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Great Books for Young Adults - Ender's Shadow

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Orson Scott Card Creates a New Perspective of his Groundbreaking Science Fiction Work - Ender's Game

 

Orson Scott Card has won numerous awards as an author of bestselling science fiction novels geared mainly for the young adult audience.  In 1986 and 1987, Card won both the Nebula and Hugo awards for Ender’s Game and its sequel Speaker for the Dead.  The decidedly science fictionish trophy of a transparent block embedded with spiraling glitter that is given to the Nebula Award winner is given annually by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) to recognized the best work of science fiction and/or fantasy that was published during the course of the previous year.  The Hugo Award, long considered the science fiction industry’s equivalent to Hollywood’s Oscar is awarded by voting members of the World Science Fiction Convention.  Generally, this award is represented by more than 1000 member votes.  

Building from the success of his 1986 publication of Ender’s Game, in 1999, Card added a new dimension to his groundbreaking novel...actually a parallel dimension with Ender’s Shadow.  Ender’s Shadow reflects the same events as those created in Ender’s Game, only from the view point of a secondary character in the original work.  Ender’s Shadow was met with great approval as it won numerous awards including being named a New York Times Best Seller (for Fiction in 1999) and an ALA Best Books for Young People in 2000.

 

“Andrew "Ender" Wiggin was not the only child in the Battle School; he was just the best of the best. Here is the story of another of those precocious generals, the one they called Bean -- the one who became Ender's right hand, his strategist, and his friend.” - Orson Scott Card

Being that Ender’s Shadow is a “companion volume to Ender’s Game, one that expands and complements the first, enhancing its power, illuminating its events and its powerful conclusion.” In my mind, one of the best sci-fi genre books that I have ever read. With its compelling use of suspense in the plot line and rich description of events, Orson Scott Card has created a book that will go down in history as one of the best of its kind.

“Bean's past was a battle just to survive on the streets of Rotterdam. He was a tiny child with a mind leagues beyond anyone else's. Bean's desperate struggle, and his remarkable success, brought him to the attention of the Battle School's recruiters, those people scouring the planet for leaders, tacticians, and generals to save Earth from the threat of alien invasion. Bean was sent into orbit, to the Battle School. And there he met Ender....” - Orson Scott Card

The plot starts with the beginnings of Bean, Enders’s soon to be best friend. He starts in the streets of Rotterdam as a kid with a brilliant mind. His success in gaining trust and loyalty from other children years older than him caught the attention of the Battle School’s recruiters. Because of the use of suspense in the plot, the author will give small bits of information out at a time to make the reader think of multiple different outcomes. At the most unexpected time, there is a huge twist that he will nudge into the mix. For example, Card doesn’t let you know that the battle school is looking to get Bean from off of the streets into the Battle School until the fourth chapter. A quote from chapter two says, “I know you’ve already looked through this area, and you're probably almost done with Rotterdam, but something’s been happening lately, since you last visited… it’s changed. All of a sudden. Just in the past few days. I don't know why. But I just - you said that anything unusual - and whoever’s behind it - I mean, can civilization suddenly evolve all over again, in the middle of a jungle of children?”(20-21). This is an example of the fact that Card only gives out small bits of information at a time. This will leave the reader to guess all sorts of situations that could occur with the plot of the book. It causes the reader to think about what has just been said, thus keeping their attention the entire time. It is a very “addicting” book to read.

Throughout the novel, Card uses many phrases to help paint a picture in your mind of what happens. A gruesome yet descriptive event is one when Ender beats the life out of Bonzo Madrid, another army leader. Orson writes, “Ender was only wearing his towel. He was wet, and there was blood all over the back of his head and dripping down his back. It took Bean only a moment to realize that it was not his blood… Bonzo lying on the floor, medical staff doing CPR. Bean knew that you don't do that to somebody whose heart is beating. And from the inattentive way the others were standing around, Bean knew it was only a formality. Nobody expected Bonzo’s heart to start again. No surprise. His nose had been jammed up inside his head. His face was a mass of blood. Which explained the bloody back of Ender’s Head” (332). Although this part is one of the grossly described sad parts, it does a very good job at putting an image in your head. The way that Card  describes what bean saw from his perspective helps you put yourself into beans place. I imagine standing in a corridor with medical teams scrambling around me while my surroundings go silent, only focusing on Bonzo and the paramedic giving CPR, and thinking to myself what has just happened. Trying to figure all of the pieces of the event and put them together. This section gives a very good explanation and description of events that occur.

All in all, I think that Orson Scott Card gives a very good account of “Bean -- the one who became Ender's right hand, his strategist, and his friend.” Using a suspenseful plot and giving a rich and thorough description of events, Card has written one of the best books in the sci-fi genre, and in my mind, the best science fiction work of its kind.


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