has really annoyed me. A lot of his characters always "seem to know what is best" and it is frustrating to listen to. In addition, this particular audiobook is poorly done. Despite being narrated by OSC's usual cast, one character's name is repeatedly pronounced incorrectly and, though the freaking book is called Shadow of the Hegemon, one narrator must've mispronounced hegemon whilst recording because they've alternated between dubbing a new voice over for the word or sentence, changing the speed of the recording over the word so it sounds like you have a scratch on the CD, or leaving it. Totally unprofessional. Isn't there someone who is in charge of production for audiobooks? (that is rhetorical, as I know there is:-))

In terms of the plot, this book goes far beyond my allowable amount of military strategics. Occasionally I was interested but most of the time I was zoning out. The characters of Ender, Valentine, and Bean can usually anchor me back into an Enderverse story but the first two are mostly absent from the Shadow series and Bean was not his usual self in this book (read: he was super annoying) and none of the other characters really kept me interested. Petra and Achilles' storyline was probably the most interesting and their interaction, while important, was not a large portion of the book.

As it stands, I think I'm going to jump over to the original series for a bit and try to come back to Shadow of the Giant a few months from now. Hopefully, he gets back on track there...
Profile Image for  ♥ Rebecca ♥.
1,354 reviews372 followers
September 27, 2018
This was fascinating! As I am sure I have said in reviews for previous additions to the Ender series, I love seeing how the characters minds work. They are all so genius. This addition was a particular treat because the earthly war was something not previously visited in this series. So far, two books had been set in Battle School, and three had been regarding the planet Lusitania and saving the native species, the Pequeninos. I was surprised to see the characters caught in this new and exciting situation and how they handled themselves. All their skills put to the test. And I was not disappointed with their performance.

But, further exploration of the character Achilles is what I found most interesting. I never would have expected the lame bully from the streets of Rotterdam in the beginning of Ender's Shadow would grow to be such a driving force in the next installment, let alone in the world of the book. He does not have my sympathy. He is not a tragic hero. He is not a bad guy who is only half bad so you let him hang around. He is an evil psychopath. But he somehow managed to be one of the most attractive fictional psychopaths I've heard of. I half wanted him to keep Petra, just to be able to have more scenes of them trying to figure each other out. But, I knew if he did she would soon be dead. His fatal flaw. I am glad his story was left open to more possibilities. Definitely my favourite of the Shadow series so far. I look forward to reading the next volume with great anticipation.
Profile Image for Rajish Maharaj.
140 reviews7 followers
May 18, 2022
This didnt really do it for me. I wasn't enthralled in the storyline. Seemed to be filled with so much dialogue and barely any action.i just began to skim through some the pages. It did have potential but felt like it fell short.

I will give it a 2 maybe 2.25.
Profile Image for Joshua Thompson.
810 reviews109 followers
April 18, 2022
A very good sequel to Ender's Shadow, although a much different book. Although this book may have lacked the thematic depth of its predecessor, the attention to detail of the military and political machinations was extremely well done. All while presenting a great deal of character depth and development, with a tremendous scope of world building. I was impressed with Card's remarkable knowledge of military history, especially his using parallels to past events to shape the action in the text. Shadow of the Hegemon was nearly perfectly plotted and was a compelling read from start to finish. 4.5/5
Profile Image for Duffy Pratt.
466 reviews133 followers
September 25, 2010
This book moved along at a pretty good clip. It was easy to read and kind of entertaining. I like Bean. So it was OK.

Except that it was really pretty terrible. All the Battle School kids are back on earth and they are basically shunted away as being "just" children. That means that all the kids who won the war for mankind's survival now have subordinate roles. And that's just fine.

But then there's Achilles. He got into Battle School, and was there for a couple of weeks. He got kicked out and sent to a mental hospital because he has this slight problem that he's a sociopathic serial killer. So naturally, first Russia and then India and then presumably China put him near the top of their power structure and allow him to get them into major wars and to negotiate critical non-aggression treaties. The adults thus all trust the proven sociopathic killer with no track record of competence, while they all seem to mistrust the Battle School vets?

