Review: Shadow of Hegemon

I love the book Ender’s Game from Orson Scott Card. Having read through it three times for both English and Chinese version, It still has a astounding reading experiences. Prior to the premier of Ender’s Game the movie, I read Ender’s Shadow because it was said that the movie is also based on this book, in which Bean as the protagonist. It builds upon another perspective to the original Ender’s Game storyline and is interesting and fun. After that I’m always looking forward to read other enderverse books, both in Ender and Shadow series.

I found Shadow of Hegemon at a local bookstore’s on sale event, on which its paperback version was sold cheaper than kindle version, without a doubt I bought it and start reading it. This is the sequel of Ender’s Shadow and the story is now focused on Ender’s jeesh and the political struggle and turmoil on earth.

In order to make most of my reader unspoiled, I’d made a brief conclusion here: It is an intense story-telling experience, a full drama with conspiracy, political domination and personal ambition. But it is not perfect, and no better than its predecessor: Ender’s Shadow. Reading this book, as it is an important part of the enderverse for a fan, is worthwhile but don’t expect this book is another masterpiece among both the Ender and Shadow series.

Caution: Spoiler Alert! You can stop here if you want your reading experience of Shadow of Hegemon untouched.

The good part of Shadow of Hegemon is that some scenes are reminding me of both Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow’s highlight: How a rational person with intelligence thinks about leadership and tackles difficulties, and how do they manage relationships with others. It is, in my point of view, the most important and valuable part of Ender’s Game. Such scenes as Bean’s training with special Thai forces is pleasant and enjoyable. Unfortunately, this part is consists only a small faction of the whole book.

The whole political situation of a imaginary world falls in to my taste but is not (at all) convincing though somehow interesting to me. China and Russia’s alliance of world domination, an united and powerful Muslim nation lead by Iran and Pakistan is against China as the retaliation for India’s fall. These situations are both familiar and odd. It is sad to read a plane that was taken down by a ground-to-air missile which sadly coincident with current world news.

The main protagonists in this book are Petra, Bean, and in the middle part of the book, Peter Wiggin. Petra is the most annoying protagonist in this novel. Her thought is not that persuasive and much of it is very annoying. Another implausible element is the relationship between Bean and Petra: Why does Bean want to save Petra? Their ties are not so obvious until Card suddenly put it in the middle of the book. Peter and Bean, on the other hand, are portrayed better at least their actions are not making me maddening.

Other complaints including: vocabulary in this book is much harder than Ender’s Game. Not so good overall rhythm - great tension built on the first part, but the second part is not quite fit on it.

In all, that’s my review of Shadow of Hegemon, the second book of the Shadow Series from Orson Scott Card. I may found more merits about this book during my future reread, or turns out I hit the right spot on my first run and made a another mistake for reading it twice.

Posted 2014.09.16

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