The second book I have completed this summer reading season is Shadow Puppets by Orson Scott Card. This book is the third in the Ender’s Shadow series –a spin-off from the science-fiction novel Ender’s Game— and follows the lives of Bean and the rest of Ender’s jeesh and the political tempest that has overtaken the Earth in the aftermath of the war with the Formincs.
I really enjoyed the original book Ender’s Game, which I read after watching the 2013 film. After reading the first book back in 2013, I decided I wanted to read more from this universe, and I bought the box sets for both Ender’s life and the lives of his friends (I’m trying not to include too many spoilers in case anyone wants to read any of these books). One of the reasons I was so taken with this story was that there was such a range and depth of ideas dealt with in them. The ethics of war, human suffering, what makes a leader, and how far is too far to achieve victory…the ethical and philosophical concepts in these stories intrigued me so much that I just had to keep reading to see what other thought-provoking concepts Orson Scott Card would throw around.
And I wasn’t disappointed in this respect. Shadow Puppets is as philosophical and political as any of the previous books, but while I enjoyed the journey of the earlier books in the series, I felt like this third book left something to be desired. Many parts of the story felt awkward to me. There were alternating pockets of excessive drama and excessive war and strategy jargon. It was like biting into a PB and J sandwich that never had just the right blend of both elements. There was also a rather uncomfortable love story in this book that, to me, felt unbelievable. As a stand-alone book, it was not amazing, but its ending was satisfactory, both for the story within the book and for the story arch of the series. I still enjoyed many parts of the book, but I can’t get over how many uncomfortable parts there were.
Thanks for reading my review! As always, comments are welcome, as well as suggestions for future summer reads.
Regina, the Pensive Ponderer.