It has been a few years since I read Ender's Game and I thought I would give the series another chance. I didn't really enjoy Ender's Game but I was desperate for some new friend-recommended books that I could get my hands on without going to a library. This was the first to come across my desk.
For those who don't know, Ender's Shadow is about a character in Ender's Game named Bean. This book tells the same story as Ender's Game, just from Bean's perspective.
I loved it!
The psychological journey of Ender was not so impressive to me, but Bean held me captive from the very start. Every character in this book was not only believable but sincerely cared for by Card. He knew them well and gave them ample opportunity to explore their personalities. Besides Bean, my favorite character was a nun that floated in and out of the story. Instead of using her as an opportunity to show some dark underbelly to the Catholic church Card wrote a beautiful character that was sincere in her faith and love for others while being savvy enough to function in the real world. Rarely have I seen such grace displayed in modern writing when dealing with a Christian character. All too often Christians are either two faced or idiots (or both), not real characters but a caricature of some Christians' worst and most misunderstood qualities.
Bean's personal journey from being defensive and self-centered to genuine trust and affection was brilliantly accomplished. I appreciated how he was misunderstood by those he cared for but was powerless to change their opinion of him. He was both great and incomplete in his heroism, for in the end he was never able to connect with people the way Ender always could. If I remember right, I didn't care for Ender because he had an emotional insight into people that I found frustrating as a reader. Bean, who was also insightful but on a more intellectual plane, was more acceptable to my sensibilities.
It is hard to tell if I enjoyed this book more simply because I identified with the main character more, or because Card had really developed as a writer. I may need to go back and reread Ender's Game to find out.