Somehow, in his incredibly annoying afterward, Card seems to justify all this by the examples of other great men like Alexander and Napoleon. (I may have Card's position wrong. I couldn't bear to do anything but slightly skim this afterward. It read sort of like the end of War and Peace. Mercifully not as long, but also seemingly devoid of content. For me, all it showed is that perhaps Card is even more arrogant than his main characters.) But Alexander was the son of Philip of Macedon, and the student of Aristotle. There's a reason he was leading armies. Napoleon may be a better example, but he at least proved himself in some engagements. By contrast, Achilles sole claim to fame was that he was thrown out of Battle School and into a mental hospital.

Finally, this thing takes place at least 100 years in the future. There's space travel, communication faster than the speed of light, etc... It's supposed to be science fiction. But for all practical purposes, there's no science fiction in it at all. Here, I give Card a pass, because it's pretty clear that he's just not interested. And yet, I still have a problem with it. The Battle School environment in Ender's Game and in Ender's Shadow is pretty cool. But in terms of how things work, it's really hard to square that environment with the state of technology here on Earth, which is pretty much straight from the mid-nineties. And it's also troublesome because they do have instant communication, not restricted by the speed of light. Thus, if Ender could command the fleet in the fight against the Formics, then he and Valentine could also at least have some contact or input into the Earth's events. Instead, its just ignored.

Yeah, this book was OK, but I'm no longer excited to continue the series. Maybe someday.
Profile Image for Nick Dasher.
19 reviews19 followers
January 6, 2016
Not nearly as ambitious as Ender's Game or Speaker for the Dead, or even Ender's Shadow, but just as well done. There's nothing Earth-shatteringly poetic or profound, it's just good clean fun. And what fun it is, featuring political intrigue, nonstop action, and always intelligent, occasionally hilarious dialogue. Needless to say, I enjoyed this entry in the Ender series immensely, and found myself wishing that I had found it years ago. Thirteen-year-old me would have eaten this up.

Despite what I said about Hegemon being unambitious, it is in fact as important to the genre as it is enjoyable. Science fiction writers in the last decade or two have given up almost entirely on the idea of writing about the near future -- the premise upon which Sci-Fi was originally based. This is purportedly because modern technology is changing so quickly that attempting to make any predictions about what might happen in the near future seems futile -- by the time a book is published, it's ideas might already be obsolete. As such, Sci-Fi writers will either place their stories so far in the future that it doesn't matter if they're right (Ann Leckie, John Scalzi et. al.) or else remove all pretense of being realistic (China Mieville, steampunk etc.)

Viewed in that context, OSC's fearless attempt to write about world politics a few hundred years in the future suddenly appears very ambitious indeed. He has obviously taken some flak for this, as it is almost impossible to write about wars and diplomacy between different countries without somebody being offended, but personally I believe he deserves praise. He's pushing the boundaries of the genre forward by going where few writers dared to. Even more importantly, although admittedly not obvious from the novel itself, he made a concerted effort to not just make up some B.S. but to present a feasible picture of what the world might look like in the future, based on extensive research.

Not that I think he did a particularly good job of that. His understanding of the forces that drive history seem a bit naive and the idea of children leading entire nations - even genius children - is a bit of a hard sell that you just have to swallow to enjoy the book. Naturally, he will certainly be wrong in almost all of his predictions, but at least he's trying, and that's more than can be said of most.
Profile Image for Kevin Xu.
273 reviews96 followers
May 21, 2015
This book is terrible. It felt more like a Tom Clancy techno military thriller more than a SF book.
Profile Image for Fonch.
365 reviews289 followers
January 21, 2020
Dedicated with affection to Jorge Sáez Criado and an unimportant woman.


