Shadow of the Giant (Shadow, #4)

4/5 stars

Shadow of the Giant (Shadow, #4) by Orson Scott Card

It’s hard to write a review for a book like Shadow of the Giant, because it’s really just the last chapter of a much larger story. I give 5 stars on this review not only because Giant was a great book by itself, but it also ends the series with the greatness it deserves.

Here is the order you should read the Ender books by Orson Scott Card:

1) Ender’s Game
2) Ender’s Shadow (The same story as Ender’s Game, but from Bean’s pov.)
3) Shadow of the Hegemon
4) Shadow Puppets
5) Shadow of the Giant

You might speak to others who would add the direct sequals to Ender’s Game: Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, and Children of the Mind. While the Shadow books follow Bean and the other Battle School Children back to Earth, the other books follow Ender on his journey through space. I left these books from my list intentionally. I started Speaker for the Dead and found it horribly boring, so I returned it to Amazon. The reviews I’ve read of the other books don’t inspire me to pick them up at all. I read the books in this order, and I feel extremely satisfied with the result.

Shadow of the Giant has put a perfect little bow around the events that happened on Earth after Ender and friends saved us all from the Buggers. Over the course of the Shadow series, I completely enjoyed bonding with so many great characters. At the beginning they are small children in Battle School, and by the end they are young adults who have done great things with thier lives. The only thing I love more than a great story are great characters, and Shadow series gave me both.

I also enjoyed the political and military strategy discussed and analyzed throughout the series. I know, that sounds so boring–but the great thing is that it’s not! There are long stretches where the characters talk to themselves, going over the different pieces that together make up the situation, and as the reader we follow their path of logic to its always satisfying conclusion. The politics of future Earth imagined in the series is one where actual current events might possibly lead to, and the fact that I could imagine it all happening just as described was part of the fun.

Now that I’ve finished, I might go back and try again with Speaker of the Dead. There are people that love it, so maybe I put it down too soon. OSC has also, just this year, published another sequal to the Shadow series, Shadow’s in Flight. I won’t even mention the premise of that book–just by saying what it is about would spoil some elements of the existing books. But I will say that I have strong hesitations about reading it. I feel satisfied with the way the series has alread ended, and the reviews of Shadow’s in Flight have not been kind. I’ve got a lot of book on my reading list, so I’ll probably wait. Maybe one day I’ll get the itch to revisit this great story and what else Orson Scott Card can dream up–while the story ended well, there could still be much, much more story to tell. To me, that’s a testament to the depth of the characters in the stories.

Goodbye Ender. Goodbye Bean. Goodbye Petra. Goodbye Peter. Thanks for such a meaningful experience.

If you can’t tell, I give Shadow of the Giant and the entire Ender Saga as I’ve outlined it above my full recomendation.

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