Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Shadows in Flight by Orson Scott Card (A No Spoiler Review)

If you were to ask me what my favorite current series is by a living author, my answer would most likely be Orson Scott Card's Ender series on any given day. Most people who know me know that Speaker for the Dead, the sequel to Ender's Game is easily one of my favorite books ever written and that's despite Card's homophobic comments in the past. The man can just write incredible books. I was going to say, particularly with this series, but he writes excellent books across the board. There are very few books in his vast collection that I haven't loved. And there are few authors that I can say that about.

There's something special about the Ender series though. With Ender's Game, he introduced us to a group of kids with extreme intelligence and extreme emotion forced into a horrible situation. And he made us love those kids. Then he took us in two directions. With Speaker for the Dead, we followed Ender as he discovered a new planet and new sentient life and oh so much more than that. And then we continued that journey. With Ender's Shadow, we heard Ender's Game told from the point of Bean, the smallest boy of them all in Ender's Game. The Shadow series continues following the lives of the kids in Ender's Game and it continues to tell Bean's story.

Shadows in Flight focuses solely on Bean and his children. It tells the story of them as they travel in space and time from Earth to another destination that's unknown the reader at the beginning of the book. I really can't say much more about the book without giving major spoilers away for the entire series, but I can talk about some of my thoughts in general about the book.

As usual, Card does give us EXCELLENT characterization and atmosphere. I think one of the many things I love so much about Card's books is that I can see them when I'm reading them. And I don't just picture generic images. He paints a picture for me that unfolds as I read the words. Another thing I love about Card is the science behind his novels. Can I make a confession? Overall, I'm not a huge science fiction fan. I should say, I don't like hard science fiction. But Card is different. His sci-fi is personal. And the science actually makes sense. He can talk genetics of aliens and I can say "hey, that could actually happen!" without having any understanding of genetics in the first place before. He writes for the common reader and for the science nut.

The one problem I DID have with this book was the ending. Not what happened, but how it was actually written. Maybe this is because I am so personally attached to these characters and I thought they deserved better, but when I read the last three lines of the novel I literally said "REALLY?!" I just thought the book deserved a much better ending. And I think the story in general deserved more depth for the subject matter it handled. It clocks in at just a little over a novella's worth. But that's just me. I hit up the OSC forums and I would seem to be in the minority for that.

But regardless of the above complaints, I sure as HELL hope that there are PLENTY more books to come in the "Enderverse". Whether they are "Bean books" or "Ender books" I want more more more. Anyone else with me on that? And has anyone else read this one??? If so PLEASE email me!! I need to talk about this ending, lol.


Susan said...

No, I haven't read this one yet. I need to catch up in this series! I read the first two ages ago and really enjoyed them, they were terrific. I also read - 4? 5? - in the Alvin Maker series, which were so enthralling. I stopped then, just stopped reading as much sf, so now I have to go back and read them all again so I can finish the series!

What I can say is, I've noticed that - even in the three Harper Hall trilogy books I just finished reading,the endings all seemed rushed. It was kind of odd and interesting to see, almost like McCaffrey wanted to finish up and go to the next thing. Is that the same idea here, especially as both your books and mine are parts of series? that maybe he was going on in his mind to the next book (or something else) entirely. At least it didnt' take away from the quality of the book overall, as it didn't with the Pern books for me.

animewookie said...

I haven't read this one, but I am definitely a fan of the "Enderverse" that BTW :D Glad you enjoyed the majority of it ;)

Kailana said...

I have still only read Ender's Game. I just didn't love it, but I think if I reread it I would feel differently. It was just a badly timed experience. Now to actually do so...

Becky said...

I am still not sure if I liked or loved Shadows in Flight. On the one hand, I thought it was so short and a bit rushed (I agree with you on the ending, not that it was unexpected, just that it felt a little lacking?). But on the other hand, it's new Card!!! I mean I love Card so much that anything feels like a treat from him. I think this story had enough potential that I'd want to read more about his kids at some point...but it's not one I see myself reading again and again and again and again.