Ladies and gentlemen first of all I apologize for how dense my last criticism has been. I would have liked them to have been much shorter, but I tend to go too long. This book, which I'm going to comment on, also has history. Years ago in the happiest time of her life of 2006-2007 I met a person I loved her very much, and I spent nine wonderful months with her, and we talked about everything. That person liked some fantasy books. That person bought me Robert Jordan's "New Spring" https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1... and taught me to appreciate the value of the movie Nightmare Before Christmas and it was a difficult task, because I hate Halloween (for me it is the feast of all Saints and the desperation of the transhumanists I celebrate the resurrection of the flesh. Not the revivification of dead meat) nor am I enthusiastic about this pagan Christmas that we celebrate, become a feast of consumerism, and stripped of all its original meaning, consisting of the Good News, and the coming of Christ into the world. But you could say, like that alleged Arabic saying that served to present the King Kong film "Beauty Dominated the Beast." I keep nebulous memories, and my memory is less reliable than that of Gene Wolfe's "Soldier of the Fog" (than Latro's) https://www.goodreads.com/series/4945... , however I remember that she was a person, that she liked science fiction and her favorite novel was "The Game of Ender" it took me a while to seize it, but I finally got it, and that person proved to have great taste. Despite some anachronism. Who would have thought of the fall of the evil empire and the Soviet Union? This does not mean that communism has fallen, which unfortunately is still very much alive and I am not concerned that it is present in China, Vietnam, Laos, Cuba, and Venezuela, where it is most alive and strongest is in Western Universities, and the souls of our children are taking away. However, it did not age worse than other sagas like "Blade Runner" https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3... I must recognize, than the Orson Scott Card saga. That said it's unforgivable, don't have it on my dystopia list. What fascinated me was that future world where the government imposed a birth check, like the one in China today. In fact, I put the case of Ender (who was allowed to be born, because the government knew that he could win the war) along with that of Tanis (which was the result of a rape) https://www.goodreads.com/characters/... or the case of Miles Vorkosigan Vorkosigan https://www.goodreads.com/characters/... that due to sabotage he suffers from fetal malformations, and is a duse, but the danywith the most privileged brain, and capable of that remote galaxy. Her mind is more powerful than blasters, and Rynesme whose pregnancy meant the death of the mother, although a friend of mine has told me that this example should not work, as Bella Swann may have Rynesme, because she becomes a vampire. So it's almost a lifelong death https://www.goodreads.com/series/4536... but it doesn't matter all the cases cited are cases that I used, to justify my pronounful hypotheses. Not only was I touched by Ender's peculiar birth that as I said he remembered his legislation to which Deng Xiao Ping established in China, and that would deny his abortion theses the interesting Steven W. Mosher (perhaps one of the wisest and experts in the scourge of overpopulation, which is an instrument of elites and plutocracy, reneging the spurious thesis of liberalism so that people do not have children). Steven W. Mosher dismantles these neo-Malthusian fallacies with incontrovertible data and with great brilliance https://www.goodreads.com/author/show...# ). Another thing, that touched me about the Ender saga was the care that Orson Scott Card put in the attention of gifted children. As my good friend Krisi Keley would say https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... although he did not refer to this saga, but to Suzanne Collins' trilogy of The Hunger Games https://www.goodreads.com/series/7375... were poor children subjected to a terrible world. I really liked the approach he gave to gifted, early children, in fact, the Ender saga might interest teachers, and educators, for these cases. The characters were fantastic as Bynum Graf the general in the service of the government, who commanded an academy, to win a war against the insectors (the formic war) (this is reminiscent of Robert E. Heinlein's novel "Starship Troopers" https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1... ) that adults had not been able to win. that the adults had not been able to win. I was also fascinated by the mysterious Mosher Rakaham. It was also interesting to analyze the other two members of the Wiggins family. The sadistic Peter, who would then not be as bad, nor as violent, as might be understood, and the sensitive and affectionate Val. I also liked other ender comrades such as Alai, Dink, Petra Arkanian, and especially the interesting Bean, which in the end will give rise to his own story, but always from the very long shadow of the Hegemon. Another thing, which fascinated me, when I read it was how he predicted Orson Scott Card the huge impact that social media and online forums were going to have. But the best thing about Ender's saga was in the moral dilemmas of the characters, and in their great humanity, which they possessed thanks to the author's religious beliefs. That's what I liked most about "The Ender Game" I kept having flaws, like the author's Hispanophobia. We can see it in the character of Bonzo Madrid, , and in his saga of Alvin Maker (which never got this alternative story, or ucronía I liked) https://www.goodreads.com/series/4041... I still like dislike disregarded about Orson Scott Card is that despite being a Seventh-day Adventist he was always very respectful of the Catholic Church, and I despite the fact that I do not like seventh-day Adventists. I recognize my great debt to them, and how much they have done for me. I think of Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weiss with their wonderful saga of the Dragonlance https://www.goodreads.com/series/4931... (a luminous saga, and more accessible than "The Lord of the Rings" would have been a good decision for J.R.R. Tolkien to follow the model of Dragonlance. Yet J.R.R. Tolkien is https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... a better writer than they are), https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... in fact they also don't look very anti-Catholic, as Tracy Hickman is friends with my admired Karina Lumbert Fabian (the famous creator of the Vern Dragon) https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... . My sister, despite the harsh reviews, which she is now receiving is a self-confessed fan of the Twilight series and Stephanie Meyer