Book Review: Shadow of the Giant – Orson Scott Card

 

ShadowofthegiantcoverAfter reading the previous book in this series, Shadow Puppets, I was a little reluctant to pick this book up.  I did it because my wife said it was better, and I have a nagging case of OCD which means no series goes unread once I start it.

Shadow of the Giant is the completion of the Julian Delphinki (aka Bean) storyline in the Ender’s Game series. There is a power struggle raging across the Earth, between India, China and the Muslim world which has been united under a new Caliph, Alai, one of Ender’s jeesh. The United States has turned inward and closed its borders, and kept it hands out of the mess.

But Ender’s brother, Peter Wiggin, still holds the title Hegemon, and while it is a title with little to no influence, Peter is determined to save the world by pulling the right levers at the right time, and catapult the position of Hegemon into a real and true power.

If you haven’t read the rest of this series and slogged through Shadow Puppets, this book won’t make a whole lot of sense. The good news is that this book is better than Shadow Puppets. It has more action and more strategy.  Again, Card has the problem of trying to make very smart people make mistakes that lead to their downfall. I’ve recently run into a similar problem, and am only just now coming to grips with how hard that is to do and to hold true to the characters.  That’s a blog entry unto itself (and soon will be, I think).

I think the major problem with these books is that there weren’t any characters that I really liked to the point of rooting for them. I wanted to like the like the series as much as I liked Ender’s Game and and Ender’s Shadow, but those two books set such a high bar that anything that follows is surely going to be a bit of a disappointment. 

If you have made it through Shadow Puppets, then by all means, read this one to complete the storyline.  Chances are you’ve got a little OCD in you as well, and you’ll need to finish the series.  Part of me wishes I had stopped at Ender’s Shadow, and moved on.  At some point in my life, I’ll go back and reread Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow, and I look forward to that. But I think I would have had an even higher opinion of those books is I hadn’t finished the series.

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