Science Fiction Novel
Shadow Of The Giant
Author: Orson Scott Card
Published By: Tor
Reviewed by Justine Manzano
The latest of Orson Scott Cardís Enderverse novels, Shadow of the Giant, was released this March and has since managed to find its way onto numerous bestseller lists. Having only recently become aware of the Enderverse, I purchased the first book of the series in December of 2004 and somehow managed to speed through the seven released books. In February, my well was tapped and I quickly discovered that the next one was set for a March release. With the cliffhanger ending of its predecessor, Shadow Puppets, the one month wait seemed to last forever. The two-year wait must have been even worse for those fans who had been there from the beginning or, at least, earlier than me. Please donít read on if youíve never read the other books in the series because you will be spoiled.
Shadow Of The Giant follows Bean and Petra, two of the graduates of the Battle School that had trained them to successfully defeat an alien threat. Now, all grown up and married, they are finally free of Achilles, the mad man who had spent years trying to kill them, but instead they are searching for the whereabouts of the fertilized embryos that he stole from them before his death. Their allies include their dear friend Enderís brother, Peter Wiggin, an aspiring ruler with a mean streak that is vicious albeit lessening in frequency, and the carious leaders from the now defunct Battle School, who have now come to think of their former students as surrogate children. In return for their help, Bean and Petra do their part to squash what could result in a terrible world war that has begun thanks to the countries overconfidence in their space warriors. Each major player in this war is a former battle schooler, and it is believed that only Bean is above them in intelligence and able to find a way to win.
The complication in this already complex story lies in the search for a cure for the effects of Antonís Key - a process that the genetically altered Bean endured as an embryo. Because of this process, Bean is both super-smart and continuously growing. His heart will eventually cave in to the growing pressure of his size and because of this, the reader can not escape the feeling of impending doom that looms over them as Bean, Petra, Peter, and a score of other familiar characters from Enderís Game (the first of the Enderverse novels) fight their own way to world peace.
Orson Scott Card, as always, writes with a true vision so that it is completely possible to envision everything he discusses. His characters always feel true and never have those hero complexes that most heroic characters are prone to experience. Instead, Card gives us people who we can always expect to behave as they would behave - good or bad. It is also Cardís incredible ability for tactical planning as well as his vast knowledge of geography and history that make this book that much more credible. Card writes about geniuses and his firm grip on his own intellect makes that plausible.
Orson Scott Cardís writing is simplistic in style and extremely deep in meaning. His characters are all tough nuts to crack, each with their own secrets, dual allegiances, and intriguing way of getting where theyíre going, and this keeps the reader guessing. I find that I truly canít say enough about this writer and this latest book in what could easily be his most popular series. What I can say, however, is that this book is yet another brilliant step in an already brilliant career.