and "Host" also liked it very much https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1... https://www.goodreads.com/series/4536... and a writer, which I can't wait to read is David Farland, but only one book was taken from her Saga of Runelords and unfortunately the publisher who edited it Factory of the books broke :-(. https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1... . Once the praise of Mormon fiction is done, and I recommend that the Catholic fantasy writers apply the story, and imitate and improve the model of their Protestant colleagues, because even though we have great authors in this genre. This is where the Protestants lead us up. But going back to "The Shadow of the Hegemon" the second dedicated to Bean's character, which according to sci-fi expert Miquel Barceló https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... and I think, that I agree with him. Bean is as interesting a character as Ender. Maybe even more. In fact Orson Scott Card did something, that few writers have done. Perhaps J.R.R. Tolkien with "The Search for Erebor" recounted the original story, or at least the first chapter of "Hobbit the Unexpected Talk" https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5... Gandalf's point of view. I think, so did his compatriot Stephanie Meyer, recounting Bella Swann's first book, and Edward Cullen from his point of view. This technique, if I don't fail, the memory is called retelling. I bought the book at the balance price in Castile comics, and I had it saved for a long time. There were two things that encouraged me to read it. First Orson Scott Card had been invited to speak for Celsius, and many free speech friends. He was boycicotfored for his opinions. On this subject, my friend Manuel Alfonseca has spoken a long time https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... many of this data I have taken from a writing he published on the subject entitled "Christianity in fantasy and science-fiction literature" arantxa.ii.uam.es/~alfonsec/docs/dia7... I don't know if he'll have it in English, you'll have to ask him. My friend Manuel Alfonseca complains that we are becoming less and less free, and that our world looks more like the one that immortalized Ray Bradbury in his saga "Farenheit 451" https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4... I am in a line closer to Juan Manuel de Prada https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6... . I think our world is more like Aldous Huxley's "The brave new world" https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5... It is no longer pursued as much by repressive methods as in totalitarian regimes. It is now pursued in the name of tolerance, and to safeguard the rights and freedoms granted to us by interested elites. This persecution, and the power of lobbyists mostly of progressive ideology, has already been denounced by Paul Johnson in his wonderful book "Humorists" https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9... has never had such a guarded control, as this time by progreland, has never been less free than now. So much so that you could say as Manon Roland "Freedom how many crimes are committed in your name" The same freedom that these lords use to boycott and attack Orson Scott Card's person, and his books was used by me, to say, there is no writer, who deserves a tribute more than Orson Scott Card. Not only for his wonderful books, but also for his great knowledge of the genre of science fiction and the great patronage that makes this genre. I wish he wasn't so Hispanic, but as a whole Orson Scott Card is currently one of the great American and world writers, and angerthe crows, buggs, envious, and petty. The second reason, which led me to read "The Shadow of the Hegemon" was that my friend Jorge Sáez Criado, for me one of the best future budding Spanish writers (a white blackbird) considered this book, as one of the best books I had read last year. The second reason, which led me to read "The Shadow of the Hegemon" was that my friend Jorge Sáez Criado, for me one of the best future budding Spanish writers (a white blackbird) considered this book, as one of the best books I had read last year. We had had Jorge Sáez Raised https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... In all the books to which I put five stars this year there is a feeling of transcendence and great morality, and that is what I liked about this great risk that Orson Scott Card puts on us. In that the former companions of Ender are kidnapped, and must be saved by both Bean and Peter Wiggins. We see that politics, and military campaigns will be the destiny of this novel. Bean is shown as a great strategist at the height of Cazaril, and Miles Vorkosigan. There are iconic moments such as the conversations of Bean and Sister Carlotta your mentor. Also the first face-to-face between Bean and Peter Wiggins (his uncomfortable ally), perhaps one of the best moments is personal dialogue with Peter Wiggins' mother, where the author's beliefs and mixed marriage, which form, are explicitly discussed. The dinner scene is also a prodigy, and tactical and military maneuvers. It's also fascinating how well the Asian world Orson Scott Card knows, and the incredible plot twists. I was also sorely scared of the death of some character, and devastating news, which does not kill Bean, but rather makes her stronger and more resolute. Peter Wiggins' takeover is also fascinating almost as the Louis XIV of Visconti. What are the flaws? ignorance of Orson Scott Card's Catholic faith. If a person is not Catholic, but believes in good faith can be saved, as C.S. Lewis shows in "The Last Battle" with Emeth, and Premminger with The Cardinal. Orson Scott Card's Hispanophobia, by Orson Scott Card, although in the epilogue he speaks well of Cortés and Pizarro. The villain Achilles' dialogues with Petra Arkanian (very surreal and unpleasant, rather than two children, no matter how psychopathic are non-adult children), and boys are released so soon. I liked the ending in Brazil and there is much more to solve, but what I liked most is the brilliant epilogue of Orson Scott Card, which shows that this book has been written by an undisputed master of science fiction.
5 reviews
May 17, 2013
Orson Scott Card has a natural talent for stretching a novella into a novel. Pages and pages of dialogue simply regurgitate things we already know. Ideas and themes are thoroughly beat into your brain by sheer repitition. I find myself skipping entires pages without consequence because there is no content there. Between the fluff, however, is an engaging story. The consequences of sending all the student of Battle School back to Earth is fascinating and Card capitalizes on this. Poltiics and military are not usually my interest, but I found the subjects accesible and captivating in this format.

Per usual in the Ender series, all the children are geniuses and all the adults are morons. It can be a little hard to swallow sometimes, especially Peter's rise to world leader as a teenager and 12 year olds commanding entire armies despite appearing no more brilliant than a typical (adult) general. As the characters age, we see them mature and face new obstacles of puberty and hormones. Petra and Bean's story are a big part of why I'm continuing to read despite my annoyances.

Achilles in particular is just bizarre. He's constantly touted as a charismatic genius, bending entire nations to his will, but all we ever see of him is a psychotic killer who acts solely by force. You never see HOW he manages to get anything done (other than violence, of course), unlike Bean, Ender, and Peter. Even more frustrating is (SPOILER) how everyone views him as a villain who must be stopped at all costs, yet no one bothers to kill him when the opportunity arises. Pride, ambition, honor, damsels in distress, and deus ex machina always get in the way. Just kill him already - the world is at stake! It's seems clear his survival is a plot device to fuel additional sequels. Bah. Guess I'll have to continue reading to find out what happens!

Profile Image for Davyne DeSye.
Author 10 books116 followers
August 16, 2022

This sequel to Ender’s Shadow (also fantastic!) is a very different book from Ender’s Shadow, but wonderful just the same.

In Ender’s Shadow, we get a new look at Ender’s Game from the eyes of another of the genius children who have been trained in Battle School to save the Earth from the alien invaders.

In this sequel to Ender’s Shadow, the alien invaders are vanquished and humankind has been saved by these children. The children are sent back to Earth to their families after many years’ absence. All should be well, right?

Of course not. Now that there is no outside invader threatening humanity, the fragile world peace that lasted for the decades of war with the aliens evaporates. Various nations are happy to resume hostilities… and who better to lead their armies and create winning strategies and tactics than these children who have been trained in war. But, one by one, Battle School graduates are being kidnapped as they return to Earth. Is this by someone who wants to utilize their talents or in order to remove a valuable asset from an “enemy” country?

Only one child evades capture – Bean, our hero from Ender’s Shadow. Can he find out who has the genius children and rescue them? Will the kidnapper simply kill the children rather than allow them to be rescued?

This is a wonderful book because again, as Orson Scott Card is so terrific at doing, the characters come alive on the page and in the mind of the reader. Whether reading about the psychopath Achilles (another genius child), Bean himself, Petra (a female Battle School graduate) or someone else, the reader understands and loves (or detests) these characters. I also loved meeting and getting to know Ender’s parents, especially as they are drastically underestimated by their genius children…

Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Wendy,  Lady Evelyn Quince.
351 reviews155 followers
February 24, 2021
I am sure that were I given an opportunity to converse with author Orson Scott Card regarding the vast empires, rulers/kings, and military leaders that the world has seen rise and fall, from Alexander the Great to the great Caesars, from Charlemagne to Charles V, from Napoleon to Hitler and Stalin and Churchill and Roosevelt, we’d have an engaging time. I’m boring that way (in fact that that’s how I once caught the attention of a former, handsome--yet equally boring--boyfriend, with a long conversation about Napoleon and the Roman Empire). But an enlightening dialogue is not the same as reading this mind-numbing book by Card; it’s the most tedious of sequels to a brilliant spin-off of a modern-classic science-fiction novel.

"Shadow of the Hegemon" is filled with awful characterization, soporific pacing, and annoying futuristic slang. It was such a miserable experience and I’m not sure why this happened. It’s like there are two Orson Scott Cards who write: one who creates masterpieces like “Ender’s Game” and “The Worthing Saga,” and the other who writes awful military-fantasy dreck like the Empire series or this dull crap.

I will not go over the plot points; anyone interested in them can view my notes for my details.

I wish I could come up with a more erudite way of putting this... but simplicity has a beauty of sorts, does it not?:

"Shadow of the Hegemon" sucks!

1/2 star
Profile Image for deilann.
183 reviews21 followers
January 9, 2016
Originally posted on SpecFic Junkie.

Ender's Shadow was fine, if not great. This book is bad and should feel wrong. Orson Scott Card decides to get weirdly preachy and weird moments, he keeps emphasizing how nothing but children matter, he's incredibly offensive to people with genetic disorders (cough ME), and he seriously says at the end that Guns, Germs, and Steel laid the ground rules for him. And everyone should read it. Oh, and he can't write women. Spoilers everywhere.

Wow! That was a lot to pack into a summary. This book really was awful!

So yeah, Ender's Shadow was a lot preachier than the Ender series, but I was able to manage it. This time, I was having to get through pages of the Wiggins' mother whining about how hard it is to be religious and how they had to hide it from their children and their colleagues or no one would take them seriously. Mostly her diatribes make me feel like she was just a bad parent.

Now, here's the thing. I have no specific issue with any religion. But it's actually not that hard to be religious and not be oppressed. You probably can't try to shove it in everyone's faces, but you can't shove a kink relationship in non-consenting faces either. Besides, in my experience, religion is personal. It's not really something you should be bringing up with your colleagues anyway. But whatever. Maybe that's just me.

Maybe things are hella different in this future. But I'm given no real reason in the writing to believe so.

I can deal with a bit of preachiness, but once he starts going on (repeatedly) about how children are really the only path to true happiness, I'm just done. It's one of those things where yeah, I'm sure that it's true for some people, but probably not as many people as it comes up for and it's just a weird fixation.

I guess they feel like weird fixations because see, these are things Bean is supposed to come to appreciate. He's supposed to find God because the nun died and because Petra suddenly has the hots for him and he's going to die early, he should want to leave his mark.

Oh right, Petra having the hots for him.

So, apparently Petra wanted nothing more the entire time at Battle School to have babies with Ender because he needs to show her womanly side now that he's shown her tough and snarky side. But see, Ender's gone away to the colonies so instead she wants to have Bean's babies. None of this was in Petra's character in any of the other books.

So, speaking of Bean. Bean finds out that his genetics have been altered so that his brain will never stop growing (which somehow makes him super smart) but he'll never stop growing either. So they had to tweak both those parts of his genetics. And the nun says:

"There are those who have said that because of this small genetic difference, you are not human. That because Anton's key requires two changes in the genome, not one, it could never have happened randomly, and therefore you represent a new species, created in the laboratory."

There are, in fact, genetic disorders that require two genetic changes. Also, since when does something like that define a new species? Biologists have defined what makes a new species pretty clearly. Can Bean have Petra's babies? Well, you know what I mean.

Anyway, the only reason I can think of for Petra's sudden character reveal that was not hinted at in any of the other books is that she needs to further the theme of "babies are the only path to true happiness" but he didn't know where else to find a woman. In fact, he has to create one to sympathize with Petra because only another woman could possibly care about her plight.

Also, I just never found Petra so angsty as she is in this book. I don't even feel like she's the same character.

But perhaps the biggest problem is that he's trying to write smart characters, but everything seems like a stupid game of RISK because he's not smart enough to write smart characters manipulating and trying to outwit other smart characters. It's really, really hard to do. It was easier to do in Ender's Game because the adults held the upper hand. But now the super smart kids are the ones who are running the game (of the world's armies) and ... it just is yawn worthy. I like political intrigue. This is awful.

And then I just get all of this icky feeling about his adoration of Jared Diamond. He's not really anti-racist and his science is just bad. Which also sums up Shadow of the Hegemon.
Profile Image for Kate.
179 reviews29 followers
December 30, 2010
This actually deserves a 3.5 rather than a 4. Hello Goodreads! Give me half stars!

I'm tearing through this series at a rate of about one a day, which must mean something. I'm following the two storylines in parallel chronology (ish, as they move at different rates of speed), by which I mean that I've read Ender 1, Bean 1, Ender 2, and now Bean 2.

I like the Bean storyline because it deals with things that seem very real: the problems left behind on Earth after the globalizing external foe has been defeated. The politics are interesting, and I've enjoyed Card's handiwork in taking the far-seeing concept he used in the mid-80s (communication via "the nets") and carefully sculpting it into the real internet in these books, written in the 2000s. Bean is an interesting character to follow in his development, becoming almost likable in this book.

In SotH, Card gives us not one but three strong female characters. His lack of interest in female characters in Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow bugged me, but I knew that it wasn't a matter of discrimination - they just didn't fit in the Battle School world. (Although why NOT...?) Here, Petra gets her turn as an (admittedly largely passive) hero, as does another female Battle School graduate - and the meddling nun, Sister Carlotta, plays a central role in both the action and the emotional landscape. Strike that - there were FOUR strong women in this book. Mrs. Wiggin pleasantly surprised me here, although I found that Peter's character in this book was unconvincing as a future leader of the world.

Ender's Game, and to a lesser extent Ender's Shadow, was a blockbuster space opera movie. Speaker for the Dead was more like Medicine Man: quieter, contemplative, nature-y, with sparks of plot-driving action and intrigue to give Sean Connery a chance to act dramatic. (Although Ender isn't Connery at all. I actually keep picturing Card himself when I try to imagine an adult Ender; I wonder how much that corresponds to his relationship with his creation.) Shadow of the Hegemon is neither of those things; it's never going to win an Oscar. It's more of a Nicolas Cage political action-thriller with zooming helicopters and tense phone calls and ridiculous feats of computing derring-do. It's a James Bond movie with cartoonishly wicked bad guys and the femme fatales who betray them through seduction.

Is it as good as the books that came before it? Not at all. Is it entertaining? Definitely.
Profile Image for Lionel.
60 reviews1 follower
August 12, 2010
The follow up to Ender's Shadow, this unfortunately showcases Card's tendency to write sequels for the sake of growing a successful franchise, even when the stories don't quite merit it. This is not a bad book, but it suffers in comparison to its predecessor.

Again, this book showcases many of Card's strengths: internal character monologoues reveal mostly well developed characters with psychological foibles; moral and religious discussions/debates; strong young adults. But, as with the first book, Bean, by design, can't be as good a character as Ender (whose shadow does indeed hang over this and the following books, despite Ender himself being completely absent), and he just doesn't resonate with me as much as Ender did. Furthermore, the stage on these remaining Shadow novels has been expanded, and Card doesn't do as well on the large scale as he does with the small. The politics, intrigue, and wars just aren't as interesting as they would be in the hands of writers like le Carre, Ludlum, or Clancy. They just come off as a bit too pat. And the genius children card is just too overplayed. There was a good reason for it in Ender's Game, a reason that required the protagonists to be as young as they were. But now, back on Earth, we're in an environment where there should be several decades worth of Battle School grads on the world stage. Yes, Ender's jeesh had the benefit of working with Ender, and maybe that gives them an unexpected edge. But they shouldn't be *that* much smarter than everyone around them. Older Battle School grads do have more experience than they do, and at least some of them must be as smart as the lesser members of Ender's jeesh, and presumably the best of those former grads will be in positions of power at this point in time. And we shouldn't have to be reminded as often as we are that they're smart. And finally, Achilles just isn't that great a villain.

That all comes across as a bit harsh. The book *is* a page turner, and its entertaining enough. Its simply not up there with Card's best.
Profile Image for John.
1,458 reviews36 followers
June 6, 2011
A very smart, engaging read--though without the mass appeal of its predecessor, Ender's Shadow, mainly due to Card's decision to drop virtually all the sci-fi aspects, as well as to cut down on the amount of action contained in the story. What you end up getting is a lot of political intrigue and strategizing...like one of those alternate history novels, but taking place in the future. This would be a very difficult novel to pull off, seeing as how most of the characters in the story are geniuses who constantly brag about their extraordinary intelligence and there's a lot of expectation as to what brilliant ideas they will come up with next. Yet, somehow, Card never flags in his portrayal of their extraordinary capabilities, despite just how brilliantly readers are expecting the characters to behave. Having these genius kids pitted against each other is what makes this story truly engaging. In addition, Card's three-dimensional character portrayals and thoughtful dialog make this novel a much more enriching experience than most other military fiction offerings. I'm looking forward to whatever direction Card heads the story toward next.
Profile Image for Missy Frederick.
14 reviews18 followers
January 2, 2008
This is the second book I've read in the series in the same universe as the Ender Quartet. I read it basically in 24 hours, which speaks to its fast pace and readability. I'm starting to like this series possibly even more than the quartet. There are a lot of really interesting characters - the complex Bean, the ambiguous Peter, etc. Plus I really like the theme of genius kids who aren't cutely precocious, etc. This book deals a lot with military strategy, which doesn't tend to be my thing, but I was never bored with it - it actually puts you inside the mindset of military thinkers in a way that you understand and admire how they puzzle things out. Card continues to be one of my favorite writers period and possibly my favorite sci-fi writer. I'm looking forward to moving onto the next book.
Profile Image for Eric Lin.
130 reviews64 followers
December 15, 2013
Kind of similar to Robert Jordan's last few books in the Wheel of Time series, where he tries to write political intrigue, but doesn't do a great job. I think that real political intrigue doesn't get conveyed well in a page-turner format, since the only way to explain everything is through a ton of exposition.

We're constantly being told to appreciate how smart Bean and Petra are, with no real option other than taking the author's hand waving as evidence.

I think I'm slowly realizing that despite the better writing, and the adult themes in these books, Orson Scott Card is basically writing young adult fiction here. Adults never do anything right, only children understand what's really happening, and our heroes will inevitably succeed.

This book was OK, but I think I'll skip the rest of these.
Profile Image for Xabi1990.
1,969 reviews848 followers
February 26, 2019
10/10. Media de los 43 libros leídos del autor : 8/10

43 obras que me he leído de Card y media de 8/10. Tela. Creo que eso lo dice todo, y liarme a hacer alabanzas de este autor es superfluo.

Aquí comienza la Saga de Bean, el amigo de Ender en la escuela de batalla. Que tb era un genio pero quedó eclipsado por Ender.
Y eso mismo le ha pasado a esta saga paralela: que para mi gusto es más entretenida de leer y más adictiva que la de Ender, todo basado en personajes fantásticos con los que empatizas y no puedes parar de leer.
Los dos primeros se llevaron un 10 redondo. El tercero, un 9. Tela.
Profile Image for James Biser.
2,956 reviews17 followers
June 12, 2021
This is a great story as it centers on Bean, and what he is becoming. Peter Wiggin is a necessary part of the story as it is so involved with world politics, and Peter is becoming the world's leader. I loved the development and problems caused by Achilles, the anti-hero. I also enjoyed the feelings that grew in Petra. It is terrible, however to come to see the tragedy that is Bean.
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